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Missouri State hires Lady Bears head coach

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Missouri State University announced the hiring of a new head coach for the Lady Bears basketball team less than two weeks after Amaka Agugua-Hamilton took a job at the University of Virginia.

Beth Cunningham, who worked the last two seasons as assistant head coach at Duke University, has been signed to a five-year agreement at MSU through the 2026-27 season, according to a news release. The MSU Board of Governors unanimously approved her appointment at a special meeting this morning, President Clif Smart said at a livestreamed news conference.

"It's truly an honor to be the head coach at Missouri State, and I'm thrilled to lead one of the premier women's basketball programs in the country," Cunningham said at the news conference today. "Coaching and teaching is in my DNA."

Smart said Cunningham was selected from a list of a dozen potential candidates and two finalists.

Cunningham comes to MSU with 20 years of collegiate coaching experience. Prior to her stint at Duke, she worked eight seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. She had 11 years on the coaching staff at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she also was a player, both at Notre Dame and in the pros with the WNBA's Washington Mystics, according to the release.

At MSU, she becomes the ninth coach in the history of the Lady Bears basketball program. Agugua-Hamilton, aka Coach Mox, announced earlier this month she accepted the women's basketball head coach position at the University of Virginia.

Cunningham's contract at MSU comes with a base salary of $320,000, according to the release. The agreement includes incentives for tournament appearances and conference championships, coaching honors and attendance.

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