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Apr 12, 2024

Ayers Named Associate Head Coach

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson women’s basketball head coach Shawn Poppie announced that Chris Ayers will be joining the Tigers’ coaching staff as an associate head coach on Friday.

“Chris is someone I eyed very early in the process as I believe he is a perfect fit for Clemson and my staff,” Poppie said regarding the addition. “Chris brings a wealth of experience in recruiting and developing student-athletes at the highest level. His resume speaks for itself as he most recently played a big role in helping guide Ole Miss to three straight NCAA tournaments, including a sweet 16 appearance. With that said, his work ethic, core values, and desire to uplift student-athletes match everything we stand for inside our program. I’m looking forward to adding Chris and his family to our Clemson family.”

With the announcement of Ayers’ hiring, Poppie still has one full-time assistant position to be filled.

Ayers joins Clemson following a six-year run at Ole Miss where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. During Ayers’ tenure in Oxford, the Rebels went from the bottom of the Southeastern Conference to being a perennial top 25 team.

As a coach and the recruiting coordinator for Ole Miss, Ayers developed the reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country. He led the Rebels to the top-ranked recruiting class in the SEC in 2019-20 and was crucial in the recruitment and signing of Ole Miss’ first-ever McDonald’s All-America and eventual SEC Freshman of the Year, Madison Scott. He also was pivotal in the Rebels’ signing of their second-ever five-star prospect, Jacorriah Bracey, as well as ESPN’s top-ranked transfer, Shakira Austin, who went on to be named to the First Team All-SEC two times and went on to be the third pick in the 2022 WNBA draft.

In the 2023-24 season, Ayers oversaw the Rebels’ defense last season, and as a result Ole Miss held opponents under 60 points per game on just 38% shooting, and the Rebels ranked fifth in the nation for most blocked shots.

As far as development, Ayers’ track record speaks for itself. He helped oversee the coaching and development of Ole Miss’ backcourt which involved Angel Baker and Myah Taylor, both of whom were vital in the Rebels getting to the 2022-23 sweet sixteen – Ole Miss’ first sweet sixteen since 2007. Baker averaged 14.8 points per game, was named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, and was named First Team All-SEC. Taylor’s 3.6 assists per game finished the season as fourth most in the conference. Both players are currently playing professionally. The Tallahassee native also oversaw the development of Scott and Marquesha Davis, both of whom eventually went on t be named First Team All-SEC players, and Davis became a WNBA draft prospect.

Ayers’ coaching was very prevalent in the 2020-21 season when Mimi Reid and Valerie Nesbitt developed into one of the best distributing backcourts in the conference. Reid finished second in the SEC with 4.6 assists per game, Nesbitt averaged 3.0, and the Rebels recorded their first winning season since the 2016-17 campaign.

In his first season in Oxford, Ayers helped develop eventual All-SEC guard Crystal Allen who became one of the best scorers in Rebel history. She led the team and finished third in the SEC with 18.4 points per game in the 2018-19 season.

Prior to his time in the SEC, Ayers spent time in Atlanta as a graduate manager at. Georgia Tech during the 2017-18 season. With the Yellow Jackets Ayers assisted with scouting and player development, and Georgia Tech advanced to the third round of the WNIT, finishing the season with a 20-14 record.

Before joining the college ranks, Ayers was working in the high school and AAU ranks. It was here that Ayers quickly developed into one of the best relationship builders in the industry, He worked as an assistant coach for the Nike Essence AAU team and assistant coach for the boys varsity team at Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida from 2008-17. In 2012, Ayers assisted Essence to the Silver Division national championship in the Nike Silver division, and his AAU team went back-to-back with national championships in 2007 and 2008.

Ayers, a 2008 graduate of Florida A&M, moves to the upstate with his wife, Jasmine, and his children Khierstin, Chris Jr., and Alaiya.

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