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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Joy Cheek has been named assistant coach
Joy Cheek Returns as Assistant Coach
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 08/27/2011
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DURHAM, N.C. – Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie announced on Saturday the addition of Duke University graduate Joy Cheek to the Blue Devil coaching staff.  Cheek, a four-year letterwinner with the Blue Devils from 2007-10 and recent professional player, will be an assistant coach.

“I am just absolutely thrilled to welcome Joy back,” commented McCallie.  “Joy and I talked about her in coaching when she was an undergrad. She has been incredible, her opportunities she has pursued and what she’s done. But, I’m not a bit surprised about her passion to come back to Duke and be an amazing coach. She’s just somebody who is gifted beyond her years, has a maturity level  beyond her years and has an ability to communicate and work with people as well as understand the Duke culture and the standards that we have at Duke. She has the most incredible ability to articulate those standards and motivate young people.”

At Duke, Cheek will guide the post players along with fellow assistant coach Al Brown, in addition to serving as one of two recruiting coordinators and also assist with summer camps. 

“I’m extremely excited,” commented Cheek.  “What better a place to start my career than here at Duke?  It’s a place that I love, a place that benefited me greatly, a program that I was a part of and a coach that I played for.  It’s really a dream come true. I knew I wanted to get into coaching; I didn’t know I would have any opportunity with my first coaching experience to work at Duke. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I couldn’t be happier.”

Cheek, who received a public policy degree in 2010 from Duke, is coming off playing in the WNBA and overseas since graduation.  The 35th overall selection in the 2010 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever, Cheek played in seven contests for the Fever averaging 2.1 points a game.  Following her rookie season, she traveled overseas to play in Leszno, Poland. 

After signing a brief contract with the Washington Mystics to open the 2011 WNBA season, Cheek was prepared to play in Spain this season before accepting the job at Duke. 

Cheek on what she wants to bring to the Duke program, “From a recruitment standpoint, I’m the only one from Duke and played for Coach P. I’m really a testament to what our program is about. And also what players can do once they leave Duke, how they can benefit from Duke and just really be a selling point just to show how great of a university this is -- academically and athletically.”

One of 26 former Duke standouts to register over 1,000 career points, Cheek played in 137 contests in her four years.  She owns career averages of 8.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals.  As a senior, Cheek averaged 9.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists as she started all 36 contests for the Blue Devils.  She was named to the Memphis Regional All-Tournament team, All-ACC Tournament First Team, All-ACC Third Team and was a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.

“You can’t even put words to it,” added McCallie on the importance of Cheek knowing her system and being a Duke graduate.  “Her experience with being a student-athlete and making the choices that she made; she made incredible choices like her internship at the White House.  She has been able to be on every stage and Joy is comfortable on any stage.  This is the one though that is closest to her heart and the one that she believes in most. As I feel with her as my former player, the three years that we had together were just tremendous.  This just really does make sense; it all makes sense.”

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Cheek was an ACC Honor Roll selection in 2008-09.  In the summer of 2009, she performed an internship in the Office of the Vice President and Economic Policy at the White House.  Following graduation from Duke, Cheek had the honor of introducing Vice President Joe Biden prior to making an announcement about Title IX on April 20, 2010.

More on what Cheek wants to bring to the program, “From a coach’s standpoint, just the energy -- to be ready to help at any point I can. My experience playing professionally and at Duke, being on that level, and being close to their age I can really connect with what they are going through.  I can also give the girls advice about how to get to the next level because I’ve been there and I’ve experienced it.  I know how it is to go into practice, with that attitude, like you know, ‘we’ve got this next big opponent’ like what are you thinking?  I can get them geared and ready to go. I think two of the biggest things are just my experience playing; I’ve always been a student of the game, always willing to learn.  I just want to be there to give any kind of advice that the girls need.  If they have any questions about situations with class or generally with school because I’ve been through it.”

Adding Cheek to the staff along with assistant coaches Candice M. Jackson and Brown, McCallie is very excited about her group heading into the 2011-12 campaign. 

“The feeling is really overwhelming to know you are with people who have been with you during the highest points of your career and people who understand the way that we do things here,” commented McCallie.  “We are a truly connected staff with two former players.  Candace was part of that march to the national championship game.  Joy has been responsible for so much success here at Duke.  And of course, Al and I are going on our eighth year, so the combination is one of people that understand, people that are proud and prideful about Duke and people that love standards, love competition and want to be the very best.”

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