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Johnnie Harris named women's coach


WarEagle2423
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Kinda disappointed at first glance just based off some of the names that were brought up, tbh. But we’ll see how it works! Maybe she’ll be a star! 

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https://auburntigers.com/news/2021/4/3/johnnie-harris-named-auburn-womens-basketball-head-coach.aspx

Johnnie Harris named Auburn Women's Basketball Head Coach

 

AUBURN, Ala.—Johnnie Harris, a long-time Southeastern Conference assistant and 2018 WBCA National Assistant Coach of the Year, has been named the Auburn women's head basketball coach, Director of Athletics Allen Greene announced Saturday. Harris, who spent 16 years combined at Arkansas, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, spent the last season as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Texas.

Harris, who helped Texas to an Elite Eight appearance this season, worked alongside Longhorn head coach Vic Schaefer the past 10 years assisting Mississippi State to a pair of NCAA Championship game appearances. She was a central part of Mississippi State's success those eight seasons and is considered one of the nation's top recruiters.

"We are thrilled to welcome Johnnie Harris as the next head coach of the Auburn women's basketball program," Greene said. "Her experience helping build national championship caliber teams is incredible and her ability to recruit elite players is evident by the success of the programs she has worked with. Every coach and program strive to win championships and Johnnie has worked with that blueprint, particularly in the SEC. What impressed me most throughout this process was her strong relationships with the student-athletes she recruited and coached – she's a developer of talent on the court and in life. Everyone speaks to her incredible work ethic, drive and character, which is required to be successful at the highest level. We are delighted to welcome Johnnie to the Auburn family."

Harris helped lead Mississippi State to a 221-62 [.781] record and five NCAA Tournament berths, including NCAA Championship Game appearances in 2017 and 2018. During that time, the Bulldogs also won the program's first Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and SEC Tournament Championship.

Harris' reputation as a tireless recruiter grew as she played an integral role in inking some of the top signing classes in Mississippi State history, including the 2013 class that achieved 111 wins and the 2014 class that tallied a school-record 126 victories. In the fall of 2018, the Bulldogs signed the top-ranked class in program history with a No. 6 national ranking by espnW Hoop Gurlz.

"First, I want to thank God for blessing me with this amazing opportunity. I am excited and honored to join the Auburn Family and be part of a program with such a storied tradition," Harris said. "I want to thank Dr. Jay Gogue, Allen Greene, Monique Holland and the search committee for the opportunity to lead the Auburn women's basketball program and be part of a community that embraces its university and its athletic program with such enthusiasm. It is humbling and exciting to join an athletic program that is as welcoming, passionate and committed to success as Auburn, and I can't wait to start building this program to be among the best in the Southeastern Conference."

Harris' pupils in the post were some of the best in Mississippi State school history, led by Teaira McCowan, who Harris mentored during McCowan's record-setting junior and senior campaigns from 2017-19. The 2019 SEC Player of the Year and a consensus First-Team All-American, McCowan finished her career as Mississippi State's leader in rebounds and field-goal percentage, while ranking second in blocks and fourth in points and field-goals made.

The individual development McCowan showed during Mississippi State's run to a second consecutive national title game caught the attention of the coaching community, as Harris was tabbed the WBCA National Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season.

In 2018-19, Harris helped transfer forward Anriel Howard combine with McCowan to create one of the best front courts in the country. In her lone season with the Bulldogs, Howard earned first-team All-SEC recognition by the AP and league coaches after averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Both McCowan [No. 3, Indiana Fever] and Howard [No. 24, Seattle Storm] were selected in the 2019 WNBA Draft.
 
Another Harris product, Chinwe Okorie, was an integral part of the Bulldogs' runs to the Final Four and 2016 Sweet 16 and finished her MSU career sixth in program annals in field-goal percentage, shooting 52.1 percent over 109 games. She raised her scoring average and field goal percentage each season of her three-year career, capped by her 7.5 ppg average on 56.4 percent shooting as a senior.
 
Harris' pupil, Martha Alwal, helped the Bulldogs make history in 2014-15 with their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010. Under Harris' guidance, Alwal developed into one of the nation's top centers, earning First Team All-SEC and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior. She also claimed a pair of second-team honors, three-straight SEC All-Defensive Team accolades and won the Gillom Trophy. Three seasons Alwal become the second player in SEC history to lead the league in blocks four-straight years and just the third to claim 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks for her career.

