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

Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne reacts to a foul against Oregon State during the firs...

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.”

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