April 17, 2008
CLEMSON, SC – Shanice Stephens, an assistant with the Clemson women’s basketball team for the past three years, has been named the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of North Texas. Stephens served as the recruiting coordinator under Head Coach Cristy McKinney during her tenure with the Lady Tigers and was promoted to Associate Head Coach for the 2007-08 season.
Stephens helped recruit a top-25 class according to The All-Star Girls Report in 2006 while Clemson’s 2007 signing class was also ranked in the top 40. Lele Hardy, the first recruit to sign under McKinney, had one of the most prolific freshman campaigns in program history. Hardy was named to the 2007 ACC All-Freshman team and set numerous school freshman records in 2006-07.
“I had the pleasure of working with Shanice Stephens for 12 years,” McKinney said. “She is a hard working coach with a real passion for the game of basketball and coaching. We will miss her on our staff, but I have no doubt that she will do a great job with the North Texas women’s basketball program.”
Stephens, who has a reputation for developing great defenders, guided Hardy to an ACC-best 3.27 steals per game her freshman season. Hardy collected 98 for the season to rank second all-time in program history.
During her time at Rice from 1996-2005, Stephens was part of program that reached heights never before seen by the women’s basketball team. Rice won 20 games or more in six of the nine seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament twice (2000, 2005) along with trips to the WNIT in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004.
Stephens’ coaching achievements have not gone unnoticed by others in the field. In December of 2006, the NCAA selected her for the Judith Sweet Spirit Award. Stephens was then chosen to participate in the Achieving Coaching Excellence Program, sponsored by the Black Coaches and Administrators Association.
Stephens earned her undergraduate degree in 1993 from Oklahoma State where she earned two letters, was a member of two NCAA Tournament teams and was named to the All Big Eight Academic Team. The Cowgirls advanced to the Sweet 16 of the national tournament during her senior season. Stephens started at point guard for Austin Peay during the 1989-90 season, her first year of eligibility. She earned a masters degree in 1996 from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Stephens, 36, became the youngest head coach in the Sun Belt Conference and the second-youngest Division I head coach in the state of Texas.
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