Coaching News: Spring/Summer 2019

News on D-I women’s basketball coaching changes and other coaching-related items in the spring and summer of 2019, posted in reverse chronological order.

Eastern Michigan assistant coach Cassandra Callaway has been promoted to recruiting coordinator.

Eastern Michigan University Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach Cassandra Callaway has been granted the title of recruiting coordinator along with her assistant coach duties, Head Coach Fred Castro announced Tuesday, Aug. 13.

“I am happy to announce the promotion of Cassandra to recruiting coordinator,” Castro exclaimed. “She has done an excellent job enhancing our recruiting footprint within Michigan, Ohio, and the Midwest region, which is critical. Cassandra is one of the top young assistants in our game, and I am excited to see how she continues to positively impact our program.”

Since arriving in Ypsilanti in May 2016, Castro and his staff have hit the recruiting trail hard, securing one of the top recruiting classes in the Mid-American Conference. This year’s class features highly-touted high school recruits in Aaliyah Stanley and Constance Chaplin, along with Conference USA All-Freshman Team selection and Florida International transfer Ce’Nara Skanes.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to serve as the recruiting coordinator,” Callaway added. “I want to thank Coach Castro for allowing me to grow into this new role and look forward to building on the momentum built by our team.”


Mark Simons has joined Heather Oesterle‘s Central Michigan staff as an assistant coach. His coaching career includes stints as an assistant at Michigan State, Georgia Tech, and Auburn, as well as the men’s basketball head coach at Elon.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Central Michigan women’s basketball coach Heather Oesterle has added coaching veteran Mark Simons to her staff as an assistant.

Simons, a Mount Pleasant native, brings more than 35 years of coaching experience, and two critical skills that Oesterle highly sought: head-coaching experience and recruiting ties to the Midwest, specifically to the state of the Michigan.

“I’m really excited for Mark to join our staff,” said Oesterle, who was named to lead the highly successful program on July 12, succeeding her mentor, Sue Guevara, who retired. “I think he’s going be a great fit with our staff and our team will love him.”


Terry Nooner has been named an assistant coach on the Texas staff. He was on the Cleveland Cavaliers staff during the 2018-19 season, with a three-year stint as a Maryland women’s basketball assistant coach before that.

Terry Nooner, who has found success at all levels of basketball including more than eight years of experience in the women’s college game, has been named assistant coach at The University of Texas, head coach Karen Aston announced Friday.

Nooner’s responsibilities at Texas will include instructing players at the post position as well as being heavily involved in recruiting.

Nooner joins the Longhorns from the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, where he spent the 2018-19 season as Player Development Coach.

Prior to his time with the Cavaliers, Nooner served three seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Maryland women’s basketball team. He helped the Terrapins to a record of 89-14 [.864], including a 43-7 [.860] mark in Big Ten Conference play. During his stint in College Park, Maryland won back-to-back Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and earned three NCAA Tournament berths.


Ashley Elliott has been promoted to assistant coach on the Nevada staff, while Brittany Aikens has been promoted to director of player development.

Nevada women’s basketball head coach Amanda Levens has announced the elevation of two staff members as Ashley Elliott will fill the vacant assistant coach position for the 2019-20 season and Brittany Aikens will become the program’s Director of Player Development.

The upcoming season marks Elliott’s second on staff and first as an assistant coach as she served as the program’s operations coordinator last season. Elliott is no stranger to coaching though as she previously served as an assistant coach at Idaho State and Weber State. While only at Idaho State for the 2011-12 season, the Bengals posted a 24-win season and captured both the regular season and conference tournament championships in the Big Sky, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Leading the guard development, Elliott coached three members of that team to All-Big Sky honors.


Arkansas assistant coach Pauline Love is taking on the recruiting coordinator duties on the staff.

Arkansas Women’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Neighbors made another move with his staff today, announcing Pauline Love will take over as Recruiting Coordinator for the Razorbacks.

“After a two year long interview and a 10 second negotiation, it was obvious to me that the best candidate for our open position wasn’t in the stack of resumes, pages of emailed portfolios, or a phone full of text messages,” Neighbors said. “She was down the hall and already had keys to the facility. Trust, talent and time are three major pillars of our program, and coincidentally, they happen to be three of the best qualities of our new Recruiting Coordinator, Pauline Love. She is trusted implicitly by players and coaches. She is uniquely talented in relationship building and maintaining. She utilizes her time to help better the lives of everyone around her. Coach Love has been involved in every phase of helping us get out of the Wednesday play-in games to the SEC Finals in the last 28 months. Her succeeding in her new role will be vital in our program’s continued climb toward the top of the SEC.”

