Texas Tech director of athletics Kirby Hocutt announced Tuesday that former Lady Raider Krista Gerlich has been hired as head coach of the school’s women’s basketball program.
“I am excited to announce Krista Gerlich as our next Lady Raider basketball coach,” Hocutt said. “Coach Gerlich has been outstanding as a head coach at both UT-Arlington and West Texas A&M, and her track record as a student-athlete at Texas Tech speaks for itself. I believe that she is the right person to lead our women’s basketball team and I am excited to see what she and the Lady Raiders accomplish in the seasons ahead.”
Having experienced success at each stop of her coaching career thus far, Gerlich has spent the last seven seasons at UT-Arlington. She stands as the program’s all-time winningest coach at UTA, accumulating 121 of her 289 career wins as a collegiate head coach at the helm of the Lady Mav program.
“I can’t put into words how excited I am to be entrusted with rebuilding the Lady Raider basketball program, which is near and dear to my heart,” Gerlich said. “I can’t wait to get to work on taking this program back to where it’s supposed to be, where it has been and where everyone in the Texas Tech community expects it to be. I’m looking forward to meeting the current Lady Raiders, embracing them and their journey, and helping them write a better ending to their careers at Texas Tech, because they deserve it.
“I believe that Texas Tech is a pot of gold for every sport, and that’s illustrated by how well each program succeeds on a national level year in and year out. There is no reason that Lady Raider basketball can’t do that too, because we’ve already seen it done. We know we have the support, and I am looking forward to bringing that positive excitement and authentic love for the program back to my alma mater.”
During her 14-year head coaching career which also includes seven seasons at West Texas A&M, Gerlich has racked up two TABC Coach of the Year awards, three conference coach of the year honors, three conference titles, five NCAA Tournament wins and eight 20-win seasons. She has overseen seven WBCA All-Americans, six conference players of the year, 10 All-Sun Belt selections and 17 Lone Star Conference All-Conference selections.
Gerlich led the Lady Mavs to three 20-win seasons, including a 21-11 overall record with a 14-4 mark in Sun Belt games last season, leading to a third-place finish in the Sun Belt conference race. In the nonconference season, Gerlich’s Lady Mavs tallied the program’s first victory over a Power 5 school since 2006 with a 57-53 road win over Tech’s Big 12 foe Kansas State. In the regular season finale at ULM, the Lady Mavs defeated the Warhawks, 74-67, to give Gerlich her 120th victory as UTA head coach and make her the all-time winningest coach in program history
Gerlich was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2019, following a successful campaign in which her Lady Mavs tied the program record for single-season wins, and picked up the program’s first postseason win as well as UTA’s first Sun Belt women’s basketball regular season title. The team earned an automatic bid to the WNIT, marking the sixth postseason tournament appearance and fourth postseason WNIT appearance in program history.
In 2016-17, Gerlich guided UTA to a 22-9 overall record, a second-place finish in the Sun Belt and a berth to the postseason as UTA went to the WNIT and participated in the postseason for the first time since 2009.
From her first season into the second, the Lady Mavs increased their win total by 13 from 4 wins to 17 wins, the second largest turnaround in Division I between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
Among the many standouts that Gerlich coached at UTA was four-time All-Sun Belt selection Cierra Johnson, who was named Sun Belt Co-Player of the Year in 2019 and was a two-time Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year pick (2017, 2019). She also coached 2015 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Rebekah VanDijk and 2020 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year Marie Benson.
In 2015, Gerlich served a two-game suspension at UTA following an arrest for public intoxication and violation of park hours.
“Although our research shows that the misdemeanor arrest is no longer on her record, she was forthright and transparent with us during the search process,” Hocutt said.
“We spoke with many people, including her athletic director, about the incident and am satisfied she learned from the incident and has continued to grow as a coach, role model and mentor to her student athletes.”
“I was forthright about the incident throughout the interview process,” Gerlich said. “I’ve shared it with my team as an example of a growing experience to acknowledge that we aren’t all perfect and that everyone makes mistakes.”
Gerlich’s success in the head coaching ranks hasn’t been exclusive to her time in Arlington, as she led West Texas A&M to stellar 168-53 overall record, four consecutive South Division Lone Star Conference titles and three consecutive Lone Star Conference championships in seven seasons leading the Lady Buffs.
The quickest coach in WTAMU history to reach each of the 100, 125 and 150-win benchmarks, Gerlich led the Lady Buffs to NCAA Tournament appearances in five of her seven years leading the program, including the team’s first Elite Eight appearance in 11 years in 2009. She was named the Lone Star Conference South Division Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2010.
Prior to taking her first head coaching position, Gerlich spent three years in Lubbock as an assistant coach under Hall of Fame coach Marsha Sharp at her alma mater. She helped guide the Lady Raiders to two NCAA tournament appearances, including a 24-8 overall record, a 12-4 Big 12 mark and a spot in the Sweet 16 during the 2004-05 campaign. Gerlich was heavily involved in almost every aspect of the program as she instructed preseason individual workouts, coached the perimeter players, reviewed film and handled game day preparations for the Lady Raiders. Throughout the school year she also assisted in the academic progress of the Lady Raider student-athletes.
Before returning to coaching with Texas Tech during the 2003-2004 season, Gerlich took some time off to start a family; she spent the 2002-2003 year teaching math at Hereford High School, where her husband, Bryan, was the athletic director and head football coach.
After graduating from Texas Tech in 1993 with a degree in exercise and sports science, Gerlich got her first coaching job at Lockney High School as the head girls’ basketball coach.
From 1994-1997, she was the head girls’ coach at Taft High School in San Antonio, Texas. Gerlich entered the college ranks as an assistant at UTSA from 1997-1999. Gerlich followed her position at UTSA by accepting the head coaching job at San Antonio Reagan High School from 1999-2000. In the inaugural season at Reagan, the team posted a 20-5 mark.
Lady Raider fans are more than familiar with Gerlich’s long resume as a player at Texas Tech. Aside from helping guide Tech to the 1993 NCAA title, she racked up three All-Southwest Conference accolades, and was named to the 1993 SWC All-Tournament team, the 1993 West Regional All-Tournament team and the 1993 Final Four All-Tournament team.
Named to the All-Time SWC team and one of the Panhandles Top 100 Athletes of the Century, Gerlich was named an honorable mention All-American in 1993. She ranks third in school history in career assists (553), third in career three-point field goals (220), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.417) and 13th in career scoring (1,324). Her No. 21 was retired by the Lady Raider program on Dec. 5, 1993, making her one of only three former Lady Raiders to have their numbers retired.
Born in Spearman, Texas, Gerlich was a three time all-state selection in basketball while attending Sudan (Texas) High and Spearman High School. She was a member of the 1987 state championship basketball team at Sudan HS, where her father, Jim Kirkland, was her high school basketball coach. In 1988, she helped Spearman HS claim the cross country state championship and was a four time all-state selection in cross country. She placed third at the 1989 state track meet in the 1600 meters.
Gerlich is married to Bryan Gerlich, who is also a Texas Tech graduate and a former linebacker on the Red Raider football team (1987-1992). The couple has a daughter, Bryn, and a son, Brayden.
Photo Courtesy Texas Tech AthleticsTexas Tech