Itoro Coleman takes over at Clemson

CLEMSON – The search for the fifth women's basketball coach at Clemson was short, sweet and to the point.

On Monday, athletic director Terry Don Phillips and associate athletic director/senior women's administrator Barbara Kennedy-Dixon introduced Itoro Umoh Coleman as the new head coach of the Lady Tigers.

Kennedy-Dixon used her "recipe for success" when looking to hire the next women's basketball coach at Clemson.

The ingredients in that three-part recipe are passion, something to prove and "impeccable" people skills.

"A passion to develop young people, a passion to push young people to be the best that they can be," she said. "Along with that push comes that unconditional love. You've got to be able to see eye-to-eye to reach young people, to motivate them to be the best in all arenas."

With one candidate in mind, she didn't have to look far.

The passion was noticed by Kennedy-Dixon when she first met Coleman, who was on her official visit as one of Jim Davis' recruits.

While at Clemson, Coleman was an All-ACC point guard from 1995-99, helping the Lady Tigers to two ACC Championships, the only two in school history.

"I am very passionate about reestablishing a winning tradition for the women's basketball program," she said. "This is something that I take very personally because I am a product of this university. I want every Lady Tiger to have the same experience that I did. That's my goal."

After Coleman's first job was a student assistant position at Liberty in 1999-00. She then moved on to Butler, where she held an assistants' position from 2000-2002. Coleman later worked for five seasons as an assistant at Clemson under Jim Davis and Cristy McKinney.

For the last three years, Coleman served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Penn State.

"I'm committed to being the best. I'm going to work extremely hard to pull out the best in each and every one of my players," she said.

Kennedy-Dixon saw Coleman as a candidate who was more than capable of bringing quality players needed to compete at a national level.

"I look for a forerunner that can really sell what we have here, which are great resources that are available to all of our coaches," Kennedy-Dixon said.

Coleman believes the ship can be right as soon as the 2010-11 season, as long as the current players work hard and buy into her program. After a few seasons, then she believes Clemson will be back to the power that it once was in ACC women's basketball.

Her system is very similar to what's seen from men's head coach Oliver Purnell: full-court press with an exciting, up-tempo pace.

"I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get this program back to where it belongs and that's getting recognition as a national powerhouse," she said.

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