Stephanie McCormick, who has 20 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience, was named the head women’s basketball coach at Western Carolina University as announced by Director of Athletics Randy Eaton. McCormick, who previously served two stints as an assistant coach on two different women’s basketball staffs at Western Carolina, becomes the 11th head coach of the WCU women’s basketball program all-time.
McCormick will be formally introduced as the head women’s basketball coach at an on-campus function next Wednesday, April 22, at 2:30 pm to be held in the Blue Ridge Hall conference room. The event is free and open to the public. The introduction is slated to be video streamed through the SoCon Digital Network.
“I am excited that Stephanie has accepted our offer to rejoin the Catamount family,” said Eaton on the hire of McCormick. “Stephanie’s previous experience at WCU, her extensive relationships with coaches in our region, and her overall desire to come home made her the perfect candidate to lead our women’s basketball program.”
Eaton continued, “During the past week, we hosted several highly qualified candidates. But it became quite apparent that Stephanie was the person we had been looking for to lead our women’s basketball program. I see nothing but success in the future of Western Carolina women’s hoops under Stephanie’s leadership.”
McCormick has served at five different institutions during her career. Her teams made nine postseason appearances with four apiece in both the NCAA Tournament and WNIT. She returns to Cullowhee after spending two years as an assistant coach at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
“It is good to be back in Cullowhee — I consider it my home away from home,” said McCormick, who is originally from the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, on returning to Western Carolina University. “WCU and the athletics department are rapidly moving forward and I’m excited about being a part of such positive growth. I am honored to be chosen as the next women’s basketball head coach, and I look forward to rebuilding a program the Catamount Nation can be proud of.”
She added, “Catamount athletics and I are a good combination because we share the same values of family and development of the complete student-athlete.”
In her second year as an assistant at Siena, McCormick helped guide the Saints to a 22-13 overall record, advancing to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) championship game. Siena’s 22 wins this season were a 13-win improvement from the previous year, which was tied for the second-best turnaround in all of Division I women’s basketball. Siena made its first national postseason tournament appearance in 12 years, and became the first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) school to win three games in a single postseason and advance to the championship game of a tournament.
Prior to taking the position at Siena, McCormick spent nine years serving under Kellie Harper at both Western Carolina (2004-09) and North Carolina State (2009-13). During that time, she helped guide those schools to three NCAA Tournament and four WNIT berths.
The Wolfpack made three postseason appearances during McCormick’s four seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010. That season her recruiting efforts help land the 19th best recruiting class in the nation according to Blue Star Basketball, 28th by ESPN HoopGurlz and 29th by Premier Scouting Service.
McCormick, who began her coaching career at Western Carolina from 1994-97 as an assistant to head coach Gary Peters, helped guide the Catamounts to four postseason berths in her five seasons working on Harper’s staff, including a pair of Southern Conference titles. She also oversaw the program’s academic success which captured three WBCA Academic Top-25 awards in five seasons including the 2007-08 squad which ranked fifth nationally.
Prior to her second stint at Western Carolina, McCormick made coaching stops at Georgia Tech (2003-04), Charlotte (2001-03) and UNC Wilmington (1997-01), serving as the associate head coach during her final three seasons with the Seahawks at the latter. She was the recruiting coordinator at both Georgia Tech and Charlotte, which boasted the No. 5 and No. 24 ranked recruiting classes in the country in 2004 and 2002 respectively according to the All Star Girls Report.
A native of High Point, N.C., McCormick is a 1994 graduate of Catawba College. She holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and is a member of both the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Black Coaches Association. The first player in school history to amass both 1,000 career points and rebounds, she holds Catawba’s school record for both career (1,244) and single season rebounds (374). In 2013, she was inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame in its 36th class.
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