University of Kansas head women's basketball coach Marian E. Washington announced Thursday that she will take a medical leave of absence, effective immediately.
KU athletic director Lew Perkins has named assistant coach Lynette Woodard interim coach.
"I am very confident that Lynette will do an outstanding job leading our women's basketball team in coach Washington's absence," Perkins said. "We will give Lynette and our student-athletes all the support they need. My biggest concern is for Marian to take care of herself. We will take care of everything else."
"I have felt for some time that I needed to address some medical issues," Washington said. "I feel positive that this is the right time to do it. I am receiving terrific support from Lew and his staff, my coaches and, most importantly, my players, so I know the time is right."
The dean of Big 12 Conference coaches, Washington is in her 31st season as the head coach of Kansas. Her teams have won 559 games, including 17 of 20 or more victories. Kansas has won seven conference titles and six conference tournament championships under her leadership, and has advanced twice to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. She has coached four All-Americans and three academic all-Americans.
An assistant coach for the United States' gold-medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics, Washington will be inducted later this year into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.