Charli Turner Thorne retires after 25 seasons with ASU women’s basketball

Mar 3, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2022, 6:47 am

Charli Turner Thorne, ASU coach...

Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne reacts to a foul against Oregon State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona State Sun Devils women’s basketball head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced her retirement on Thursday.

“It’s been my honor to serve. It’s just time. It’s just time,” she told reporters.

“I’ve had the great fortune of coaching and mentoring these young women for the past almost three decades and I’m just forever grateful for them, believing in me and believing in the culture that we built here,” Thorne added while holding back tears.

“I want to thank all the players — can’t name them all — all the players and the staff that I’ve had that have made it a rewarding and fulfilling 25 years.”

Vice president of university athletics Ray Anderson, who led off the press conference, made it known that it was Turner’s decision to hang up the clipboard.

“When I heard the news given to me that Charli had determined that she was going to retire, I wasn’t surprised but it was still a jolt to me,” he said. “It was a jolt, primarily because in all of my time here, I don’t recall one time that Charli and I had a conversation about when she might leave her job as the head women’s basketball coach at Arizona State.

“And the reason in my mind why it never occurred is because … through her two-plus decades of leading this program with great intelligence and great ethics and great development of young women into leaders but also unbelievable performers in the classroom, that Charli had earned the right to determine herself with her family when it was time for her to step away.”

Thorne has been at the helm of ASU women’s hoops for the last 25 years after taking over ahead of the 1996-97 season and was under contract through 2024.

She is the winningest coach in program history with 488 wins after taking Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament 14 times, with five Sweet 16 appearances and two trips to the Elite Eight.

Turner Thorne had 528 career wins, with 40 coming while head coach at Northern Arizona (1993-96).

Thorne is also the second-winningest coach in Pac-12 history, having won two regular-season titles, one conference tournament and being named Pac 10/12 Coach of the Year twice. She also won two gold medals with USA Basketball.

Unfortunately for the Sun Devils this season, the team went 12-14 (4-9 Pac-12) and was eliminated in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday by Oregon State, 59-54.

“While from a basketball standpoint, we didn’t quite do what we wanted to do this year … anybody’s that’s ever coached knows your best coaching job is never your best record,” Thorne said.

“And I do feel like we emptied out, gave everything we had and it’s time.”

Arizona State Basketball

Frankie Collins spearheaded ASU's defense with six first half steals in a win against USC on Jan. 2...

David Veenstra

Former Arizona State basketball guard Frankie Collins reportedly commits to TCU

Former Arizona State guard Frankie Collins has committed to TCU. Collins has one year of eligibility remaining.

13 hours ago

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and assistant Jermaine Kimbrough...

Arizona Sports

Grand Canyon hires Bobby Hurley’s top Arizona State assistant, Jermaine Kimbrough

Arizona State assistant coach Jermaine Kimbrough has departed Bobby Hurley's staff and joined nearby Grand Canyon head coach Bryce Drew.

1 day ago

Bobby Hurley claps during a game...

Arizona Sports

Former Ball State leader Basheer Jihad commits to ASU, Bryant Selebangue in portal

Former Ball State Cardinals forward Basheer Jihad has committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils men's basketball program.

2 days ago

South Carolina celebrates winning an NCAA Championship...

Associated Press

NCAA women’s title between South Carolina, Iowa was most-watched hoops game in 5 years

South Carolina's victory over Iowa in the women's NCAA championship game had a preliminary audience average of 18.7 million on ABC and ESPN.

5 days ago

UConn wins 2024 National Championship...

Bailey Leasure

UConn becomes 1st back-to-back national champion since 2007 with win over Purdue

UConn defeated Purdue to win its sixth championship in program history Monday at State Farm Stadium.

5 days ago

Zach Edey...

Arizona Sports

Zach Edey keeps Purdue in championship game against UConn

Purdue star Zach Edey led both teams in scoring with a 37-point output in the national championship game as UConn won its second in a row.

5 days ago

Charli Turner Thorne retires after 25 seasons with ASU women’s basketball