Harris helped guide Texas A&M to four Sweet 16 appearances in her five seasons, including the program's first national championship in 2010-11. During her tenure with the Aggies, Harris helped sign and mentor junior college All-Americans Danielle Adams and Tanisha Smith.

Adams earned MVP of the 2011 Final Four before being selected with the 20th pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Adams was tabbed to the league's all-star game in her inaugural season. Smith earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and conference all-tournament honors in 2009. The Seattle Storm selected Smith with the 22nd pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft.
 
Harris' recruiting ability was crucial in building the Aggies into an annual championship contender and their signing classes annually rated in the top 20 nationally.
 
Harris assisted the Aggies to land the nation's No. 2 class in her final season in College Station. That class included a pair of McDonald's All-Americans in Jordan Jones and Courtney Williams. Texas A&M's 2010 class, which included McDonald's All-American and the nation's top post player, Karla Gilbert, rated third nationally. The two years prior she helped notch the nation's fifth- and sixth-rated classes. Harris played a key role in signing the major players in Texas A&M's national championship team that claimed a school-best 33 victories.
 
Prior to her stop in College Station, Harris spent three seasons at Arkansas, landing some of the Lady Razorbacks' top recruiting classes in program history. She signed Laura Ervin, a junior college All-American who went on to garner Second Team All-SEC accolades, as well as Freshman All-SEC selection Donica Cosby.
 
In 2007, she inked Gatorade state players of the year Whitney Zachariason [Arkansas] and Morgan Boyd [Kansas] as Arkansas finished with one of the nation's top-40 classes. Harris also recruited one of the top point guards in the nation in Shanita Arnold.
 
Harris has had the opportunity to learn from some of the game's top coaches, including Hall of Famer Kay Yow at N.C. State. She joined the program in the 2003-04 season and assisted the squad to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two years. Harris and her fellow coaches helped the Wolfpack sign JUCO Player of the Year Tiffany Stansbury, who went on to play with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx.
 
Her first recruiting class in Raleigh was rated as one of the best in the nation. She also garnered a commitment from Gillian Goring, the nation's No. 1 post player who went on to play for the Washington Mystics.
 
Prior to jumping to the Division I level, Harris made her mark on the junior college level as an assistant coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she brought in key players who led the school to the NJCAA Final Four in 2004. In two seasons coaching under the legendary Louis Whorton, she inked the nation's No. 1 class and a 34-8 record. UAFS's 2002-03 team went 26-2 and won a share of the Bi-State Conference championship.
 
The Arkansas-Fort Smith position kept the Pine Bluff native in her home state after she started her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Little Rock. Her hard work at UALR earned her a promotion to a full-time assistant position in 2000.
 
Harris, a 2014 inductee in the Watson's Chapel High School Hall of Fame, also coached AAU basketball with the Arkansas Kamikaze. She began her playing career at Arkansas-Pine Bluff before transferring to Arkansas Baptist for her final two seasons.
 
Harris is the mother of two children, Marcus and Kiera, and the legal guardian of Lily. She also has two grandchildren, Samarah and Kaiden.


JOHNNIE HARRIS FILE

BIO INFO

Hometown: Pine Bluff, Ark
Alma Mater: Arkansas Baptist [1996]
Children: Son, Marcus and Daughter, Kiera
Grandchildren: Samarah and Kaiden

EDUCATION
1987-89: Arkansas Baptist College
1984-86: Arkansas-Pine Bluff

CAREER PROGRESSION
2021-present: Head Coach, Auburn
2020-21: Associate Head Coach, Texas
2012-20: Associate Head Coach, Mississippi State
2007-12: Assistant Coach, Texas A&M
2004-07: Assistant Coach, Arkansas
2003-04: Assistant Coach, N.C. State
2001-03: Assistant Coach, Arkansas-Fort Smith
2000-01: Assistant Coach, Arkansas-Little Rock
1998-00: Assistant Coach, Arkansas-Little Rock

