Adia Barnes, who won a WNBA title with the Seattle Storm and helped coach the Huskies to the Final Four, returns to her alma mater at Arizona in her first head-coaching job.
The Huskies’ historic run to the Final Four is already bearing fruit for one Washington coach.
Adia Barnes, a UW assistant coach since 2011, is returning to her alma mater, Arizona, for her first head-coaching job, the school announced Monday. Barnes was the 1998 Pac-10 Player of the Year at Arizona and remains the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer.
Barnes, who has worked as UW’s recruiting coordinator, has been a central figure in the Seattle women’s basketball scene for more than a decade. As a player, she helped the Storm win the 2004 WNBA title and she was named to the franchise’s all-decade team. After finishing her playing career overseas, she returned to Seattle to work as a broadcaster for Storm and Seattle University games.
The 39-year-old also established the Adia Barnes Foundation, which mentors under-served youth.
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“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be the next head coach at my alma mater,” Barnes said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the young women in Arizona’s basketball program as well as the wonderful people in McKale. Arizona has such great resources and some of the best facilities in women’s basketball. …
“I want to thank (Arizona athletic director) Greg Byrne and the people in Arizona Athletics for this opportunity as well as (UW) coach Mike Neighbors for mentoring and preparing me for this step. I believe we can compete for championships in the Pac-12 and nationally and I can’t wait to return to Tucson and get started.”
She began as an assistant at UW on Kevin McGuff’s staff in 2011 and remained on staff when Neighbors was promoted to head coach in 2013.
“This is an exciting day for the University of Arizona,” Byrne said in a statement. “Not only are we hiring an excellent basketball coach, who also excelled as a player, but we’re able to welcome one of Arizona’s all-time greats back to campus. We believe Adia’s combination of experience and energy, along with her understanding of this athletics department, made her the perfect fit to lead our women’s basketball program into its next phase. We’re looking forward to having Adia as a member of this department and we can’t wait for her to get started.”