VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Villanova hired former star Denise Dillon as its new women’s basketball coach Friday.
Dillon, who has spent the last 17 years as the head coach of Drexel, played at Villanova for former coach Harry Perretta, who retired after 42 seasons at the school.
Dillon compiled a 329-204 (.617) record in her 17 years at Drexel and recently guided the program to one of the best stretches in its history. Over the last four years, the Dragons were 96-35 and reached the postseason each year.
“I cannot convey how exciting and humbling it is to be returning home to Villanova as the next women’s basketball coach,” said Dillon. “I want to thank University President Father Peter Donohue and director of athletics Mark Jackson, for their confidence in me and providing me with this amazing opportunity.”
She played for Perretta from 1993-96 and was part of Wildcats teams that went 68-43 (.613) during her collegiate career. Dillon had 1,355 points and 677 rebounds at Villanova.
“Words cannot express how excited I am that Denise has been given this opportunity,” Perretta said. “She has done a phenomenal job at Drexel over the last 17 years and she is ready for this next challenge in her career. To have one of my former players take over the program is something that makes me extremely proud. Villanova women’s basketball is in great hands under Denise’s leadership.”
Perretta won at least 20 games in 20 separate seasons at Villanova, including going 29-4 in 1981-82. His team made it to the Elite Eight in 2002-03.
Dillon will be replaced at Drexel by Amy Mallon, who had been her assistant for the past 16 years.
“I am honored to be the next women’s basketball head coach at Drexel University,” Mallon said. “Drexel has been my home for the last 16 years and I cannot wait to get started as the next leader of the program. I was fortunate to work alongside Denise Dillon to build something special and am eager to take over the reins.”