Adia Barnes named Arizona women’s basketball head coach

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Arizona Athletics

Arizona Athletics

Matt Wall

Adia Barnes will take over the Arizona women’s basketball program as head coach, Greg Byrne announced Monday morning via Twitter.

“This is an exciting day for the [UA],” Byrne said in a press release. “Not only are we hiring an excellent basketball coach who also excelled as a player, but we’re able to welcome one of Arizona’s all-time greats back to campus. We believe Adia’s combination of experience and energy, along with her understanding of this athletics department, made her the perfect fit to lead our women’s basketball program into its next phase. We’re looking forward to having Adia as a member of this department and we can’t wait for her to get started.”

Barnes will follow in the footsteps of longtime former coach Niya Butts, who parted ways after eight years with the program.

Barnes has been coaching as an assistant at the University of Washington, which most recently fell to Syracuse in the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

She is a UA alumna and played collegiately at Arizona from 1994 to 1998. She is one of just four Wildcats in the Women’s Basketball Ring of Honor. Following her time in a Wildcat uniform, she played professionally for seven seasons in the WNBA and internationally.

Barnes has also been a color commentator for the WNBA Seattle Storm.

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be the next head coach at my alma mater,” Barnes said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to working with the young women in Arizona’s basketball program as well as the wonderful people in McKale [Center]. Arizona has such great resources and some of the best facilities in women’s basketball. I also believe the Tucson community does a great job of supporting the women’s basketball program, which we’ll need as we navigate the toughest conference in the country — the Pac-12. I want to thank Greg Byrne and the people in Arizona Athletics for this opportunity as well as coach Mike Neighbors for mentoring and preparing me for this step. I believe we can compete for championships in the Pac-12 and nationally and I can’t wait to return to Tucson and get started.”

As a freshman at the UA, Barnes earned the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award, followed by a Pac-10 Player of the Year award her senior season. During her time at Arizona, Barnes also helped the Wildcats reach their first ever NCAA tournament.

Barnes was also part of the 2004 WNBA Champion Seattle Storm.

Barnes has fit the mold that Byrne has been looking for: youthful coaches that bring winning attitudes to the program.

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