Jodi Kest, the University of Akron women’s basketball coach for the past 12 seasons, announced her retirement Wednesday.

The all-time winningest coach in program history and the longest tenured coach in the Mid-American Conference, Kest recently completed her 25th season as a head coach and 34th season as a women’s basketball coach.

“Really, the most special part is being involved in these young ladies’ lives and watching them grow from being a kid to being a young adult,” Kest said. “The basketball part — the X’s and O’s — is a small part of why we coach. We coach more for all the other reasons — the relationships you have with the players and your coaches. Those are the things I’m going to miss the most ... being on the bus, being at practice. But I’m ready to move on to whatever. I don’t know.”

Kest said she didn’t know if she’d ever coach again.

“Someone asked me that the other day,” she said. “Like my uncle says to me: ‘I can’t worry about yesterday. I don’t know about tomorrow. I just know where I am at today.”

The school named associate head coach Melissa Jackson as the acting head coach of the program, and said it will conduct a national search for Kest’s permanent replacement.

“We want to thank Jodi for her service to the university and Akron athletics,” UA Director of Athletics Larry Williams said in a news release. “Jodi has built a solid foundation for our program moving forward. Jodi’s highlights and accomplishments on the basketball court are only surpassed by her dedication to the young women in the basketball program and helping to shape them into leaders in the classroom and in the community.”

A 1984 graduate of Slippery Rock (Pa.) University where she was a standout in basketball and tennis, Kest earned her 400th career victory this past season with a win over Youngstown State. She has a career record of 179-195 with the Zips, and an overall record of 405-348 (.537).

Kest led the Zips to postseason appearances in four consecutive seasons (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16) and five overall during her tenure. That includes their first MAC championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.

Although the Zips enjoyed unprecedented success during Kest’s first 10 years, they struggled to identical 9-21 records the past two seasons, with just five MAC victories during that time.

Staff writer George M. Thomas contributed to this report