From staff reports
University of Lynchburg women’s basketball coach Abby Pyzik Smith is stepping down from her post after 10 years.
The school announced the change, which is effective Dec. 1, on Monday afternoon. Pyzik Smith decided to step away from the program because of growing family responsibilities during the ongoing pandemic, UL said in a news release.
“My greatest joy is in knowing the incredibly strong women who have graduated from our program to go on to make differences in their communities,” a statement from Pyzik Smith reads in part. “I am so proud.”
Assistant coach Katie Crump, a 2012 Lynchburg alumna, will take over as interim head coach.
After previous assistant coaching stops at Oakland City, Davidson, and Washington and Lee, Pyzik Smith, a 2004 Lynchburg alumna, returned to her alma mater to take over as head coach in 2010.
In 10 seasons, she amassed a 162-111 record and became the winningest coach in program history.
In the second half of her stint at Lynchburg, she led the Hornets to new heights, helping her team in 2016 to the first Old Dominion Athletic Conference title and NCAA Division III tournament berth in program history and a school-record 24 wins.
The year after, the Hornets earned 23 wins and an at-large berth to the tournament, where they captured the school’s first NCAA tourney victory. The run helped Pyzik Smith garner the ODAC’s coach of the year title.
From 2013 through 2018, the Hornets strung together six straight winning seasons.
Several athletes picked up regional and national awards under Pyzik Smith, her legacy now including an All-American, three all-region honorees and 22 all-ODAC players, including a league rookie of the year.
“Abby has done an incredible job in building the program to where it is today,” UL athletic director Jon Waters said in the school’s release. “She has poured her heart and soul into mentoring the women who have come through our program over the past decade, and she has invested in their growth both on and off the court. Her leadership will be greatly missed.”
Before returning to Lynchburg as a coach, Pyzik Smith was a record-setting player for the Hornets.
Over her four-year career from 2000 to 2004, she became the program 3-point percentage (38.7%) leader; she also still ranks in the top three in the program record book for career assists, steals and free-throw percentage.
Pyzik Smith was inducted into the Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.