OLLU’s Minner becomes DI assistant; Stephens named Interim Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Our Lady of the Lake University has announced that Stacy Stephens will be the interim head coach for the women’s basketball program. Stephens replaces seven-year head coach Christopher Minner, who left at the end of May for an NCAA DI coaching position with the University of North Texas.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “Coach Minner has been a great asset to the women’s basketball program, Saints Athletics and OLLU. He has proven to be a tremendous coach, leader and voice for female student-athletes. Under his leadership he has propelled the women’s basketball team to tremendous successes within the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) and at the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Coach Minner will be missed. it is wonderful to see his hard work not go unnoticed. UNT has gained a great coach, and I am positive that he will assist in the established success with the Mean Green.”

Minner stated, “I am very excited about going to a higher level…a little nervous, but excited. I am looking forward to helping Coach Mitchell get to the postseason and win championships. The coaching staff is great, and it’s a program on the rise here in Texas.”

Minner is the third coach to lead the Saints in women’s basketball. He began his career with the Saints as an assistant coach for the inaugural women’s basketball team in 2009-2010. He took over as the head coach for OLLU women’s basketball in 2012-2013.

Prior to OLLU, Minner served as an assistant coach at NCAA DII Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. Minner served with the program for one year and managed the defensive aspect of the Dustdevil’s game. He also worked with the team on shooting and scoring. His work helped the team with a six-game improvement in the league and a five-game improvement in total wins for the season. TAMIU was ranked No. 4 in the nation in steals and No. 11 in turnover-to-assist ratio. It placed No. 1 in scoring offense, steals, forced turnovers and blocks in the conference. Minner was also the head men’s golf coach at TAMIU, where the team made the Heartland Conference semifinals and it had its first-ever conference playoff berth.

Before TAMIU, Minner was the boys’ varsity basketball head coach at Vacaville Christian High School in California. He directed the Falcons to a 62-24 overall record, winning one Sacramento Valley Christian League (SVCL) title and one Central Valley Christian League title. Also, he was named SVCL Coach of the Year in 2006, his team GPA was 3.42, and he had the most playoff wins for a boys’ head varsity coach.

As an assistant coach for the Saints, Minner recorded a 63-32 overall record. The Saints were 12-8, 16-6 and 18-6 in RRAC play. Each of the three seasons, OLLU qualified for the postseason tournament and in Minner’s final season as an assistant coach, the women’s basketball team won the conference tournament championship and earned a trip to the NAIA DI Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.

With Minner at the helm in 2012-2013, the Saints saw unimaginable successes within the women’s basketball program. He pushed the Saints to finish first in conference play in five consecutive seasons with the Saints earning a second place finish in the 2017-2018 season. This past season, the Saints exceeded expectations by finishing first in the regular season and winning the conference tournament. Additionally, the Saints made history after competing in the semifinals portion of the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament. This was the best accomplishment than any other team in OLLU’s 12-year history of intercollegiate athletics. In his seven seasons at OLLU as head coach, he has an overall record of 189-45 and 121-11 in conference.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley stated, “Stacy Stephens had a stellar career at UT- Austin, as well as in the WNBA and internationally. Her passion, knowledge and experiences as a player and coach have been a great asset to the women’s basketball program here at OLLU. On top of her athletic prowess, she also committed herself to high education, obtaining her master’s recently, and serving as an excellent role model for our student-athletes and the women in our program. Now, it’s her time to lead, and we are excited and confident about the future for Saints Women’s Basketball!”

Stephens joined the coaching staff at OLLU in July 2017 as an assistant coach. Before OLLU, she had a three-year stint as an assistant coach at NCAA DI Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Additionally, she held the title of special assistant to the women’s basketball team at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). Her assistant coaching position with the Longhorns came after an illustrious collegiate career in the burnt orange and white jersey.

For the Longhorns, Stephens was a two-time Associated Press Second Team All-American and a finalist for the State Farm Wade Trophy – given to the best women’s basketball player in NCAA DI competition – and the Naismith Award – given to the top women’s collegiate basketball players – during her junior and senior years. She was a two-time Big 12 first-team player.

The Longhorns’ team with Stephens earned a 2003 NCAA Final Four berth and two regular-season and one tournament championship in the Big 12 Conference. She concluded her collegiate career tallying more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. She averaged 12.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while suiting up for the Texas Longhorns from 2000-2004.

Stephens was a third-round draft pick for the Houston Comets of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 2004, and she spent four years playing professionally in the United States, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

Prior to her coaching position at UT, Stephens was assistant coach at NAIA/Red River Athletic Conference’s (RRAC) Texas College and director of basketball operations at Colorado State University.

She received a Bachelor of Science from UT and earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Sam Houston State University.

Stephens will now head one of the best NAIA women’s basketball programs in the country. Last season, the Saints etched their names in the record books by becoming the first team at OLLU to reach the “Fab Four” during the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Saints have made nine trips to the conference tournament and have captured two tournament titles. Additionally, the team made an appearance at the national championship tournament seven seasons in a row. The women’s basketball team has also been ranked the past seven seasons in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.

Stephens commented, “I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead the OLLU Women’s Basketball team into next season. I am eager to put my experiences within the NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA and the mentorship I have received from Coach Chris Minner and combine it with the extremely talented, dedicated and driven women that I am blessed to work with day in and day out. Together we will work to continue the winning tradition that is OLLU Women’s Basketball.”

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