Adell Harris fills void of women’s basketball coach

McLeod Brown | Staff Writer

The vacancy left by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke as the UNCW women’s head basketball coach did not take long to fill, as the university announced this past Thursday that Adell Harris has been appointed as the 10th head coach in program history.

Harris hails from Division II Tusculum College, where she led the Pioneers to three consecutive NCAA tournaments, leaving the school with a record of 61-30 and 35-17 in the South Atlantic Conference.

“I’m extremely excited and fortunate to have this opportunity to lead the UNCW program,” said Harris in a news conference. “I want to build on what’s already here, and I think we can keep moving the program in a positive direction.”

Harris has ties in North Carolina, playing collegiately at Wake Forest before entering coaching. Additionally, before she took over as the head coach at Tusculum, she spent six seasons as an assistant at UNC-Asheville.

As she begins her tenure at UNCW, the pressure will be on Harris to continue the Seahawks’ recent run of success. Cynthia Cooper-Dyke left the program this offseason after leading the team to its two most successful seasons in program history. Both years under Cooper-Dyke, the team advanced to the NIT tournament and won 20-plus games.

She enters her new job with high expectations from both, fans and the administration, but also her own players.

The decision to name Harris as head coach came under heavy scrutiny from current players on the squad, who were instead in support of assistant Jimmy Garrity taking over the reins of the program. The push for Garrity went so far that there was a Twitter hashtag, “teamgarrity”, promoting him taking the position.

Nevertheless, Harris is the one taking over a team that loses only one player from last year’s 20-13 squad. Taking control of a program on the rise, the bar is high for Harris to vault the Seahawks into the top level of the CAA.

“We want to stay focused on the vision for the program,” said Harris in a news conference. “We want to be in the top half of the conference, compete for the CAA championship and compete for postseason play.”