Georgia Southern Women’s Basketball Staff Update

Georgia Southern Head Women’s Basketball Coach Anita Howard has finalized her staff for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

Coach Howard has hired a pair of new assistant coaches in Dexter Jenkins and Olivia Gaines, while elevating Michelle McLeod to women’s basketball chief of staff.

Jenkins joins the Eagles from Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania, where he served as an assistant for the Red Flash for the 2022-23 season.

Prior to Saint Francis, Jenkins spent four seasons at NCAA Division II member Winston-Salem State as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He spent the 2017-18 season in the same role at the University of Northwestern in Ohio. 

He began his coaching career at NCAA Division I member North Carolina Central, where he worked up through the staff from graduate assistant to director of operations across a four-year period.

“Coach Dexter grew up in the Southeast and has already been a key part of successful programs in this region,” Coach Howard said. “He is extremely well connected as a recruiter, and will impact our program through his ability to establish relationships on and off the court. Coach Dex has an energetic personality and a passion for player development. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to Statesboro!”

Gaines, meanwhile, joins the Eagles after serving as the head coach at Richard Bland College, a NJCAA institution in Virginia, for the 2022-23 season. She led the inaugural women’s basketball team at RBC to an NJCAA Division II National Runner-Up finish as the Statesmen went 29-3 overall and 16-2 in Region 10 competition. 

The 2013 National Junior College Player of the Year at Louisburg College and an integral member of the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team that advanced to the 2015 Division I NCAA Final Four, Gaines has an impressive basketball resume both as a player and a coach. Her playing career includes an NJCAA Division II national championship at Louisburg in 2013, where she averaged 18.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.5 steals per game in leading the Hurricanes to a 32-3 record and subsequent NJCAA All-America honors. Her South Carolina teams appeared in the 2014 NCAA Sweet 16 and won a pair of Southeastern Conference Championships in 2014 and 2015. 

Prior to RBC, Gaines served as head coach at USC Salkehatchie, where she led the Indians to a 20-2 record in the 2020-21 season, which includes a Region 10 championship and a fifth place finish in the NJCAA Division I National Championship. For her efforts, Gaines was named the Region 10 Coach of the Year.  

“Coach Gaines brings a special combination of youth and experience to our coaching staff,” Coach Howard said. “Not too long ago, she was playing in the Final Four at the University of South Carolina under Dawn Staley, but she has already accomplished big things as a head coach competing in back to back national championships at the JUCO level. Her championship pedigree is exactly what we need to push our program to the next level.”

Finally, McLeod has been named as the women’s basketball chief of staff after completing her first year with the Eagles as the director of basketball operations in 2022-23.

“When Michelle joined us last season, it didn’t take long for us to realize that her contribution was way too big for her title,” Coach Howard said. “She has gone above and beyond for our team and has been a priceless addition to the Eagle family. Michelle is the glue for our program and her presence is not only felt on our staff but across the department.  Being named Chief of Staff is an accurate depiction of Michelle’s abilities and her overall importance to our program.”

Georgia Southern women’s basketball is coming off of a 21-11 season in 2022-23, the first 20-win season for the Eagles in 20 years.

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