Northeastern women’s basketball head coach Priscilla Edwards is thrilled to announce the first two members of her staff, Ugo Nwaigwe and James Spinelli, on Thursday. Both will join the Huskies as Assistant Coaches.
“Ugo is a dynamic young coach who will have an immediate impact in our program, said Edwards. “She has experience and ties to the northeast and will help bolster our recruiting efforts nationally. She was a tremendous college player, a professional athlete, and will serve as a great role model to our young women. We are excited to welcome her to the Huskies family!”
Nwaigwe comes to Huntington Avenue after completing her second year at Brown. Nwaigwe worked with the Bears as an Assistant Coach in 2021-22, and then was tabbed the program’s recruiting coordinator in 2022-23.
Prior to Brown, Nwaigwe served as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations at the University of Iowa from 2019-21. During the 2019-20 season, she helped Iowa post a 23-7 overall record, 14-4 Big Ten mark, and 15-0 record at home. With the Hawkeyes, she held responsibilities around team travel, community service, camps, and the program’s day-to-day operations.
Nwaigwe spent one season as an assistant coach at Graceland University in 2018-19 with responsibilities including recruiting, skill development, practice planning, film study, and game preparation.
Nwaigwe gained extensive playing experience at the professional level from 2016-18 competing in Portugal, Angola, Argentina, and Spain. She played for G.D. ESSA in Portugal in 2018 after competing for First Bank Club of Nigeria in Angola in 2017, winning a bronze medal at the AfroCup. She also played for Club Atletic Lanus in Argentina in 2017 and SPAR Gran Canaria in Spain in 2016-17.
A member of the Nigerian National Team from 2016-17, Nwaigwe won a championship at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket in 2017 in Mali. She also competed at the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France.
At the collegiate level, Nwaigwe played for Wagner College from 2011-15 before completing her career at Temple University in 2015-16. While with the Seahawks, she earned 2014 Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors in addition to a spot on the 2014 NEC All-Defensive Team. In the 2013-14 season, she ranked first in the NEC and fourth nationally with 3.8 blocks per game. While with the Owls, she helped the team reach the quarterfinals of the 2016 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
A 2015 graduate of Wagner with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Government and Politics, Nwaigwe went on to earn a master’s degree in Globalization and Development Communications from Temple in 2016. A 2011 graduate of Valley Stream South High School in New York, she gained recognition as a McDonald’s All-American Nominee as a senior.
“James’ energy and passion for the game is infectious, said Edwards. “He has almost a decade of experience working in division one women’s basketball. He brings a championship pedigree to our program. His acumen in the realm of player development and analytics will bring great value to our staff and team. We are so excited to welcome James to Huntington Ave!”
Spinelli comes to Northeastern after completing his fifth season at Notre Dame, and third under Head Coach Niele Ivey. With the Irish women’s basketball program, Spinelli led all internal video needs for the team from the perspectives of scouting and analysis. He also oversaw all game and scout film exchange, while assisting in the editing of scout film. Spinelli also produced analytical content through video for the program’s internal use.
Additionally, Spinelli brings creative experience to the Huskies. At Notre Dame he handled all internal graphic and video needs for recruiting and assists requests with Fighting Irish Media. Lastly, he was in charge of running the Notre Dame women’s basketball summer camps.
A 2014 graduate of Temple University, with a B.S. in Sport & Recreation Management, Spinelli hails from Long Hill, New Jersey.CAA