Saint Francis University Director of Athletics Susan Robinson Fruchtl announced Wednesday that Keila Whittington has been named the eighth women’s basketball coach in program history. She will be formally introduced at a press conference Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the Stokes-Twyman room on the campus of Saint Francis inside the Maurice Stokes Athletic Center. You can view the press conference here: http://necfrontrow.com/webcast.php/SFPA-6301/
“We are thrilled that Keila Whittington will be our next women’s basketball coach,” Robinson Fruchtl said. “Keila is excited for this opportunity and she will do awesome things here at SFU. Keila understands the importance of mentoring young people and she is a great fit for our institutional mission. She understands the importance of building community on campus and in the local area. Keila brings a wealth of experience at a high level and she is ready to step up to the challenge of being the coach of the Red Flash. Keila is no stranger to recruiting in Central PA, Western PA, the Mid-Atlantic region and Ohio. These areas have been such key areas for the tradition of our program. She is ready to hit the ground running to continue our strong tradition of success here at Saint Francis.”
Whittington comes to Loretto with a wealth of experience in the coaching ranks, including most recently at Marist College where she served as the assistant coach from 2016-19. It was her second stint with the Red Foxes after also serving as an assistant coach from 2007-09.
“I am extremely honored and blessed to be the next head women’s basketball coach at Saint Francis University,” Whittingon said. “It has been an overwhelming past few days as I’ve realized that I have finally accomplished a lifelong career dream. There is no better place that I would rather begin my head coaching career. It is truly a match made in heaven. I would like to thank Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., President of Saint Francis, Susan Robinson Fruchtl, Director of Athletics, the search committee, and everyone involved in the interview process for putting their trust in me to be the leader of this program.”
Whittingon continued: “Saint Francis University is a special place, and having an opportunity to coach at a Catholic University is very near and dear to my heart. The mission and values of the University will be integrated into our program, and we will strive to be a model program on the campus and in the central Pennsylvania community. I am looking forward to meeting the team and working with them to continue to build upon the winning tradition that has been established with Saint Francis women’s basketball.”
Whittington previously held the title of associate head coach at the University of Memphis for one season in 2012-13. Prior to her time at Memphis, she was an assistant coach at the University of Oregon, where she coached the post players and served as the Ducks’ recruiting coordinator.
Whittington spent 2001-07 as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Penn State, where she guided the Lady Lions to an NCAA Elite Eight appearance and two Sweet Sixteen appearances. Prior to her arrival at Penn State, Whittington spent the 2000-01 season as South Alabama’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
From 1995-2000, Whittington was an assistant at Indiana, also serving as recruiting coordinator. While with the Hoosiers, she served as assistant coach on the Big Ten All-Star Tour in 1997, traveling to Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Whittington was also an assistant at Rhode Island from 1993-95, and was promoted to top assistant and recruiting coordinator in 1995. She began her collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Delaware, where she coached from 1991-93. Whittington’s first experience on the bench came as assistant varsity girls’ coach and head junior varsity girls’ coach at McDonogh #35 High School in New Orleans.
A native of Louisiana, Whittington has a wealth of community involvement. She organized a supply relief drive consisting of non-perishable food items, water and toys which was sent to St. Bernard Parish in Chalmette, La., just outside of New Orleans, to benefit those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Whittington is a 1989 graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans. At Dillard, Whittington earned a degree in Health & Physical Education and then went on to receive her M.A. in Physical Education from Delaware in 1993.NEC St. Francis (PA)