Mike Neighbors hired as Arkansas' women's basketball coach

Arkansas has a new women's basketball coach.

Mike Neighbors is coming home.

The Arkansas native and UA graduate is the Razorbacks' new women’s basketball head coach, it was announced Monday.

“This is the dream job,” Neighbors said in a letter to Arkansas fans on the UA’s official website. “It’s always been my dream job and everyone has known it.”

Neighbors is the ninth coach in Arkansas history and he replaces Jimmy Dykes, who was fired last month after three seasons at the helm.

He comes to Arkansas after four seasons at Washington, where he compiled a 98-41 record and led the Huskies to the 2016 Final Four.

During his first season in Seattle, Neighbors reached the quarterfinals of the WNIT. Three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament followed, with Washington’s win total increasing by three each season.

Neighbors’ first recruiting class with the Huskies included Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor. They went on to become the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer (3,527 points) and UW’s all-time leading rebounder (1,253 rebounds), respectively.

Their careers ended in the Sweet 16 at the hands of Mississippi State. The Huskies finished with a 29-6 overall record and were ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP poll this year.

It will be Neighbors’ third stint with the Razorbacks, but first as a head coach. He was the director of basketball operations under head coach Gary Blair from 1999 to 2001 and an assistant under head coach Susie Gardner during the 2006-2007 season.

Between those stints, Neighbors was an assistant coach at Tulsa (2001-2005) and Colorado (2005-2006).

Prior to becoming the head coach at Washington, Neighbors was an assistant on Kevin McGuff’s staff for two years with the Huskies and four years at Xavier. He helped the Musketeers win the Atlantic-10 Tournament three times and advance to the 2010 Elite Eight.

A native of Greenwood, Ark., Neighbors got his associate’s degree at WestArk Community College (now Arkansas-Fort Smith) and then graduated from Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in 1993.

Before breaking into the college ranks, he was a high school coach at Bentonville and Cabot.

In Neighbors’ first season at Bentonville, the Tigers went 1-24. Over the next three seasons, the Tigers went 56-32 and reached the 1997 state championship game. In his lone season at Cabot, the Panthers went 19-9 and finished second in their conference.

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