Kittie Blakemore, the first women's basketball coach at West Virginia University, has passed away at the age of 91.
Blakemore was tabbed as the program's coach in 1973. After a tumultuous 4-10 first season, Blakemore led WVU to double-digit win seasons over the next five years.
With Blakemore at the helm in 1989, the Mountaineers made their first NCAA Tournament appearance and won the Atlantic-10 Conference championship. Three years later, West Virginia made it to the Sweet Sixteen — the furthest the team has ever in the postseason.
Blakemore announced her retirement as head coach in 1992, compiling a career record of 301-214 during her 19 seasons on the bench.
Following her retirement, Blakemore worked as West Virginia's assistant athletic director for sports development and senior women's administrator until 1997. She was enshrined in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Mike Carey, who has served as WVU's women's basketball coach since 2001, said that the foundation that Blakemore built lives on through today.
"I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kittie Blakemore," Carey said in a statement. "As the first coach of this program, she set the bar and developed the foundation Mountaineer women's basketball stands on today. Even after her retirement, her love and support for this team was unquestionable, and we are so thankful for her. We will greatly miss Kittie and forever remember her in our hearts."