Monday, April 02, 2012

Mickie DeMoss leaving Lady Vols for WNBA

University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer head basketball coach Pat Summitt announced today that assistant Mickie DeMoss was leaving her staff to join the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

“From my perspective, I am so excited for Mickie,” Summitt said. “Coaching at the next level has always been one of her professional aspirations, and the Fever is one of the best teams in the league.

“Obviously, Mickie is not only a great coach but she is a lifelong friend. We will certainly miss her at Tennessee and the contributions she has made during the 20 years she has been a part of our championship program.”

A 35-year veteran at the very height of NCAA women’s basketball and the 2006 SEC Coach of the Year, DeMoss served 20 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Tennessee. She spent three seasons as an assistant to Gail Goestenkors at Texas and served four years with record-breaking results as the head coach at Kentucky.

“A few months ago, Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn contacted me about an opening on her staff,” DeMoss said. “I was very interested, but I told her my immediate concern was helping Pat and the Lady Vol basketball team.

“When Pat and I talked about the opportunity to coach at the next level, she told me she would support me in whatever decision I chose to make. I’ve been in the game for 35 years and this (the WNBA) is always something I’ve wanted to do.

“The Indiana Fever was a perfect fit, and the opportunity to coach with Lin will present a brand new learning experience for me,” said DeMoss. A participant in six national championships and 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, DeMoss joins returning assistant coach Stephanie White on the Fever bench.

“Mickie is one of the most highly respected basketball people in our business,” said Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “She has been at the highest level in the collegiate game and has taught and prepared many of her players to move on and become great WNBA players. She is a winner and a tireless worker. I am very happy that she has chosen to join our franchise.”

DeMoss spent the past two seasons with the Lady Volunteers where she had previously spent 18 years as part of a coaching trio featuring Summitt and Holly Warlick. During a span from 1985-86 to 2002-03, the trio led the Lady Vols to six national titles and 12 trips to the Final Four. DeMoss took the coaching reins at Kentucky for the 2003-04 season and later spent time at Texas before returning to Rocky Top in 2010-11.

"I have known Coach DeMoss for 30 years,” added Dunn who has long-standing ties with the UT program. "She brings to our staff an elite knowledge both offensively and defensively. She has had tremendous experiences with championship teams at Tennessee. I have always been highly impressed with her work ethic, her ability to develop players, her attention to detail and her excellent communication skills. We are thrilled to have her with the Fever!"

During her first 18 seasons at UT, the Lady Vols amassed a 554-77 (.878) overall record. DeMoss was promoted to associate head coach in 2000, but stepped aside three years later to lead her own program.

In four seasons at Kentucky, she guided the Wildcats to a 71-56 record including consecutive 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances (one NCAA and two WNIT).

The 2006 SEC Coach of the Year honor was a first for a UK coach, as she guided the 22-9 Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons and punctuated the trip with an NCAA win. In 2006-07, Kentucky was 20-14 and advanced to the WNIT. That season, DeMoss' Cats attracted a school record attendance of 5,863 fans per game.

She elected to step aside as head coach at Kentucky in April 2007, but her coaching hiatus ended when she accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Texas in the summer of 2007. She was the Longhorns' top recruiter while also coaching the post game.

Over the past three decades, DeMoss has cemented a reputation as one of the country’s most elite coaches. A survey of the nation's NCAA Division I women's head basketball coaches tabbed her as the top assistant in the country in 2000. She also garnered that distinction from a 1998 The Women's Basketball Journal poll. While at UT, DeMoss was considered a great technical mind, floor coach and entertainer. Off the court, she was regarded as one of the best recruiters in the college game, year after year recruiting future All-SEC and All-America award-winners, while stockpiling rosters with the kind of players essential to winning national championships.

Some of DeMoss' most notable recruits at Tennessee include: Tonya Edwards, the 1987 Final Four MVP, Dena Head, the 1992 SEC Player of the Year, Chamique Holdsclaw, the 1996 and 1997 Final Four MVP, and Tamika Catchings, a four-time All-American and current star of the Fever. Another DeMoss recruit and All-SEC standout was 2005 SEC Tournament MVP Shyra Ely, an Indianapolis native and current Fever star who joins Catchings in welcoming their former college coach to Indiana.

Noted for her success coaching post players, DeMoss protégés have represented Team USA in every Olympic Games since 1992.

Prior to joining the Tennessee staff in 1985, DeMoss had been an assistant coach at Auburn University (1983-85), a head coach at the University of Florida (1979-83) and an assistant at Memphis State (1977-79). DeMoss received her undergraduate degree in physical education from Louisiana Tech University in 1977, where she starred at point guard. She then received her master's degree in education at Memphis State University in 1979. She is a native of Tallulah, La.

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