Wichita State Keitha Adams

Keitha Adams, the head women's basketball coach at UTEP, has been hired to take over Wichita State's program. She replaces Linda Hargroves, who stepped in for Jody Adams-Birch last season after she resigned mid-season. 

WICHITA, Kan. — Keitha Adams has been named the head women's basketball coach at Wichita State University, director of athletics Darron Boatright announced Wednesday night.

She replaces Linda Hargove, who stepped in for Jody Adams-Birch after she resigned mid-season. The Shockers went 15-16 overall and 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference this past season, finishing fifth in the league.

"We are excited to welcome Keitha Adams to Wichita State University as head coach of our women's basketball program," Boatright said. "I admire her experience in various levels of basketball and believe it has prepared her for this opportunity. Keitha has worked extremely hard and has earned everything that coaching has provided to her."

Adams, an Oxford, Kansas, native and Southwestern College graduate, is leaving UTEP after 16 years as head coach to take over at Wichita State. She also coached at Independence (Kansas) Community College, Winfield (Kansas) High School and Belle Plaine High School.

UTEP went 8-23 overall and 5-13 in Conference USA last season. The Miners tied for 11th in the 14-team league.

"Today is a very special day in my life," Adams said. "I'm extremely excited about being the head women's basketball coach at Wichita State University. I'd like to thank President John Bardo, Darron Boatright, and Linda Hargrove for this opportunity.

"I'm a small town Kansas girl who grew up watching the Shockers. I'm honored to now be a part of this great University!

"I'm excited to work with our players to build special memories in Charles Koch Arena that we will all cherish. I look forward to sharing my passion for this great game with Shocker fans, my friends and my family. Go Shocks!"

She is responsible for all four UTEP postseason bids (NCAA in 2012 and 2008; WNIT 2016 and 2014) and all four championships (2016 C-USA regular season, 2012 C-USA regular season and conference tournament and 2008 C-USA regular season) in school history.

UTEP is one of 10 programs nationally (Baylor, Chattanooga, FGCU, James Madison, Maryland, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Uconn) to have won 29+ games at least three times prior to the 2016-17 season.

All six Miner 20-plus win seasons were during Adams' tenure, including a school-record tying 29 in 2015-16.

UTEP cracked the top-25 poll in two seasons (2015-16, 2007-08), including being ranked in the final six weeks in '07-08, while receiving votes in eight campaigns total ('15-16, '13-14, '12-13, '11-12, '08-09, '07-08 and '06-07). UTEP has also been mentioned in the preseason poll three times, most recently garnering a trio of votes in 2012-13.

The only three-time Conference USA Women's Basketball Coach of the Year (2016, 2012 and 2008), in league history, Adams graduated every player who exhausted their eligibility at UTEP during her tenure.

UTEP's all-time win leader (284-209, 16 years), Adams is 411-246 overall as a collegiate head coach (21 years).

The Miners had no postseason bids, no conference crowns (let alone finish better than third), never advanced beyond the semifinals in the league tournament nor received a vote for a top-25 poll prior to her arrival.

During the past 11 years, UTEP has an average record of 22-11 and has achieved six top-100 final RPI rankings in that time frame.

UTEP put together one of the finest years in program history in 2015-16. The Miners equaled the school record for wins (29), took home the 2016 C-USA regular-season championship (16-2) and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 WNIT.

The Miners received votes in the USA TODAY Sports women's basketball coaches top-25 poll for six consecutive weeks, including breaking into the top 25 (#25) for the second time in school history the week of March 1-6. UTEP also picked up votes for a school-record 14 straight weeks in the AP Top-25 poll.

Adams came to UTEP after several successful years as head and assistant coach at Independence Community College in Independence, Kan.

At Independence C.C., Adams was the head coach for five seasons and guided the Lady Pirates to a 127-37 record, including back-to-back Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference titles in 1999-00 and 2000-01. Her teams also combined for a 35-1 conference record over her final two seasons.

In 2000-01, she paced the Lady Pirates to a 31-2 mark, the conference title and was named the KJCCC Eastern Division Coach of the Year. Her team also led the nation, averaging 94.0 points per game, and she coached the conference's freshman of the year. Independence ended the regular season rated fifth in the NJCAA poll.

During the 1999-2000 season Adams led Independence C.C. to a 28-5 record and her first conference crown. She also took her Lady Pirate squad deep into the Regional Tournament.

In her first three seasons as head coach, Adams's teams won 22, 24 and 22 games respectively and advanced to the Regional Tournament in each of those seasons.

While at Independence, Adams honed her athletes into all-conference, All-American and Academic All-American caliber players. Included were 22 all-KJCCC selections and five NJCAA All-Americans.

Adams also had an impressive track record of sending her student-athletes on to play at four-year schools. Fifteen of her former players went on to play NCAA Division I basketball, including two in the SEC, two in the Big 12, one in the ACC, three in the WAC and one in Conference USA. Svetlana Volnaya, who played at Virginia, was chosen in the third round by the Detroit Shock in the 2001 WNBA Draft.

While at Independence, four of her teams had cumulative grade point averages of 3.20 or better. The 1995-96 team was the NJCAA Academic Team of the Year after posting a 3.59 average. In 1996-97, her team was second in the nation with a team average of 3.29, while her team was fourth in 1997-98 (3.26).

Adams was an assistant coach at Independence C.C. for two seasons (1994-96) prior to being elevated to head coach. As the Lady Pirates' top assistant and recruiting coordinator, she helped the team fashion a 34-4 mark in 1995-96 and finish as the national runner-up at the NJCAA Tournament, limiting opponents to 57.4 points per game, a school record.

She also served as men's and women's tennis coach from 1994-95 at Independence. Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Adams coached basketball, softball, volleyball and track and field at Winfield High School in Winfield, Kansas.

She was also an assistant basketball coach at Belle Plaine (Kan.) H.S., from 1987-89. A native of Oxford, Kan., Adams graduated with a degree in health, physical education and recreation from Southwestern College in 1989.

Adams was Oxford High School's all-time leading scorer and earned all-state honors as a prep. Her jersey was retired in 1986.

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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