MOBILE, Ala. - Athletic Director Jim Hall announced the hiring of Karen Curtis McConico as the next women's basketball coach at Spring Hill College today. McConico joins the Badgers following a successful seven-year career as the Women's Basketball Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at High Point University in North Carolina.
"I thank God for this opportunity," McConico said. "I'm thrilled to be chosen as the next head women's basketball coach at Spring Hill. I would like to express my gratitude to Spring Hill College President, Fr. Richard Salmi and Athletic Director Jim Hall for trusting me to lead this program. I'm excited about the challenge that lies ahead."
During McConico's tenure at High Point, the Panthers built an overall record of 118-94 including a 65-37 record in the Big South Conference as the program completed the transitioned from NCAA Division II to Division I status. McConico was a major factor in the Panthers' regular reason Big South Championship in 2006-07 and their trip to the National Women's Invitation Tournament (NWIT) that same season.
As Recruiting Coordinator for the Panthers, McConico signed four Big South All-Freshman Team honorees including two Big South Freshmen of the Year - Mackenzie Maier in 2008 and Shamia Brown in 2009. She also worked with 10 Big South All Conference selections, including Big South Player of the Year Katie O'Dell in 2006, and three CoSIDA Academic All America® winners.
"I am thrilled that Karen has accepted our offer to become our next women's basketball coach," said Hall. "Karen has a demonstrated track record as a highly effective recruiter at the NCAA Division I level and was also an integral part of the day-to-day operations at High Point University. I believe she has all of the requisite skills and attributes to take our women's basketball program to the championship level to which we aspire."
"Karen possesses a competitive tenacity and passion for excellence that are contagious. Those attributes were a large part of why she was tremendously successful as a collegiate athlete and I believe that they will permeate our women's basketball program with her at the helm. If the adage that teams take on their identity of their coaches is true, then the Badger women's basketball team is truly going to be fun to watch in the coming years."
On the court, McConico still ranks as the all-time leading scorer in High Point men's and women's basketball history with 2,616 points scored from 1994-98 when the Panthers played among the NCAA Division II ranks. She is also the all-time assists leader at HPU with 645 handouts and ranks fourth in career rebounding with 904 boards.
Averaging 22.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, McConico was a two-time Kodak All-American at HPU during the 1997 and 1998 seasons as well as a three-time Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference (CVAC) Tournament Most Valuable Player. Following her collegiate career, she was named to the All-Time CVAC Women's Basketball Team.
In her four seasons, the Panthers compiled a 93-21 record and advanced to the "Elite 8" of the Division II National Championship Tournament in 1997. Additionally, McConico continues to hold several spots in the NCAA Division II record book, ranking fourth all-time in career points scored and 10th in scoring average.
McConico, a native of Apex, N.C., graduated from HPU with a bachelor's degree in Human Relations in 1998. She played professionally in Switzerland from 1998 to 2000 where she averaged 25 points per game as a point guard. She began her coaching career in 2000 at Cary (N.C.) High School where she was head coach until 2002. During her tenure in the high school ranks, she led her team to back to back top three conference finishes and placed three players into NCAA Division I programs.
As she has risen through the coaching ranks, McConico coached two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) squads in the Cary Cardinals 15 & under team and the Triangle Knights 18 & under squad. From 2002-2004, she served as the Director of Physical Education and Health at the Raleigh (N.C.) Boys & Girls Club and still maintains close ties to the national organization.
"Karen emerged from a strong applicant pool due to her passion for coaching and desire to make a difference in the lives of her student athletes," Hall said. "Karen's philosophy of developing well rounded players is a strong match with our Jesuit mission of educating the whole person. I have no doubt that she will be a very positive and influential role model for our female student athletes."
Married to Calvin McConico, Jr., she has one son, Karvin, who is seven months old.
What Others are Saying About Karen Curtis McConico:
Craig Keilitz, Athletic Director, High Point University - "This is a tremendous hire for Spring Hill College women's basketball. Karen is going to be a great head coach. She is a terrific person who will do a wonderful job of developing her players as athletes as well as people. Karen will be a tremendous asset to the athletic department at Spring Hill College."
Rick Reeves, Head Women's Basketball Coach Gardner-Webb University - "Karen was a great player. She quickly made the transition to coaching and has done a tremendous job recruiting some of the best players in the Big South Conference. I believe she's ready to take the next step and that she will be an outstanding head coach."
Dr. Joe Ellenburg, Director of Recreation Management and former Head Women's Basketball Coach, High Point University - "When I recruited Karen Curtis to HPU in l993, I thought she could be very good. So after leading us to the NAIA nationals as a freshman, becoming a two time Kodak All-American, breaking all scoring records (men or women) at High Point University, I was proven correct. For 4 years most college coaches who played against her, thought she was the best college player in the state.
"I have watched Karen mature as the assistant coach under Tooey Loy the past 7 years and I feel that she has all the tools to become an outstanding head coach. She has the personality and drive it takes to recruit, and she has the moxie to run a disciplined program. I have no doubt that she will put a team on the floor that will be prepared and in shape to play 40 minutes.
"Spring Hill College has a wonderful tradition, much like Karen's alma mater; she should fit in nicely with the school's philosophy for its students and its mission. There will certainly be some exciting women's basketball in the coming years at Spring Hill."