Virginia Tech Women's Basketball: Kenny Brooks to Kentucky, Megan Duffy to Blacksburg & an underlying last 14 days

It has been a rollercoaster ride the last two weeks for the Virginia Tech women's basketball team and their fans.
Nov 30, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Kenny Brooks reacts
Nov 30, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Kenny Brooks reacts / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

It has been 14 days since the Virginia Tech women's basketball team was bounced from the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 75-72 loss at Cassell Coliseum to Baylor. You had a feeling at the time the Bears celebrated the victory that there was a change coming for the program and boy did it.

We knew that Elizabeth Kitley's career was over before the NCAA Tournament started after a knee injury on March 3 at Virginia. A couple of days before the Hokies played Marshall in their first-round game, it was revealed that she was going to be out after surgery.

In the days leading into the beginning of the tournament, rumors started to swirl that Brooks had interviewed for the same position at Kentucky, but did not address the rumor in his pre-tournament press conference, dodging the question. You had a feeling that when he didn't address the question with a confirmation or denial that where there's smoke, there's fire.

That ended up being true and since the loss to Baylor, the program has undergone major changes all around. There has been a lot of movement and it's been a very emotional time for the program and the fanbase. Here are four underlying storylines from the last 14 days.

Baylor loss closed the door on program-changing roster

Who knew when Kitley, Cayla King, and Georgia Amoore walked through the doors at Virginia Tech to play for Brooks that the program would turn into one that was a serious threat to win a National Championship? In the spring of 2023, they won the ACC Tournament Championship, they advanced to their first Final Four against LSU before losing a heartbreaker. After that loss, Kitley decided to come back for one more season with King and Amoore and they embarked on a mission that came up short in a devastating way.

The Hokies won the ACC regular season championship and were closing in on a No. 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but everything changed at Notre Dame on Feb. 29 with a loss, then Kitley's injury three nights later at Virginia. After the game, Brooks was distraught talking about what had happened and you had a feeling that despite Kitley coming back to the bench at the end of the third quarter that night, you may have seen her play her final game as a Hokie. That ended up being true and after the Bears gutted out a win in Blacksburg, it closed the book on this group and it wasn't supposed to end that way.

Kenny Brooks heads to Kentucky

As it turned out, those Kenny Brooks rumors about Kentucky were true, and less than 48 hours after losing to Baylor, he was hired in Lexington to turn around the Wildcats program. He has a challenge in front of him in the SEC with the likes of South Carolina and LSU and then adds in Texas, it's going to be a brutal conference to navigate through in the regular season and the conference tournament. Kentucky is coming off an 11-20 season so there is nowhere to go but up for Brooks.

If there has been one thing that has hurt Virginia Tech fans, it's been that Brooks never said goodbye and thank you to Virginia Tech fans. Yes, the turnaround was done on the court with the players and Brooks, however, if there's one thing that is true, it's that Hokies' fans support their teams no matter the sport or how difficult things might be. They sold Cassell Coliseum this year, they were lines that wrapped around the outside of the building to get in and the Cassell Guard was supportive every night. A thank you to the fanbase would have been the right thing for Brooks to do. There aren't many fanbases like Blacksburg.

Georgia Amoore and Clara Strack enter the transfer portal

In two not-so-surprising moves, Georgia Amoore and Clara Strack both entered the transfer portal. First Amoore said goodbye on March 28 but never said whether or not she's entering the transfer portal to go to the WNBA Draft. A couple of days later, she entered the transfer portal with a no-contact tag, which pointed to her next move.

The next day, freshman Clara Strack entered the portal and like Amoore, there was a no-contact tag that signaled her next move. With neither player wanting to be contacted, and if they wanted to be contacted, the number of coaches that would have reached out to each player would have been off the charts, it was just a matter of time before their next destination was going to be announced. Thursday night, within minutes of each other, both Amoore and Strack committed to Brooks to go to Kentucky for next season. It's not surprising, but hey, at least both players thanked Hokie Nation before they left, something Brooks has yet to do.

Whit Babcock hires Megan Duffy

One day after Brooks left, atheletic director Whit Babcock met with the media and said that his search for the next women's coach would begin. There were seven days of crickets in Blacksburg and fans were wondering when the next coach was going to be hired. It was important to get someone named ASAP with the transfer portal cooking and that was the easiest way to build a roster for the 2024-25 season. One week after the search began, Babcock hired Megan Duffy from Marquette to replace Brooks.

The hiring of Duffy seems to be a huge hit with the fanbase and current remaining roster. Why wouldn't everyone be excited about the hiring? Duffy has had success at Miami of Ohio and Marquette and appears to be the right person to lead the Virginia Tech program going forward. There are still three-plus weeks remaining with the transfer portal being open, but the early returns appear to be good in some roster retainment outside of Amoore and Strack, something that should Duffy ease into the ACC. She will still need to add players from the portal (maybe some who played for her at Marquette), but the foundation is there for her to have success in Blacksburg.

It was not how many Virginia Tech fans, if any, envisioned how this run would have ended, but here we are. One door closed and another one opened.