By Eugenia Boateng
On Monday, Georgetown Universities head women’s basketball coach, Tasha Butts, died after a courageous two-year battle with breast cancer. Her character and achievements are remembered by the Georgetown University community, family, and friends. Butts’ persistent tenacity, perseverance, and love of the game have left an unforgettable imprint on the lives she has touched.
“I am heartbroken for Tasha’s family, friends, players, teammates and colleagues,” said Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed. “When I met Tasha, I knew she was a winner on the court, and an incredible person whose drive, passion and determination was second to none. She exhibited these qualities both as a leader and in her fight against breast cancer. This is a difficult time for the entire Georgetown community, and we will come together to honor her memory.”
Before Butts started her coaching career off the court, she had an amazing career on the court as well. She was a former standout player at the University of Tennessee. Butts was an athlete at Tennessee from 2000 to 2004, under Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt. With her on the team, the Lady Vols went 124-17 and advanced to the NCAA championship game in 2003 and 2004. At the institution, she was a member of four SEC regular-season championship teams. She also had a brief WNBA career after being drafted 20th overall by the Minnesota Lynx in 2004. She had stints with Minnesota, Charlotte, and Houston.
“Our program is heartbroken to lose a member of our Lady Vol sisterhood much, much too soon,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper. “Tasha was the type of person who connected with people everywhere she went. She had such a positive impact not only on our Tennessee family but on women’s basketball as a whole.”
Butts joined the Georgia Tech women’s basketball coaching staff in April 2019 as an assistant coach and was elevated to associate head coach two years later. Earlier this year she accepted the position of head coach at Georgetown University. Unfortunately, her illness made coaching difficult, and last month Butts made the decision to step down as head coach. Georgetown hired assistant Darnell Haney as a temporary coach. He stated last week that he had been in frequent communication with Butts during her treatment.
“Tasha’s passing is a devastating loss. She was extraordinary,” Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said. “Tasha was a person of character, determination, vision, and kindness. She will be deeply missed by our community and by so many people around the country who have been inspired by her life.”
Butts was diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer in 2021. Her illness sparked the Tasha Tough campaign, which has generated awareness and funds for quality cancer care for women who cannot afford treatment.
After her diagnosis teams around the country would share videos on their social media accounts every Tuesday in October, being Breast Cancer Awareness Month to uplift Butts’ spirits and to help her during her fight.
“We kept her up to date with what’s going on with the program. Shoot her a text on how practice went, how things are going in the conference,” he said. “Do stuff to make her smile and keep her mind off what she was going through. We’d send her film from practice.
Butts is survived by her parents Spencer, Sr. and Evelyn, her brother Spencer, Jr., and her nephew Marquis.