Schneider Finalizes Kansas Staff

Kansas head women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider put the finishing touches on his staff when announcing the additions of Andy Majors, Donease Smith and Natalie Knight Wednesday afternoon.

A long-time assistant under Schneider, Majors joins the Jayhawks as the Director of Player Development, while Smith, who has strong ties with the WNBA, will take over the role of Director of Basketball Operations. A recent graduate of the KU women’s basketball program, Knight remains with Kansas as the Graduate Student Manager.

Majors spent five seasons at Stephen F. Austin after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Pittsburg State. With the Ladyjacks, Majors helped SFA win back-to-back league titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and make three postseason appearances.

Majors worked with the post players and centers at SFA and saw Porsha Roberts earn Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-14 and Southland Player of the Year honors in 2014-15 for her stellar play in the paint.

“Coach Majors will be an invaluable asset both to our coaching staff as well as our student-athletes,” Schneider said. “He will head up the scouting of our opponents, and he will do an outstanding job as we game plan and prepare for success on the court.”

At Pittsburg State, Majors helped lead the Gorillas to a 34-23 record in that time, including a 20-9 record in 2008-09. His duties included coordinating opponent scouting, monitoring academic progress and in-practice statistics.

A standout quarterback for the Gorilla football team from 2002-05, he was a crucial part of the Gorillas’ national runner-up finish in 2004. Majors earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pittsburg State in 2006, and completed his master’s degree in education from PSU in 2010.

Smith joins the Jayhawks after six seasons with Memphis women’s basketball. With the Tigers, Smith took care of both internal and external needs of the entire women’s basketball program, including team travel, practice set up and inventory control.

Before Memphis, Smith spent two seasons with the Detroit Shock in the WNBA, serving as the basketball operations manager and as the manager of the Year Round Hoops program.

“I’ve known Donease for a long time and I am excited that we could add someone with her experience in the world of operations,” said Schneider. “She’s done this job at the high-major level for a long time, as well as in the WNBA.”

Prior to her WNBA stint, Smith developed a long history of coaching and teaching basketball. Following her playing career (1995-98) at Central Missouri State (now called the University of Central Missouri), Smith taught introductory business classes and served as an assistant girls’ basketball coach for four years in Kansas City, Missouri. She also served as the Director of Operations for Kansas State women’s basketball during the 2006-07 season.

Smith, a native of Sedalia, Missouri, received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business education from CMSU, earning honorable mention all-conference honors three times on the court.

A four-year starter and most recent member to join KU women’s basketball 1,000-point scorers club, Knight will stay in Lawrence as a Graduate Student Manager. The Olathe, Kansas native graduated this May from Kansas with a degree in communications.

“Natalie had a tremendous career at Kansas as a student-athlete and we’re glad that she has decided to make the transition from player to coach with our program,” Schneider said. “She has been an outstanding member of the KU community and we’re thrilled she will continue to be part of it.”

A two-time All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, Knight concluded her career with 1,081 points, 340 assists and 436 rebounds. She was a member of KU’s roster during back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 2012 and 2013.

The Jayhawks begin their 2015-16 campaign with Late Night in the Phog, which is hosted along with Kansas men’s basketball, on Friday, Oct. 9, inside Allen Fieldhouse.

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