Kennesaw State University women’s basketball head coach Agnus Berenato has announced her retirement after a 33-year head coaching career that included four institutions and 11 postseason appearances.
During a career that has featured stops at Rider, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Kennesaw State, Berenato has accumulated 483 victories and was awarded the WBCA Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award at the 2019 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four.
"It has been my great honor to represent Kennesaw State, and the time has come for me to step down as head basketball coach,” said Berenato. “From my time as a student-athlete to coaching at prestigious universities, two in Georgia, these past 33 years, I am grateful for the numerous opportunities I’ve been offered to play and coach the game I love. I am grateful to have worked with the best assistant coaches in the business, learn from energetic administrators, and have an impact on the lives of so many phenomenal women. Together, we enjoyed the journey, grew our student-athletes and experienced the thrill of victory.”
During Berenato’s tenure at KSU, the Owls earned two first-team All-ASUN selections, three second-team All-ASUN selections, five All-Freshman Team selections and three ASUN Freshman of the Year awards. Berenato guided Kennesaw State to two ASUN Conference Tournament victories, including a fourth-place finish in the league during her inaugural season.
She ends her storied career with six 20-win seasons and 11 postseason appearances. She is a member of four Hall of Fames, including the Rider University Athletics Hall of Fame (2002), the Camden County (NJ) Sports Hall of Fame (2005), the Mount St. Mary’s Athletics Hall of Fame (2015) and the Basketball Club of South Jersey Hall of Fame.
“I would like to thank Coach Berenato for pouring into the lives of our student-athletes and representing Kennesaw State University with class on and off the court,” said Director of Athletics Milton Overton. “In her honor, we have established the ‘Coach B Scholarship’ that will serve as a lasting reminder of all the meaningful contributions she has made in the lives of our student-athletes and the impact she has in our community. Her legacy will live on through this scholarship and allow students in the coming years to live out her mission as they battle the effects of cancer.”
A 1980 graduate of Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md., Berenato earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and was a three-year starter on the basketball team. Playing for former NBA star Fred Carter, she was a two-time captain for the Mountaineers.
She became the head women's basketball coach at Rider University in 1982 and then coached at Georgia Tech from 1989 to 2003, followed by a decade with the University of Pittsburgh, from 2003 to 2013. In March of 2016, Berenato was named KSU's head women's basketball coach.
On the court, Berenato mentored five student-athletes to All-America recognition, three student athletes went on to become WNBA players and 18 became international professional players.
Berenato always emphasized the development of the total person, and her student-athletes have complimented athletic success with academic achievement. She proudly boasts a 100% graduation rate of every student-athlete that has completed their eligibility. True to her dedication to academics, KSU earned 10 ASUN All-Academic team honors in five years, and 50 student-athletes made the ASUN All-Academic Honor Roll, along with a No. 20 ranking in the WBCA Top 25 Academic Team.
Off the court, Berenato is recognized as an inspirational leader and motivator, and a dynamic public speaker. She was active in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and has spoken at For-tune 500 companies, university commencements and presented at numerous Final Fours. Berenato holds two honorary doctorate degrees.
Berenato devoted significant time to volunteer and mission work. She joined Surgicorps International on medical missions to Vietnam (2016) and Bhutan (2017) and was a Women’s Leadership Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State and traveled to third-world countries, Suriname and Guyana, in 2017. Berenato’s travels have also taken her to Kingston, Jamaica on a Pediatric AIDS Mission with Father Ho Loung of the Missionaries of the Poor, and to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar where she visited US Military troops as part of a Good Will trip. Committed to also helping others at home, Berenato is actively involved in Hospice and the Girl Scouts of America.
Berenato not only serves has a mentor to her student-athletes, but she led the KSU team in the “adoption” of Cate Zavitz, who was diagnosed with Autosomal Recessive Congenital Ichthyosis, a form of skin disease. She also continues to impact the sport through dozens of former student-athletes and assistant coaches.
A national search for her replacement will begin immediately.