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ASU women's basketball head coach Charli Turner Thorne announces retirement

Turner Thorne retires as the winningest coach in the program's history after 25 seasons with the team

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ASU women's basketball Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne hugs Athletic Director Ray Anderson after announcing her retirement on Thursday, March 3. 2022 at Desert Financial Arena.

Charli Turner Thorne announced in a press conference Thursday she will retire as ASU women's basketball's head coach after holding the position for 25 seasons.

"I'm retiring," Turner Thorne said. "It's been my honor to be here and serve. It's just time, it's just time. I've had the great honor of coaching and mentoring these young women and I'm just forever grateful for believing in me and believing in the culture we have built here."

Turner Thorne ends her career as the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history and the second-most winningest coach in the Pac-12 with 488 wins.

In the three years prior to Turner Thorne's arrival in 1996, the Sun Devils compiled an overall record of 20-60, struggling to make a name for themselves as a competitive basketball program. 

As soon as Turner Thorne was appointed head coach of the Sun Devils, the program ascended to new heights. The team made the NCAA Tournament 14 times during her tenure, including three appearances in the Sweet 16 and two in the Elite Eight.

During Charli Turner Thorne's tenure, ASU has rotated through five football head coaches, five men's basketball head coaches and four baseball head coaches.

Despite the overall success of the past two decades, the 2021-22 campaign has been a difficult one for Turner Thorne and her squad. The Sun Devils finished this season with a 12-14 record, ending the season on a six-game losing streak and falling to Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. 

While coaching ASU has been an honor for Turner Thorne, she said it is time to step away from the game and make her family her primary focus. 

"Lastly, and most importantly, to my family, who honestly probably too often have come second to my ASU family," Turner Thorne said. "I'm just so excited for this transition where they will be my top priority."

Turner Thorne may be retiring as head coach of the Sun Devils, but she said she is not done working and hopes to be around the ASU community in the years to come.

"I'm going to look into a number of different things, maybe some broadcasting, maybe some writing, maybe some teaching here at ASU," Turner Thorne said. "I definitely won't be retiring. I will continue to work."

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson said the community will miss Turner Thorne's presence behind the bench and expressed gratefulness for her time as head coach. 

"Charli's commitment and her loyalty to this program has been inequivalent," Anderson said. "This conference is tenacious, it is not anywhere near an easy place to coach and recruit and work, but she did it with unbelievable dedication and commitment for so many years."

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