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Sports UTA hires basketball standout to coach women's team

UTA hires basketball standout to coach women’s team

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Former WNBA player and Vanderbilt Associate Head Coach Shereka Wright was named UTA’s 10th head women’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Jim Baker has announced.

Wright – a Texas High School Hall of Fame member and former longtime assistant coach at Texas Tech – brings  an impressive resume to the Lady Mavericks after spending two seasons (2018-20) with Vanderbilt, five years at Alabama (2013-18) and seven seasons in Lubbock (2006-13).

She is a native of Copperas Cove just west of Fort Hood, and was the 2000 National Player of the Year her senior season at Copperas Cove High School after averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game.|

Wright was initially introduced to the Lady Mavs on a virtual call Friday afternoon. She will be formally introduced at a press conference inside the College Park Center Sept. 10.

Shereka Wright –

“Today is a terrific day for our women’s basketball program, the entire university and the Arlington community because we have hired a winner who is poised to take us to the next level,” UTA Director of Athletics Jim Baker said. “Our national search yielded a number of qualified candidates, but Shereka emerged as the best fit for us, and I am elated to officially welcome her and her family to UTA. Shereka’s deep Texas roots will make a profound impact on our program, and her resume and success speaks for itself. We’re excited for the future of the Lady Mavs.”

UTA said in the news release that Wright is known nationally as a strong recruiter.

“I am so excited and blessed to be named the head coach at the University of Texas at Arlington!” Wright said in the news release.

“It’s a dream come true to return to my home state. Thanks to Dr. (Teik) Lim (interim university president), Jim Baker and the entire selection committee for entrusting me with this tremendous responsibility,” Wright said.

Prior to Vandy, Wright was a critical part of Alabama’s resurgence and helped the Crimson Tide to consecutive 20-win seasons, which included the quarterfinals of the 2018 WNIT.
Wright also was instrumental in constructing a signing class that ranked in the top 25 nationally, featuring both the Alabama and Mississippi high school players of the year.

Wright began her coaching career at Texas Tech and was responsible for the perimeter players, recruiting, scouting, academics and equipment. She helped the Lady Raiders advance to the postseason five times, and posted 20+ win seasons each of the last three years – including advancing to the NCAA Tournament twice.

“I am very excited to have Coach Wright leading the Lady Mavericks,” said UTA Interim President Teik C. Lim. “This basketball team has built a strong foundation for future success both on and off the court especially in competition and academics, and I am confident that they’ll achieve great outcomes.”

Wright was selected as the 13th overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock after a stellar career at Purdue. She was traded to the Phoenix Mercury on draft night, and spent two seasons with them until an injury brought her professional playing career to an end in 2006.

Wright remains to this day the only three-time All-American in Purdue women’s basketball history. She was just the third Boilermaker in program history to be named All-Big Ten First Team on three occasions, and was a finalist for National Player of the Year as both a junior and senior. As a freshman in 2001, Wright was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team.

Wright amassed 2,251 points (2nd in Purdue history) and 793 rebounds (7th) over the course of her career, to go with 177 blocked shots (10th), 291 assists (17th) and 129 steals. Her 350 offensive rebounds are the most in school history. Wright made and attempted more free throws than any player in Big Ten history, going 776 for 1,071 from the line.

Throughout her four-year career, Purdue appeared in four NCAA tournaments, advancing to the National Championship Final in 2001, the Elite Eight in 2003 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2004. Purdue won two Big Ten regular-season titles (2001, 2002) and a pair of Big Ten Tournament crowns (2003, 2004) with Wright being named Most Outstanding Player both times.
Wright, who graduated from Purdue in 2004 with a degree in health and fitness, was inducted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this year.

As a high school player, Wright set Copperas Cove records with 3,269 points, 1,148 rebounds and 220 blocks. At the time of her graduation, she was just the 36th player in the country and only the 4th Texan to record 3,000 points in a high school career.

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