“The proudest moment of my life is when Mike Neighbors called and offered me the job here,” Love said. “I never thought I would get an opportunity to coach at home. I will forever be grateful to Coach Neighbors. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.”


Meredith Shipman has been named an assistant coach on the Western Michigan staff, shifting over from the DOBO position.

The Western Michigan women’s basketball team and Head Coach Shane Clipfell has announced the hiring of Meredith Shipman as a new assistant coach on Monday, August 5.

Shipman, a former Bronco women’s basketball player from 2013-17, will transition from being the 2019-20 Director of Basketball Operations to a member of the coaching staff. As the DOBO, Shipman assisted in day-to-day program operations, administrative duties, travel logistics, film breakdown, and volunteer service coordination. Prior to returning to WMU, Shipman served as an assistant coach at Davenport University for two seasons under head coach Rick Albro.


New Pepperdine head coach Kristen Dowling has hired Grace Ricafranca as an assistant coach. Ricafranca was the lead assistant at Biola the last five seasons.

Pepperdine women’s basketball head coach Kristen Dowling has added her second assistant coach in Grace Ricafranca, Dowling announced on Tuesday. She joins Anthony Mason on staff.

“We are so excited to bring Grace in to Pepperdine,” said Dowling. “She comes from a very good Biola program that she helped make the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, so she is really up to date on how things work in regards to compliance. She is a phenomenal fit with the Pepperdine mission, and is extremely relationship based. Grace will work with our guards, as well as running a lot of our 1-on-1 workouts in order to build skill and strength. I am really excited to see where Grace helps bring us.”


Allyson Fasnacht has been promoted to associate head coach on the Saint Mary’s staff.

After bringing success to Saint Mary’s women’s basketball for eight years, Allyson Fasnacht has been promoted to Associate Head Coach.

“Allyson is well-deserving of the title of Associate Head Women’s Basketball coach,” said head coach Paul Thomas. “She has served the College, Athletics Department, and most importantly the women’s basketball team with a deep sense of pride and loyalty. She is one of the most selfless humans I know and does everything she can to help our program be successful. It was an honor for me to give her this title.”


Niele Ivey is leaving her position as Notre Dame associate head coach to become an assistant coach in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Karen and Kevin Keyes Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw embodies women empowerment and breaking down gender barriers. Now former Associate Head Coach Niele Ivey will do just that, becoming the ninth active female assistant coach in the NBA. On Monday afternoon, Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins’ named Ivey to his coaching staff.

“There is no other place that has impacted me more as a player, coach and person than Notre Dame,” Coach Ivey stated. “I’ve gained friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. But the biggest impact that I’ve had is from the relationship I have with Coach McGraw. I’m so grateful for Coach McGraw. She has been so much more than just a coach, mentor and boss. She believed in me and gave me my first opportunity at Notre Dame and I am forever grateful. I stand tall, confident and ready because of the tools she has instilled in me.”


Shyla Coleman has been promoted from DOBO to assistant coach on the Western Carolina staff.

Shyla Coleman, who was brought on board to take on the task as Director of Basketball Operations, has been promoted to assistant coach.

“Shyla has been extremely impressive from day one when I met her,” Hill said. “Her contagious personality, organizational skills, and unwavering focus to help others are qualities that fit an immediate need in a coaching role within our program. As she continues to grow and learn her recruiting skill set, there is zero doubt we have a rising star in purple.”


Antoine White has been promoted to associate head coach on the Mount St. Mary’s staff.

White, entering his fourth season on the Mount’s women’s basketball staff, handles the Mount’s defensive scheme while also being in charge of opponent scouts during the season. He also excels in individual workout and player development.

“Having Antoine on the staff has been a huge asset to our program. He’s a guy that brings his hard hat to work every single day and is willing and ready to do whatever the program needs. His ability to teach the game and develop players is high level and has helped our program make huge strides over the last two years. This promotion is very well deserved and I couldn’t be more happy for him!”


UC Riverside head coach John Margaritis has been suspended for 20 days without pay “after an investigation revealed a violation of university policy.” When the suspension will begin isn’t known.

The investigation began earlier this year, after several UCR players brought concerns about their treatment by Margaritis to senior administrators at the university, including Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tamica Smith Jones. Similar investigations typically involve interviews, reviews of e-mails, texts and other documents.

“It’s important to note our student-athletes have a voice, and when they raise their voice and express their concerns, we take it very seriously,” said Wes Mallette, UCR’s senior associate athletics director for external relations. “When warranted, we elevate it to the appropriate channels to make sure we’re doing right by them.”


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