Teresa Weatherspoon

RUSTON – Former Louisiana Tech All-American Teresa Weatherspoon was the featured speaker Friday night at the annual Lady Techster Basketball Appreciation Banquet held in the student center on the university campus.

She made a big splash.

Weatherspoon announced during an emotional speech that she would be returning to Louisiana Tech to serve as the associate head coach on Chris Long's staff.

"I'm absolutely delighted that Teresa has decided to return to Louisiana Tech," said Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau. "This is a great victory for us. I look forward to the future of Lady Techster basketball with Spoon as a part of it."

"T-Spoon" will be replacing Joni Crenshaw, who left in March to take the same position at the University of Alabama, her alma mater.

"This is a huge day for the Lady Techster program," Long said. "I'm so happy that Teresa is coming back home to be a part of the Techster program. We have had the opportunity to visit with each other at length over the last few days and she has a fire, passion, and charisma that is unmatched."

During her Louisiana Tech career which spanned from 1984 through 1988, Weatherspoon was a two-time Kodak All-American (1987, 1988) and won the prestigious Wade Trophy as the top player in the country during her senior season.

"As a player, Teresa had a tremendous impact on the national prominence of the Lady Techsters program," said Tech Athletic Director Derek Dooley. "With her energy and passion for Tech, there is no reason to think that she cannot have the same effect as a coach."

The fiery point guard was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association State Player of the Year in 1988 as well as the Broderick Cup Winner.

"I was overly excited (about the opportunity to coach here)," Weatherspoon said. "I've been truly overwhelmed as I've gotten the opportunity to speak with numerous people (the last few weeks) and see where the program is headed.

"Knowing I played here under the best – and I capitalize every letter on Coach Barmore's name – it's truly overwhelming to return. Coach Barmore was always concerned with us as players and as people. It's only right for me to give back to a place and a program that gave so much to me."

She led the Lady Techsters to a mark of 118-14 during her career and two national championship game appearances in 1987 and 1988, earning spots on the All-Final Four teams both years. She was instrumental in leading Tech to a remarkable second half comeback against Auburn to claim the 1988 National Championship Title.

"I've spent a lot of time speaking with Chris over the last few days," Weatherspoon said. "He really wants to bring this program back to the level of play that it's always known; the level that is demanded of a Lady Techster. That means a lot to me.

"There is no reason why – and Coach Long has said this numerous times – this program can't get back to where it used to be. He felt like the addition of me would help, and I would fit in very well. That means a lot to me."

Weatherspoon was named to the NCAA Women's Basketball Team of the Decade for the 1980's.

The ultimate team leader, Weatherspoon's hiring will be beneficial to the current players in numerous aspects. "This is an incredible hire," said Tech Senior Associate Athletic Director Mary Kay Hungate, who coached Weatherspoon for three years while serving as an assistant coach for Leon Barmore and the Lady Techsters. "Teresa will coach as she played; with a passion and intensity that is contagious.

"There is no better person in America to help Coach Long and the Lady Techsters regain their position among the nation's elite. Teresa understands the history and tradition of this program; she helped create it. This is an extraordinary day for Lady Techster basketball."

Weatherspoon – whose No. 11 jersey is retired – still ranks No. 1 in Tech history in career assists (958) and steals (411).

The Pineland, Texas native led Team USA to the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal before embarking on a professional basketball career overseas. She returned to the States in 1997 as a member of the New York Liberty of the newly-created WNBA and spent seven seasons there before playing one year for the Los Angeles Sparks.

"Teresa will be a tremendous recruiter and a great teacher of the game and life," Long said. "To have one of the best guards to ever play the game on staff is very exciting. She was a Kodak All-American, Olympic Gold Medalist, and the face of the WNBA for many years."

During her WNBA career, she was a four-time WNBA All-Star, a four-time all-WNBA second teamer and a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998).

Although this will be Weatherspoon's first collegiate coaching experience, she has just completed her first season as the head coach of the America Basketball Association's Westchester Phantoms.

"I wouldn't say I've always thought about coaching college, I've just thought about coaching basketball – whether that meant men or women, high school, college or professional," Weatherspoon said. "Where ever the opportunity came, I would take it. It just happens that it came at my university, and there is no better place to coach then where I got my start. It's almost like going full circle."

Weatherspoon's hiring is pending the approval of the State of Louisiana, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and the Tech Athletics Council.

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