RICHMOND, Va. -- After five seasons leading Virginia Union to heights that hadn't been seen in over three decades, AnnMarie Gilbert has decided to step down as Lady Panthers Head Coach to become Coach at Detroit Mercy.
"It's just been a whirlwind that happened quickly," stated Coach Gilbert. "I'd spent 13 years in Michigan before coming to Virginia so it makes sense."
Prior to her arrival at Virginia Union, Gilbert spent five years as Head Coach at Eastern Michigan. She won at least 22 games in her final three seasons there and led them to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, just their second trip ever to the NCAA's. Before that, she was an Assistant Coach at Michigan State for five years and was a part of the Lady Spartans staff that reached the NCAA Title game during the 2004 season.
"I have several former players that at several schools within the area of where the University of Detroit is, within an hour away and all of them have reached out," Coach Gilbert said. "One of the AAU Coaches texted me the other day and said hey Coach, got a trivia question for you. Who is the only African-American female coach, Division I or Division II, in the state of Michigan? And I thought, I hadn't even thought about that.
Gilbert arrived at Virginia Union in 2015 and inherited a program that won just nine games the year before. During her time, the Lady Panthers won 135 games, made five NCAA Tournament appearances to include an appearance in the 2017 National Title game. VUU also won three CIAA championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
"One of the things I'll miss the most is the people," Gilbert explained. "Coach [Joe] Taylor use to say, players don't come to bricks, they come to people. I hope the student-athletes that I impacted here that they're better people."
Gilbert takes over a Detroit Mercy program that won only three games last season and has just three winning seasons in the past decade.
"I think this [Horizion] league is a great league," Gilbert mentioned. "But I think the team's that I've coached in the last couple of years could compete very well in this league. I think Shareka McNeil would be the Player of the Year in this league, if she played in this league so I think I'm on the right type of talent. I think my system will flourish."