Armstrong elevated to Head Women’s Basketball Coach at UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Assistant Coach Monica Armstrong has been named the Head Coach of Women’s Basketball. She takes over for Todd Kent, who retired earlier this month after 13 years at the helm of the program. The Banana Slugs went 17-7 in Coach Kent’s final season, which included the Banana Slugs’ highest-ever national rank at No. 18.

“We are pleased to announce that Coach Armstrong will continue leading our Women’s Basketball program on the path to excellence,” said Interim Director of Athletics & Recreation Courtnie Prather. “Coach Armstrong’s exceptional basketball IQ and extensive recruiting network have proven invaluable in creating a highly competitive team environment. As a coach, she is committed to the comprehensive development of our student-athletes. We are confident that her leadership will elevate our program to the top of the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference.”

“I’m grateful and super excited that the Department saw my talents and saw that I have the skill, capability and experience to do this job, and they saw me as a value and asset,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong brings nearly two decades of coaching experience to UC Santa Cruz. She began her coaching journey at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, who won six state championships in the ten years she was on the coaching staff. Immediately prior to UC Santa Cruz, Armstrong was an assistant coach at the University of Colorado, Boulder for five seasons, where her duties included coordinating recruiting as well as the student-athlete leadership development programming. She moved to Santa Cruz two years ago when her wife Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, was named the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success at UC Santa Cruz.

 “When I was in Colorado, I knew I needed a better work-life balance because my child was born,” she said. “It was hard to leave, but I knew I wanted to get back to California. I knew I needed better work-life balance, and I knew I wanted to be by the beach.”

A self-described ‘player’s coach’, Armstrong looks forward to instilling her style on the team. “I think that it becomes a transformational relationship versus a transactional relationship and you can get more out of players,” she explained. “They’re willing to do more and dedicate more because they see you are committed to them on and off the court.”

Additionally, former Division I student-athlete Delaney McCann has been hired as Assistant Coach. “In Coach McCann, I wanted to bring in somebody who had a different skill set and could add that component to our coaching staff,” said Armstrong. “We’re really excited to have her and to be able to get her knowledge.”
Alumnae Tyler Stewart-Trader and Jessica Imber will complete the staff as volunteer assistants this season. Stewart-Trader played on both of the two UC Santa Cruz NCAA Tournament teams in 2016 and 2017.

“Both of the volunteers live locally and are very ingrained in the community,” Armstrong said. “To be a competitive, high-level program you need a full staff. I’m really excited that we’ve got three assistant coaches that really are going to pour into these young women to build those foundational pieces and help take us to the next level.”

Tagged with: