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3. PENN STATE: Wilkins leaves Happy Valley for Badgers
February 1st, 2007 6:09AM
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In a surprise move, Paula Wilkins, who has the second-highest winning percentage in the nation among active NCAA women's coaches, left Penn State to take over the women's program at Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

Wilkins compiled a 119-19-11 in six seasons as Penn State's head coach, leading the Nittany Lions to six straight Big Ten regular-season championships, a pair of Big Ten tournament titles and two Women's College Cup appearances during her tenure. She coached such stars as Christie Welsh, the winner of the 2001 Hermann Trophy, Joanna Lohman and Tiffany Weimer. Wilkins' 2006 team also boasted two All-Americans in senior captain Ali Krieger, a first-team selection for the second consecutive year, and sophomore Sheree Gray, a third-team honoree.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to coach at Wisconsin," Wilkins said. "I will always cherish the years I had at Penn State, and I am proud of what we accomplished there. But I also believe in continuing to challenge myself and this move will be an opportunity for me to improve as a coach as well as build a program that consistently wins at a high level. I can't wait to get started."

Wilkins replaces long-time UW women's coach Dean Duerst, who resigned in January. She said she wanted a change.

"Penn State has been absolutely incredible for me," she told the Centre Daily News. "I couldn't ask for anything more of an athletic department and this is by no reflection of anything in the Penn State athletic program. In fact, they have gone above and beyond everything that I would expect from an athletic program."

Wilkins admitted her players were shocked when she broke the news of her move to Madison.

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