Augusta University Athletics announced today that Celeste Stewart has been named the head coach of its women’s basketball program. Stewart, the tenth coach in program history, steps into the role after acting as interim head coach for the 2022-2023 season.
“Coach Stewart inherited a challenging situation last fall as our interim head women’s basketball coach and did an outstanding job leading our team to a 17-win season,” said Director of Athletics Ryan Erlacher. “It was clear early on in our search that she possessed everything our committee was looking for in our next permanent head coach. Our program experienced one of the best seasons they’ve had in eight years under Coach Stewart’s leadership. We’ve been beyond impressed with her work ethic, poise, commitment to excellence, and desire to elevate our program to the next level. Exciting times are ahead for Augusta women’s basketball.”
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead our women’s basketball program,” said Stewart. “Since the very beginning we have worked so hard as a unit to continue to build on the foundation that was set. The players have bought in to the goals we have envisioned for the program, and I look forward to continuing to elevate Augusta women’s basketball on and off the court. I would like to thank Mr. Ryan Erlacher for believing in and trusting me to lead our student-athletes. Thank you to Dr. Keel, Augusta University, faculty, staff, family, friends, mentors, fans, and players for all the support. I am excited about the future of Augusta Women’s Basketball. Go Jags!”
In July 2022, Stewart was elevated to interim head women’s basketball coach – a position she retained throughout the 2022-2023 season. During her time at the helm, Augusta women’s basketball had its most successful season since 201-2016. After finishing 17-11 during the regular season, Augusta earned the No. 5 seed in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. Leading scorers Tomiyah Alford and Kennedi Manning were both named All-Conference. Both players will be returning for the 2023-2024 season.
Stewart was named assistant coach at Augusta University in 2018. During the 2021-22 season, she helped the Jaguars to a 15-13 overall record – their second best season since 2016. During her time as an assistant at Augusta, she coached the 2019 PBC Freshman of the Year and four All-Conference selections.
Prior to coming to Augusta, Stewart was on staff at ECU for a single season, after working at Wingate University from 2014-2018. Stewart served as an assistant coach during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons at Wingate, helping the Bulldogs reach a pair of NCAA Regional Semifinals and win the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship. She handled on-the-floor coaching and skill development of individual players and prepared scouting reports. She played an integral role in Wingate’s recruiting efforts, helping to organize visits as well as evaluating and recruiting student-athletes.
Prior to her elevation as an assistant coach at WU, Stewart was a graduate assistant for Wingate from 2014 to 2016. She helped the Bulldogs win the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Tournament and make two NCAA Tournament appearances. She assisted with recruiting as well as preparing scouting reports, scouting film of opposing teams and creating highlight films for every game.
Stewart is a 2013 ECU graduate and played for head coach Heather Macy during her time in Greenville. She was a Conference USA first team All-Conference player in 2013 and was ECU’s Most Valuable Player for both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. She is seventh all-time at ECU with 366 career assists.
Stewart earned her bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from ECU in 2013. She completed her master’s degree in sport management from Wingate in 2016.D2