UMass women’s basketball head coach Tory Verdi announced Tuesday that Cassandra Callaway has joined the staff as an assistant coach. Callaway arrives in Amherst after spending the previous four seasons at Eastern Michigan as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
“We are very excited to welcome Cassandra to the UMass women’s basketball family,” Verdi said. “Cassandra is one of the top young coaches in our game and helped elevate Eastern Michigan’s recruiting during her time there. We are confident that she will bring energy and passion to our program, and we are looking forward to having her join the staff.”
“It is a blessing and an honor to join the UMass family,” Callaway said. “I am grateful for the opportunity Coach Verdi has provided me to help advance the Minutewomen, and I cannot wait to build onto this great program!”
In 2019-20, Callaway helped lead the Eagles to their most wins under current head coach Fred Castro with a 16-15 record and first winning season since arriving at Eastern Michigan. Season highlights included a five-game win streak, spanning from Dec. 10 through Jan. 8, a road win over MAC West and in-state rival Western Michigan, and a pair of victories over MAC powerhouse, Ball State.
In 2018-19, Callaway was crucial in the improvement of Corrione Cardwell. In her redshirt sophomore season, Cardwell proved to be Eastern’s most consistent player as the only Eagle to start all 31 games. With the guidance of Callaway, Cardwell improved her scoring average by nearly 10 points, 3.7 to 13.0, and more than doubled her rebounding average (1.7 to 4.2).
Callaway helped in the development of EMU’s guards during the 2017-18 campaign, most notably coaching Danielle Minott and Courtnie Lewis to All-MAC honors. Minott, after rewriting the single-game record book, landed on the All-MAC Third Team, while Lewis put together one of the greatest freshman campaigns in program history. Lewis scored the second-most points by a freshman Eagle en route to All-MAC Honorable Mention and MAC All-Freshmen honors, while also finishing top-10 nationally in scoring among freshmen.
Prior to joining Eastern Michigan’s staff, Callaway served as an assistant coach at Saint Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, N.J. There, she worked primarily with the guards, while also assisting with practice plans and various other responsibilities. Prior to her stint at Saint Anthony’s, Callaway spent a season as a volunteer coach at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, N.J. In her lone season at Malcolm X Shabazz, Callaway created, developed, and implemented player workouts, oversaw game statistics, and assisted with practice plans.
A solid player at the University of Albany, she helped the Great Danes improve in every season culminating with the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth in 2011-12. Overall, UA doubled its win total from her sophomore to senior seasons to finish with 50 victories in the three-year span. She finished her Albany career with 625 points, 116 assists, 81 steals and 44 starts.
During her senior season, Callaway averaged 10.8 points per game and shot a team-best 80.3 percent from the free throw line. The team went undefeated on the road during the America East Conference slate to post a 14-2 conference record. In the AE Tournament, Callaway collected all-tournament team accolades, after netting 23 points in the title game, while also handing out six assists.
In 2010-11, Callaway helped the Great Danes posted their first winning season since becoming a Division I program in 1999. She averaged 10.0 points per game while adding 42 steals and 39 assists.
Callaway began her collegiate career in 2008-09 at Daytona State College where she led the squad to a 20-9 record. An All-Mid-Florida Conference first-team selection after netting 12.2 points per game, her team was ranked in the top-10 of the Florida Community College Activities Association women’s basketball coaches’ poll.
Callaway graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the arts and sciences, communication and rhetoric, and a minor in business administration.
Photo Courtesy UMass AthleticsA-10 UMass