Natalie Sweeney Named Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Presbyterian College

Presbyterian College and head women’s basketball coach Alaura Sharp announced Wednesday the hiring of Natalie Sweeney as assistant coach. Sweeney, who spent the last two years with Transylvania as women’s basketball assistant coach, will begin at PC immediately.

“Natalie (Sweeney) is a tremendous addition to our women’s basketball staff,” said Coach Sharp. “She has been a part of really successful programs and I am excited for her to bring that mentality to PC.  She knows how to genuinely invest in players as people. Her knowledge of the game is great and she will impact us with her commitment to on court skill development. Her character and work ethic aligns with our vision and we are excited to welcome her to the PC family.”

In two seasons at Transylvania the Pioneers went 52-6, earning two Heartland Conference Season and Tournament Championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Sweet 16 in 2019.  Transylvania earned two top 20 WBCA/D3Hoops rankings, and won over 25 games each season.

As assistant coach at Transylvania, Sweeney’s responsibilities included directing guard play development, scouting and recruiting, and overseeing summer team and individual camps, as well as hosting day camps during the school year.

“I am so excited to join the PC Family,” said Sweeney. “I would like to thank Coach Sharp for this opportunity. Her passion for developing young women as both student-athletes and people is something I also feel very strongly about. I am excited to share her vision and assist in the continued success of this program!”

Prior to joining the Transylvania staff in 2018, Sweeney worked at Illinois-Springfield, where she served on the coaching staff as an assistant coach for two seasons. The program experienced unprecedented success during her two-year stint, with the 2017-18 squad setting a program record for most overall wins, most conference wins, and made the program’s first appearance in the D2SIDA rankings.

Following her first season at Transylvania, Sweeney was selected for a collection of exclusive coaching opportunities to further hone her experience. In April 2019, Sweeney joined a select number of elite women’s assistants from across the country as part of the Women Coaches NextUP program conducted by the Women Leaders in College Sports and in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. NextUP is a program geared towards promoting the advancement and retention of female basketball coaches in college athletics. Participants in the NextUP program learned from college athletics administrators with a focus on leadership and career advancement during the workshop.

Sweeney also participated in the Basketball Coaches Academy hosted by the NCAA in May 2019.  Sweeney was one of 30 coaches in the nation selected from across the three divisions of men’s and women’s college basketball on an annual basis. At the Coaches Academy, Sweeney was part of a coaching event that offered instruction on communication with campus and community members, building a culture of on-and off-court success for student-athletes, budget management, and coaching strategies.

Sweeney attended the Women’s Coaches Academy offered by WeCOACH and the NCAA, in June 2019.  WeCOACH is an organization dedicated to the recruitment, advancement, and retention of women coaches of all sports and levels.

Sweeney’s budding coaching career follows a standout playing career at NCAA Division I Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky where she played from 2011 through 2016.

Sweeney was selected for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “So You Want to Be a Coach” program in April 2016.  Presented in partnership with WeCOACH, this program assists female collegiate basketball players who are interested in pursuing a career in coaching women’s basketball by providing them with professional development and career advancement through education, skills enhancement, networking and exposure opportunities.  The program also increases awareness regarding the availability of talented female basketball players who want to coach.

Sweeney’s arrival to Lexington marked a return to her Central Kentucky roots; the Elizabethtown, Kentucky native was a standout player at Elizabethtown High School where she was named the 5th Region Player of the Year in 2011 and led her team to a State Runner-up finish in 2009.

Sweeney earned a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Physical Education from Morehead State University. She also obtained her Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois in August 2017.