Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State hires UTEP’s Keitha Adams as women’s basketball coach

UTEP coach Keitha Adams will become Wichita State’s women’s basketball coach, a source said Wednesday evening.
UTEP coach Keitha Adams will become Wichita State’s women’s basketball coach, a source said Wednesday evening. AP

Keitha Adams is returning home to coach Wichita State’s women’s basketball.

Adams, coach the past 16 seasons at Texas-El Paso, is working out final details on a contract, according to an athletic department source Wednesday evening. WSU later confirmed the hiring through a statement.

“Today is a very special day in my life,” Adams said in the statement. “I’m extremely excited about being the head women’s basketball coach at Wichita State University. I’d like to thank President John Bardo, Darron Boatright, and Linda Hargrove for this opportunity.”

Adams is from Oxford, where the school retired her jersey in 1986. She attended Southwestern College and coached five seasons at Independence Community College before moving to UTEP.

UTEP went 8-23 in 2016-17 after losing four starters from the 2016 team that went 29-5 and won the Conference USA title.

“Keitha was one of my first hires and has been with us for 16 years,” UTEP athletic director Bob Stull said in a statement released by WSU. “She has done an absolutely unbelievable job. We hate to see her leave, but understand the desire to go home.

“… You won’t find a more quality person anywhere. The Wichita community will fall in love with her, just like El Paso has. She is a great coach and a great friend and we wish her the best.”

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She is 284-209 in 16 seasons at UTEP with NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2012 and WNIT appearances in 2014 and 2016. The Miners defeated Western Kentucky in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. They finished second in the 2014 WNIT and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2016.

Adams directed UTEP to six 20-win seasons and three conference titles in the past 11 seasons. The Miners went 29-4 in 2011-12 to start a streak of three straight 20-win seasons that ended with a 12-16 record in 2015.

She earned Coach of the Year honors in CUSA in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Before Adams’ arrival, UTEP totaled five winning seasons in its 25 seasons with a record number of wins of 18.

WSU has also interviewed Pittsburg State coach Lane Lord and Texas A&M associate head coach Kelly Bond-White, according to sources. While it is likely other coaches interviewed, those are the only names to emerge in media reports.

Wichita State is replacing Jody Adams-Birch, who left the position in late January. She was replaced by interim coach Linda Hargrove, who worked with athletic director Darron Boatright on the hire. Keitha Adams and Adams-Birch are not related.

Adams will make her first appearance as Shocker coach at 4 p.m. Monday in a news conference.

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Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop