Home » UK gives Kenny Brooks a top-10 contract; former AD calls him “best developer of players” he’s ever seen

UK gives Kenny Brooks a top-10 contract; former AD calls him “best developer of players” he’s ever seen

With so much focus placed on the turmoil within Kentucky men’s basketball, it was easy to miss the excitement of the women’s basketball program hiring a new head coach to lead the program.

Kenny Brooks was poached from Virginia Tech, and an immediate great sign was seeing how folks close to his former program were devastated by the news of his departure.

“Brooks was the best developer of players and a teacher of the game that I’ve probably ever seen in any sport.” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said on Wednesday.

Kenny Brooks led the Hokies to a 1-seed and Final Four birth in 2023. In the national semifinal, they would narrowly lose to eventual national champion LSU, 79-72.

By absolutely all indications, this was a slam-dunk hire for Mitch Barnhart and the University of Kentucky.

And to no surprise, they had to open up the checkbook to get Brooks to Lexington.

According to KSR’s Zack Geoghegan, Kentucky is paying Brooks an average of $1.5 million per season. That would make him the seventh-highest-paid coach in women’s basketball.

Brooks began his coaching career as a men’s assistant at VMI in 1994 before moving over to James Madison in 1998. Four years later, in 2002, he would stay at the same school but moved over to the women’s program.

The following year, he was promoted to head coach and remained at JMU for 13 successful years before moving to Virginia Tech in 2016.

Brooks is known as a special coach who can develop talent and move the needle.

Aside from the one SEC Tournament championship, the Kyra Elzy era was stale and uneventful, leaving room for a coach like Kenny Brooks to recapture the excitement of a fan base that’s rabid about hoops.

I can only assume that the passion for basketball in Kentucky played a role in Brooks’ decision to uproot from the state where he’d coached his entire career.

The first order of business will likely be hitting the portal and working on roster configuration.

Welcome to the Bluegrass, Kenny.