Former Texas Tech standout, Olympic gold medalist and WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes on Friday was announced as the head women’s basketball coach at Loyola University Chicago,
Swoopes, a member of the 1993 national championship Lady Raiders, spent the past season as a television analyst for select Tech home games.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the Loyola University Chicago women’s basketball program,” Swoopes said in a news release. “Loyola is a special place and I immediately felt welcome here.
“Having played for some of the game’s best coaches as well as with and against some of the most talented players in women’s basketball history, I have broadened my knowledge and hope to use those experiences to bring championships to Rogers Park. There is a lot of talent already in place and I cannot wait to get into the gym and get started.”
Swoopes replaces Eric Simpson, who resigned in March after the Ramblers completed a 17-15 record in the 2012-2013 season. Loyola advanced to the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament, falling to Wisconsin-Green Bay.
This will be the first head coaching job for Swoopes on any level, although she has publicly expressed a desire to coach since leaving the WNBA following the 2011 season.
She interviewed for an assistant job with Colorado in 2010 before returning for her final professional season.
In an interview with the Avalanche-Journal earlier this year, Swoopes said she had reached out to several programs about joining them.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say coaching’s not for everybody, and I understand that, but I at least want to give it a shot,” she told the A-J in January.
She becomes the seventh player from the 1993 national championship team to go into coaching, joining Noel Johnson (Midwestern State) and Krista Gerlich (UT-Arlington) on the college level.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sheryl Swoopes to the Loyola family,” said M. Grace Calhoun, assistant vice president and director of athletics at Loyola in the release. “She is a proven winner at every level of competition, and a respected mentor of young women. Beyond her unparalleled competitive success, her vision for Loyola women’s basketball, knowledge of the game and industry, and infectious energy left us confident Sheryl will build Rambler women’s basketball into a perennial national contender.”