There were other candidates with local ties and head-coaching experience, but Raegan Scott-Pebley, the former Mountain View High School All-American and WNBA player for the Utah Starzz and Cleveland Rockers, emerged as the winner at Utah State.
She has been chosen to coach the Aggies' resurrected women's basketball program, which will begin play in the 2003-04 season and was to be introduced at press conferences at noon in Logan and at 4 p.m. in Salt Lake City Wednesday.
"Raegan has a tireless enthusiasm for the game," said USU athletic director Rance Pugmire Wednesday morning. "If she recruits students the way she went after this job, she'll have a lot of success."
Pugmire said Scott-Pebley impressed with her many contacts in Utah and made him think, "She is someone who can sell this community. She'll be a great fit. The department immediately warmed up to her" when she made her visit to the school last week. "Her relationships in the state and the western region are incredible and helped separate her from the group," said Pugmire.
"I love this state," said Scott-Pebley. "Ever since I moved here when I was in high school everyone welcomed me with open arms, and I've had great success on the court and off the court here." She said she and her husband, Keith Pebley, the offensive coordinator for the University of the Redlands football team in Redlands, Calif., both have much of their families in Utah. He will finish the coming season at Redlands and then join her in Logan. "This is the perfect place for us to be," the former Orem resident said.
Scott-Pebley, who has four years' experience as assistant coach at George Mason and Colorado State and who has been teaching at a junior high in Redlands, said she will rebuild the Aggie program "with a lot of hard work and a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
"Being from this state and recruiting this state as a coach, there is a lot of good talent here. Luckily for me, they don't like to go away from home. They like to stay in this state, and I don't blame them at all, so we're going to spend a lot of time focusing on the talent here in the state and also within the conference region, Southern California as well."
Scott-Pebley was one of three final candidates, the only one of the three without head-coaching experience. "Everyone's got to have a first," she said.
One of the three, former Utah player and assistant coach Monica Starrett, was still being interviewed in Logan on Tuesday. Starrett is head coach at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, where she has taken the Huskies to two NCAA Division II Sweet 16 finishes in her first five years. The other finalist for the Aggie job was former Lamar (Texas) head coach DeAnn Craft.
Pugmire said there were more than 100 applicants for the Aggie position, and that field was narrowed to between eight and 10 before the final three were brought to Logan for interviews in the past week or so.
Scott-Pebley spent four years as an assistant coach at George Mason and Colorado State and played four years at the University of Colorado. She was a third-round pick by the Utah Starzz in the WNBA's inaugural draft in 1997. She was later waived by the Starzz and picked up by Cleveland, where she played in the 1998 season.
As a player at Colorado, Scott-Pebley helped the Buffaloes to four straight NCAA tournament appearances and appeared in the Sweet 16 three times.
USU made public on March 5 that it was bringing back a women's basketball program that last played in 1987. It was one of three Division I schools without a women's program last year. The Aggies will play in the Big West Conference.