Jen Smith on Basketball

Hall of Fame coach Dunn signs on for another season at Kentucky

Kentucky hit its share of turbulence a year ago, so Lin Dunn agreed to come out of retirement for a season help Matthew Mitchell bounce back.

“Surround yourself with people you can trust,” the Hall of Fame coach told the Cats head coach after UK had fired one assistant coach and had two more resign last spring.

Dunn, a good friend and mentor to Mitchell, was one of the people Mitchell trusted most and as a former team consultant she was a familiar face to the players that remained after multiple departures.

But unlike fellow new assistant coaches Kyra Elzy and Niya Butts, who signed two-year deals in 2016, Dunn agreed to just one season with the Cats.

Now Dunn’s signed on for at least one more, inking another one-year contract with Kentucky and Mitchell.

The new deal, which runs through June 30, 2018 will pay her $200,000 a year, equal to the amount she was making last season.

“The great thing about our staff is that we all have similar core values that make it easy for us to work together,” Dunn said in a news release. “I want to continue to help them build a program that wins championships and invests in its players. I love the Big Blue Nation and cannot wait to be back on the sidelines.”

Before her pseudo retirement, Dunn, 70, has more than 40 years as a coach, including 15 years as a coach at the professional level. She was Indiana Fever coach from 2008-14, winning a championship there in 2012.

Dunn has won more than 500 games at the college, professional and international levels.

The return of Dunn, Elzy and Butts means that Kentucky will have its first offseason with no assistant coaching turnover since the 2011-12 season.

In an interview in April, Mitchell said he was hopeful that Dunn would stick around. He was thankful for the staff stability.

“This (staff) was a unified front where I felt like every day the coaches were concerned about each other and the kids and trying to help them get better,” he told the Herald-Leader.

He added in a UK release on Thursday, when her new contract was finalized: “The contributions she has and will continue to make in our program are immense. Like all of us, Lin is focused on helping Kentucky be the premier environment for young women to come develop into the very best students, players and citizens they can be. It is an honor to work by her side every day.”

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

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