Stollings Introduced as New Gophers Women's Coach

Updated: 04/09/2014 9:32 AM
Created: 04/07/2014 1:07 PM
By: Nick Tabbert

VCU's Marlene Stollings was officially unveiled as the new Gophers women's basketball head coach on Tuesday.

She met with members of the media at Williams Arena during a press conference to announce her arrival to campus.

She was already on campus Saturday though to begin contract talks with the University.

"This is an incredibly special moment in my life. I am deeply honored to be sitting here as the next basketball coach at the University of Minnesota," Stollings said. "It's exciting for me to come into a program with the amount of talent that exists here."

Stollings signed a contract for six years. She will make slightly less than her predecessor Pam Borton - $425,000 a year compared to Borton's $485,000 a year. Borton was fired on March 28th after 12 seasons.

Over the next few weeks Stollings will put together a staff. She did not say how many members of her Virginia Commonwealth University staff would join her.

She was hired at VCU by Mike Ellis, who is now the Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Minnesota. She coached VCU for two seasons and led them to a 22-10 record this past season. She previously was the head coach at Winthrop.

Gophers Athletics Director Norwood Teague, the former AD at VCU, was seated next to Stollings at the press conference. He said he is excited to see the new style of play his coach will bring.

"The up tempo will be fun for us to watch, and it will be fun for [the team]," Teague said.

Stollings said her program will be built on discipline, accountability and togetherness. She said she wants to create an offensive machine that is high-powered and hard to guard.

The defense, she said, will be generated as a result of the offense.

"We will play an exciting brand of basketball," she said. "We want to develop an offensive machine that is high-powered and hard to guard, one in which our ladies will enjoy playing and one in which you will be excited to watch."

Stollings grew up in Beaver, Ohio, where she finished her high school career in 1993 as the leading scorer in Ohio history with 3,514 points.

She began her college career at Ohio State before transferring to Ohio University, where she finished eighth in the nation in scoring her senior year.

"So I know what it's like to be a little girl and have a childhood dream to play for your state school and the Big Ten Conference," she said. "There's no bigger stage."

The Gophers will have a solid lineup next year. Current stars Rachel Banham and Amanda Zahui B. will receive help from a highly-regarded recruiting class featuring local talents Grace Coughlin from Benilde-St. Margaret's and Carlie Wagner of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.

The Gophers missed the NCAA tournament this season and fell to South Dakota State in the third round of the WNIT. It's been four seasons since Minnesota

Now under Stollings, the expectation to make the bigger tournament has never been higher.

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