RECOGNITION AND MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
• 2018 WBCA National Assistant Coach of the Year
• 2014 inductee in the Watson's Chapel High School Hall of Fame
• Integral part of Mississippi State's (2012-20) and Texas A&M's (2007-12) success and is considered one of the nation's top recruiters with numerous recruiting classes ranked in the top 10 nationally
• Helped Head Coach Vic Schaefer lead Mississippi State to a 221-62 [.781] record, an SEC title, and five NCAA Tournament berths, including two NCAA Championship Game appearances
• Helped Head Coach Gary Blair lead Texas A&M to four Sweet 16 appearances in her five seasons with the Aggies, including the program's first NCAA National Championship in 2010-11
• Has worked for three nationally respected head women's basketball coaches in Kay Yow (2003-04), Gary Blair (2004-12), and Vic Schaefer (2012-Present)
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Before we become doubters - she has a great bio and we know about Gary Blair and Vic Shaefer....pretty good mentors.  I'm excited to see how it goes.  Who might decide to enter the portal and who she might bring in for this year as well as her assistant  coaches......

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Wow. We languish through way too many years of tedious mediocrity and then decide to improve things by hiring a new coach with ZERO head coaching experience. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but I'm extremely unimpressed and see more of the same coming for women's basketball. And to be clear, Vic Schaefer turned MSU into a nationally competitive program, not Johnnie Harris. If she was such a key catalyst in the MSU ascension, why was she not hired as his replacement? The MSU AD probably knew her as well as anyone and she had the blessing of Schaefer for the job, yet they hired someone else. I suspect she is a fantastic assistant who nobody thinks is ready to be a head coach...except Allen Green.

The true beauty of most sports, however, is that there is an objective measure of success that's visible for everyone (excluding gymnastics, ice skating and the like) to see. I hope Ms. Harris returns AU Women's Basketball to national relevance, wins the SEC and thumbs her nose at people like me. However, I'll believe it when I see it.

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25 minutes ago, AUSage said:

Wow. We languish through way too many years of tedious mediocrity and then decide to improve things by hiring a new coach with ZERO head coaching experience. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but I'm extremely unimpressed and see more of the same coming for women's basketball. And to be clear, Vic Schaefer turned MSU into a nationally competitive program, not Johnnie Harris. If she was such a key catalyst in the MSU ascension, why was she not hired as his replacement? The MSU AD probably knew her as well as anyone and she had the blessing of Schaefer for the job, yet they hired someone else. I suspect she is a fantastic assistant who nobody thinks is ready to be a head coach...except Allen Green.

The true beauty of most sports, however, is that there is an objective measure of success that's visible for everyone (excluding gymnastics, ice skating and the like) to see. I hope Ms. Harris returns AU Women's Basketball to national relevance, wins the SEC and thumbs her nose at people like me. However, I'll believe it when I see it.

She was the heir apparent at MSU but the AD had the misguided illusion that he could hire Jeff Walz from Louisville and offered him a big salary to come to MSU. Coach Harris then pulled her name and announced she would be following Vic to Texas. I don’t blame her a bit. Of course, Jeff Walz used MSU to get a substantial raise at Louisville. MSU was left with neither coach and then hired whoever is there now. Sorry, I don’t know her name. You only have to look at the players Coach Harris recruited to MSU and Texas A&M to know that she certainly does know how to recruit in the SEC. I urge you to read her complete bio on the Auburn Athletics website. As far as I am concerned, our recruitment is about to take a major jump up. 

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I don’t follow women’s basketball much.  Does anyone know if this is a home run hire?

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I think this is a great hire. She is one of the best recruiters in the country with strong ties to fertile SEC recruiting territory in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, etc. Players she has coached all get better from year to year. Time will tell but I think this is a homerun hire. 

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Just now, abw0004 said:

I don’t follow women’s basketball much.  Does anyone know if this is a home run hire?

It is a good hire.  Home run or not ... time will tell.  Anytime someone hasn't been a head coach, it is hard to describe the hire as a home run hire.  That said, she was likely the most sought after AC in the country, which makes the hire a very good hire.

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33 minutes ago, AU9377 said:

Why do we lock other threads where people are discussing things when we open a new one?

@AU9377 We hired our coach. There's no more need for an open candidates thread. So it was locked.

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6 minutes ago, AU9377 said:

she was likely the most sought after AC in the country, which makes the hire a very good hire.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

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My understanding is that Tina Langley, RIce HC, was offered the position and declined yesterday.  She may simply be happy at Rice, or she could be in line for the Oklahoma job.  Oklahoma is in a much better position for quick success due to their roster.  In either event, the information about there being a 1a and 1b was clearly spot on.

