McDowell named fifth women's basketball coach
May 6, 2008
KALAMAZOO--Tasha McDowell has been named the fifth head coach of the Western Michigan University women's basketball team.
McDowell brings to WMU 11 years of coaching experience, the last four as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin, where she was the development coach, defensive coordinator and co-coordinator of recruiting. She helped develop one Kodak/WBCA All-American and four players who went on to play professionally overseas.
The WMU community anxiously welcomes a coach of McDowell's caliber into the family. WMU athletics director Kathy Beauregard says in addition to the skill she brings to the game, McDowell has a particular passion for coaching young women and an ability to cultivate their growth on and off the court.
"Tasha really cares about why she is a coach," Beauregard says. "She is a person that speaks from the heart and I believe she has the tools to bring success to our women's basketball program on the court, in the community and in the classroom."
During the 2006-07 season, McDowell helped the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team set a program record with 23 wins and its first post-season appearance since 2002. The team posted a 4-1 record and was the runner-up champion of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
McDowell is poised to bring even greater success to WMU women's basketball in the upcoming season and throughout the coming years.
"My goals will continue to be the same every year--to grow every season and to contend for and win conference championships," McDowell says. "Off the court, I want to help my players grow as young women and see to it that they get a great education and go on to graduate from WMU.
"I have joined a family with an administration that is committed to the overall success of the student-athlete both on and off the court," she goes on to say of WMU. "The University and community are absolutely phenomenal. There's no place that I'd rather be."
Prior to her appointment at Wisconsin, McDowell spent five years as an assistant coach at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was defensive coach and recruiting coordinator. She also served as the team's community outreach coordinator and was in charge of guard development, working directly with two players who went on to play in the WNBA and a third who played overseas. McDowell also coached at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and the University of Dayton. She began her career as an assistant coach at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, in 1997.
A native of Moline, Ill., McDowell earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics from St. Ambrose in 1997. She played three years of collegiate basketball, the first two of which were spent at Illinois Central College. After graduating from ICC, McDowell attended Southwest Missouri before transferring to St. Ambrose. In her lone season with that school, the team posted a 27-7 record and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament. McDowell averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 steals as a senior point guard--all team highs.
McDowell's appointment, which was effective April 1, was approved by the WMU Board of Trustees at its May 2 meeting. She replaces WMU women's basketball head coach Ron Stewart, whose contract ended in April. In the 11 years under Stewart's coaching, the WMU women's basketball team boasted 101 Mid-American Conference regular season wins (159 overall) and one MAC Tournament championship. The team turned out 11 All-MAC players, two MAC Players of the Year and four Kodak All-American players.
Media contact: Kristin Keirns, (269) 387-4123, email@example.com