Travis Mays has been named the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at SMU, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced Thursday. Mays arrives on the Hilltop after 14 years as an assistant coach, where he served under three Hall of Fame coaches, and 11 years playing professionally.
“After meeting with Travis, I immediately knew that he was ready to be a head coach,” said Hart. “He has a tremendous coaching pedigree, having learned from some of the best in the business. He also has strong Texas roots and is a proven recruiter. Everyone spoke so highly of Travis – even those outside his immediate coaching circle, like Geno Auriemma. Travis displays strong character and a will to succeed. In short, he is a winner.”
“I want to thank Dr. Turner, Rick Hart, Monique Holland and all the members of the search committee for this opportunity,” said Mays. “I know the expectations at SMU, and I’m excited about our future. This program has a great tradition and we will build upon that and create a winning culture through hard work and perseverance. Believing is the beginning of success, and I believe we will win at SMU.”
Mays comes to SMU following four seasons as Associate Head Coach at Texas, where he made his mark on the program as a dynamic guard from 1986-90, and where he served a previous three-year stint as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball program from 2004-07. He returned to UT in 2012 as Associate Head Coach. His duties at Texas included recruiting, preparing opponent scouting reports, instructing guards on the court and public speaking at various community service and campus events.
Following his playing days, Mays began his coaching career with a two-year stint in the WNBA with the San Antonio Silver Stars (2002-04) and then returned to his alma mater as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt from 2004-07, where he proved himself as a gifted floor coach and recruiter. Mays moved on to LSU and worked on Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor’s staff from 2007-11. At both UT and LSU, Mays helped ink nationally-acclaimed recruits, and all seven of the recruiting classes Mays assisted in assembling were ranked among the nation’s top 25, including five top-five efforts – No. 1 (2005), No. 3 (2008), No. 3 (2016), No. 4 (2014) and No. 5 (2015).
After his time in Baton Rouge, Mays was an assistant coach at the University of Georgia for Hall of Fame coach Andy Landers. The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2011-12 season at 22-9 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s first round.
A 2002 inductee into UT’s Men’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Mays is still No. 2 among the Longhorns’ career scoring leaders with 2,279 points and was the first player to earn back-to-back Southwest Conference Player of the Year honors in 1989 and 1990. As a senior, Mays was a second-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 24.1 points per game and led Texas to the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. Included in that NCAA run was a 44-point outburst against Georgia in the first round that still ranks 14th-most all time in “March Madness” history. His 23 free throws made and 27 attempts at the line versus the Bulldogs remain NCAA Tournament records.
Mays was drafted by Sacramento with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft, and he was a second-team All-Rookie selection after averaging 14.3 points per game. Mays then played two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, before rupturing two tendons in his right foot. He recovered and enjoyed a successful eight-season career overseas in Greece, Israel, Turkey and Italy.
A native of Ocala, Fla., he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas in 1990. Mays and his wife, Mirella, have two children – a daughter, Cherrell, and son, Trevor.
Photo Courtesy SMU AthleticsTagged with: SMU Travis Mays