They also spoke to Sam Purcell, Louisville AC.  He will be a dynamic coach for someone in the very near future, likely in the SEC or ACC.

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10 minutes ago, AU9377 said:

My understanding is that Tina Langley, RIce HC, was offered the position and declined yesterday.  She may simply be happy at Rice, or she could be in line for the Oklahoma job.  Oklahoma is in a much better position for quick success due to their roster.  In either event, the information about there being a 1a and 1b was clearly spot on.

They also spoke to Sam Purcell, Louisville AC.  He will be a dynamic coach for someone in the very near future, likely in the SEC or ACC.

She also has this 6’9 player that’s the best blocker in the sport at Rice...just a fun tidbit I found out about the other day 

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2 minutes ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

She also has this 6’9 player that’s the best blocker in the sport at Rice...just a fun tidbit I found out about the other day 

Yeah that's never a bad thing to have on a basketball court.  LOL

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This feels like a hire that could go really poorly (first head coaching role) or really well (many years experience at successful programs).  Given where Auburn's program is at currently, this is the right type of hire. 

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2 minutes ago, Aubie the Tiger said:

This feels like a hire that could go really poorly (first head coaching role) or really well (many years experience at successful programs).  Given where Auburn's program is at currently, this is the right type of hire. 

What has destroyed the program is the unwillingness to make tough decisions by those inside the athletic department.  TWF should have been replaced years ago. Witnessing the past 5 years has been infuriating.

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2 hours ago, 1716 said:

She was the heir apparent at MSU but the AD had the misguided illusion that he could hire Jeff Walz from Louisville and offered him a big salary to come to MSU. Coach Harris then pulled her name and announced she would be following Vic to Texas. I don’t blame her a bit. Of course, Jeff Walz used MSU to get a substantial raise at Louisville. MSU was left with neither coach and then hired whoever is there now. Sorry, I don’t know her name. You only have to look at the players Coach Harris recruited to MSU and Texas A&M to know that she certainly does know how to recruit in the SEC. I urge you to read her complete bio on the Auburn Athletics website. As far as I am concerned, our recruitment is about to take a major jump up. 

I don't blame her either...sounds like the MSU AD didn't handle things very well. I did read her complete bio and she appears to be an ace recruiter. If so, that will certainly be an improvement over the last eight years. My concern with her is the ability to run an entire program and handle in-game tactical coaching. When I watch coaches like Pearl, Staley, VanDerveer, Auriemma, etc., they have incredible instincts for which players should be on the floor and how tactics should change based on what's working. Our previous coach simply stood on the sidelines with a thousand yard stare wondering why her plan wasn't working. It's a skill that has to be learned as a head coach and she will be moving up the learning curve on Auburn's dime. I'll be rooting for her success, but I would have preferred we hired an experienced head coach.

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5 minutes ago, AUSage said:

I don't blame her either...sounds like the MSU AD didn't handle things very well. I did read her complete bio and she appears to be an ace recruiter. If so, that will certainly be an improvement over the last eight years. My concern with her is the ability to run an entire program and handle in-game tactical coaching. When I watch coaches like Pearl, Staley, VanDerveer, Auriemma, etc., they have incredible instincts for which players should be on the floor and how tactics should change based on what's working. Our previous coach simply stood on the sidelines with a thousand yard stare wondering why her plan wasn't working. It's a skill that has to be learned as a head coach and she will be moving up the learning curve on Auburn's dime. I'll be rooting for her success, but I would have preferred we hired an experienced head coach.

There aren't many experienced head coaches with great records that are willing to take on the rebuild that is Auburn Women's Basketball.  From what I have been told, we offered he job to Tina Langley, Rice HC.  She is the most spoken of HC that P5 programs contact.  She was on the Tennessee short list, MSU short list and several others.  She turned us down.  That could be due to her simply being happy at Rice or it could be that she didn't feel that she wanted to take on the monumental task of rebuilding our program.  To tier coaches aren't interested in moving and leaving a good situation for a bad one.  They all already make over a million a year. Oklahoma is the best job available now and they are looking at the same candidates that we looked at.  Their roster is in much better shape than ours and money is no issue, being that they were paying their former coach $1.4 million a year.

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Would not have been my first choice but an excellent hire nonetheless IMO.  Another fine job by Greene and company. Nothing is guaranteed even with a rock star hire, I’m good with it. 

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