UCF head coach Sytia Messer has rounded out her coaching staff with Michelle Edwards, a former collegiate national player of the year, international all-star, WNBA franchise player and 2014 inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Edwards will serves as the team as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
“I’m extremely excited about Michelle joining our staff,” said Messer. “She’s one of the best basketball players to ever play the game and she brings over 19 years of experience on both sides of the ball. We’re very happy to have Michelle bring that knowledge to our program and ready to get to work with her.”
Edwards joins the Knights after 19 seasons on the Rutgers women’s basketball staff, including four as an assistant coach.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Edwards played for Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer at the University of Iowa from 1984-88. After helping lead the Hawkeyes to a 20-8 record as a freshman, Edwards piloted Iowa to back-to-back NCAA Tournament regional final appearances (1987, 1988) and a No. 1 national ranking.
As a senior, Edwards was selected the Big Ten Player of the Year, a Kodak, Naismith and USBWA All-American and the Champion National Player of the Year.
A 2000 Iowa Hall of Fame inductee, she is one of just two female Hawkeyes to have her jersey retired. Her career totals in points (1,821), assists (431) and steals (235) still rank in the top 10 more than twenty years later. Edwards was selected as one of Iowa’s “Top 50 Athletes of the Century” as well as the Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Decade in 1989.
Edwards, who won a bronze medal at the 1991 Pan-American Games under Stringer’s tutelage, played professionally in Italy from 1988-97. She earned three Italian League All-Star Game MVP awards during her stay. Edwards returned to the States when the WNBA was formed and was the second allocation from the original group of 16 “franchise” players. Edwards played a total of five seasons (1997-2001) for the Cleveland Rockers and Seattle Storm, averaging 7.6 points and 2.8 assists per game. While a member of the WNBA, she was very active in the community. She worked with several Cleveland charities as well as the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program.
Following the end of her professional playing career, Edwards served as a youth basketball advisor/community relations representative for the YMCA in New York City. She also added to her resume a career in broadcasting, serving as the Fox Sports Net color analyst for Cleveland games and the color analyst for the Rutgers Radio Network.
Edwards graduated from Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1989 and earned her master’s degree in labor studies from Rutgers in 2016.
In the summer of 2010, Edwards graduated from the NCAA Leadership Institute, delivering the commencement address. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. in the summer of 2014.UCF