Virginia Commonwealth coach Marlene Stollings is expected to be named the Gophers women’s basketball coach, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.
The announcement should come this week, most likely after the NCAA women’s Final Four. The championship game will be played Tuesday.
Stollings, who just finished her second season at VCU, has several ties to the University of Minnesota administration. VCU is where Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague worked before coming to Minnesota. Gophers senior associate athletic director Mike Ellis was deputy director of athletics at VCU when Stollings was hired there in June 2012. Her hiring came in part because of Stollings’ participation in the Villa 7 consortium, Ellis’ brainchild, which was set up to help assistant coaches network with college athletic administrators.
Hired in June 2012 by VCU, Stollings was able to assemble the 38th-ranked recruiting class in the country. VCU went 11-19 in her first season, then 22-10 in the recently concluded season, which ended for the Rams with a first-round loss to Princeton in the Women’s NIT.
Stollings came to VCU after a one-year stint at Winthrop, where she was named the Big South Conference coach of the year after leading the program to an 18-13 record, just its second winning season in 26 years.
Stollings also served as an assistant coach at Jackson University, St. Louis, Wright State, New Mexico State and Mississippi.
In four years at Mississippi, Stollings was in charge of the team’s overall offense, recruiting and guard development, helping Ole Miss to back-to-back nationally ranked recruiting classes.
Stollings was a high school star at Beaver (Ohio) Eastern. She graduated in 1993 as Ohio’s all-time high school scoring leader with 3,514 points.
She initially went to Ohio State but transferred to Ohio University, where she finished eighth in the nation in scoring her senior year. She played one season overseas in Switzerland.
Teague fired Pam Borton after the Gophers — who failed to reach the NCAA tournament in the final five seasons of her 12-year tenure — lost to South Dakota State in the third round of the Women’s NIT.
Stollings would inherit a team with a good bit of returning talent. Guard Rachel Banham just finished her junior season as the leading scorer in the Big Ten. Freshman center Amanda Zahui B. was named the Big Ten freshman of the year. Both Banham and Zahui B. were named Division I All-America honorable mention by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
The Gophers return six other players from the 2013-14 season, including three — Shayne Mullaney, Kayla Hirt and Mikayla Bailey — who started 11 or more games. Also returning are Stabresa McDaniel, Jackie Johnson and Joanna Hedstrom.
The five-player incoming recruiting class includes New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva star Carlie Wagner.