By Kevin Russell, Sports Editor
August 18, 2012
After one of the most successful seasons in program history, the women’s basketball team will be under new leadership in 2012. Former head coach, Jennifer Hoover, winner of the Maggie Dixon Award, resigned this summer to take the same position at Wake Forest University, her alma mater.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given at HPU,” said Hoover in a press release issued by HPU Athletics. Wake Forest has always been a dream job for me and really the only job that I could have seen myself leaving HPU for.”
Taking over for Hoover in 2012 will be assistant DeUnna Hendrix. Hendrix worked under Hoover last season and has a total of five years as an assistant under her belt. Her other four seasons as an assistant came at Jacksonville University where she helped guide the Dolphins to three conference championship games in four seasons.
This is Hendrix’s first time as a head coach, and she received extremely high praise from Hoover upon her hiring.
“I’m so excited for DeUnna,” said Hoover. “She oversaw our game planning as well as scouting, and she’s very good with her X’s and O’s. I planned to bring her to Wake Forest, but obviously this is such a great opportunity for her.”
Hendrix will take over a Panther team that finished with a 20-13 record last season and achieved the programs’ second ever bid into the Women’s NIT. The Panthers will return four of five starters from last year’s team including Cheyenne Parker and Erin Reynolds. Reynolds finished last season averaging just less than 16 points per game while Parker won the Big South Defensive Player of the Year.
“This group of kids is fantastic to be around,” said Hendrix. “There’s no other place in the nation I’d rather be. It’s just a great environment surrounded with amazing people.”
Joining Hendrix on the bench this year will be two new assistants, Colby Tilley and Erin Hawkins. Hawkins, a former teammate of Hendrix, has been brought in to strengthen the recruiting efforts, while Tilley, former head coach at Kennesaw State, will bring to the bench more in the way of game planning and game day adjustments. Assistant Kevin Nicholls will also remain on the staff as an attempt to minimize the change for the players.
“Kevin is a great asset to the program,” said Hendrix. “We couldn’t have done what we did last year without him.”
Although losing Hoover was a bit unexpected, especially after only one season, Hendrix seems more than capable of keeping the program headed in the right direction.