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Ashley Langford leaves Stony Brook, takes Tulane head coaching job

Head coach Ashley Langford (right) greets small forward Kelis Corley (left) before the Stony Brook women’s basketball team’s game against Hofstra on Feb. 16. On Tuesday, Langford resigned to become the new head coach at Tulane. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

After three years as head coach of the Stony Brook women’s basketball team, Ashley Langford has moved on.

Langford accepted the head coaching position at Tulane University — her alma mater — on Tuesday. From 2005 to 2009, Langford was the starting point guard at Tulane, where she currently holds the program record for most career assists (722), assists per game (6.0) and minutes per game (34.4). Langford was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

Langford’s departure comes after leading Stony Brook to a 69-24 overall record. During her time, she led the Seawolves to the 2022 Women’s National Invitation Tournament and the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) regular-season title in the 2023-24 season.

This past year, Langford earned the 2023-24 CAA Coach of the Year award and led her team to the 2024 Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT). Under Langford’s guidance, Stony Brook won a program-record-tying 28 games this year.

Given the many victories the program had under Langford, Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron saw this coming.

“[With] the success that we had this year, you kind of prepare yourself for there to be interest in Ashley,” Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said in an interview with The Statesman. “Certainly when I heard the news that the head coach of her alma mater retired, I just knew they were going to call her. I at least felt they would be foolish if they didn’t.”

Following 30 years at the helm of the Green Wave, Langford’s former head coach Lisa Stockton announced her retirement on March 19, opening the door for Langford to take her place.

The process began following the Seawolves’ upset loss in the 2024 CAA women’s basketball championship game to Drexel and before they began their journey in the inaugural WBIT.

“She was great the whole time,” Heilbron said. “Ashley kept me in the loop, so I was aware of the conversations that she was having. I was never caught off guard at any time.”

Before the 2023-24 season, Langford signed a contract extension with Stony Brook through 2028. Heilbron told The Statesman that the contract was bought out by Tulane.

During her tenure with Stony Brook, Langford helped five players earn All-Conference selections. After getting a 2022-23 All-CAA Third Team nod last year, point guard Gigi Gonzalez was named the 2023-24 CAA Player of the Year and earned 2023-24 All-CAA First Team honors this past season. Power forward Sherese Pittman was named to her second consecutive All-CAA Second Team in 2023-24 and center Khari Clark also earned a 2023-24 All-CAA Second Team selection.

In her two years under Langford, former shooting guard Annie Warren was selected to both the 2021-22 All-America East (AE) First Team and the 2022-23 All-CAA First Team. Former center India Pagan was selected to the 2021-22 All-AE Second Team in Langford’s first year on the job.

Alongside Langford’s departure, Gonzalez and Clark have both run out of eligibility.

Despite the costly losses, Heilbron still expects the Seawolves to win the CAA and make it to the NCAA tournament next year. His confidence is due in part to conversations held with three of the team’s core returning players: Pittman, starting shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez and power forward Shamarla King.

Shooting guard Victoria Keenan also has eligibility to return if she chooses to.

“They want to win,” Heilbron said. “They want to go to the NCAA tournament. They are determined to do that and that’s our goal. It’s to find the next head coach that will build on the success that this program has had. We’ve got a lot of core players coming back [and] we’re going to add a couple of key pieces.”

In his search for Stony Brook’s 11th head coach in program history and the third of his tenure, Heilbron has a list of qualities he will look for in potential candidates.

“I always look for someone in the upper trajectory in their career,” Heilbron said. “Someone who is extremely hungry, someone who’s been mentored. Whether they’ve been a head coach or not, just get someone who will value the relationships with the women in our program. Someone who is going to love them on the court and off, who’s going to challenge them on the court and off. Someone who wants to be at Stony Brook. Someone who believes in what this institution is and is committed to building it the right way and not afraid of the success we’ve had.”

Heilbron hopes Stony Brook’s next head coach will follow in Langford’s footsteps.

“Coach Langford came in when we won our first championship,” Heilbron said. “She embraced that challenge and took it to the next level. That’s certainly the goal here.”

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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