Texas A&M-Commerce Lady Lions Basketball
Complex: Texas A&M-Commerce University Fieldhouse
Coach: Vacant, (Nicole Anderson previous Coach)
Alma Mater: UCLA
Winningest Coach: Denny Downing, 2002-2009. (106-99 overall record)
Most Successful Team: 2006-2007, Lone Star Conference Champions, South Central Regional Champions, NCAA Division II Elite 8
Conference Championships: 1
Post Season Appearances: 18
NCAA National Tournament Appearances: 1
Texas A&M-Commerce has a lot of sports that have a ton of tradition and a lot of great teams. Women’s Basketball is not one of them, I am sorry to say. The school has only had one coach who won more than he or she lost, and that was Denny Downing, who left after a very good run in Commerce, including a team that was oh so close to being in the 2007 NCAA D2 Final Four. I was on campus when that team was playing, and I will tell you that was a fantastic group of players. Brittany Jordan was one of the best players and she is a Tyler native, so I got to know her pretty well when I was in Commerce. She was good and that entire group around her was good, but that has been the best ride the program has ever had. We know it can be done, it just has not been done.
Right now, the program has no Coach, and Nicole Anderson stepped down. From what I know, it was a mutual understanding. Coach Anderson did not see herself winning in Commerce, and AD Ryan Ivey did not see it either. One thing as I have spoken to AD Ivey that he always stresses is being in the right place and that a coach is a right fit for a program. Anderson is a young and smart coach, but I think she will serve well as an assistant at a large school with her playing experience on that level and with that being her background. This is a good group that lost a lot of games this year by less than 5 points, and it has a lot to do with how mature of a team you have. The good thing is, the program is used to being in post-season conference play and the players know that they can go there, to bigger heights. It is just a question of the right person coming in. Anderson was not a bad coach, just like Guy Morriss was not a bad Football coach, they were just not in the right place and did not have the fit or the mold to fit into what was needed to be successful. Commerce is an odd place and it takes a special case to be successful here in any sport.
With a new facility coming for Basketball games, the next Coach having success is paramount. I do not expect whoever the next coach is to just come in and destroy everything and everyone, but if you can get this group to a .500 record by next year, then I do believe that we can see that a tradition can be built. Ryan Ivey has hired 2 head coaches already, I have no doubt that his third one will be a good one. He faces a scenario similar to what he had in Football. He has a program that has proven it can be a winner, but has fallen on hard times. I am really excited as to how the program is going, but right now based on my metrics, this is a program that needs to not rebuild, but just build on what the teams from the Downing-era accomplished under the guise of a new head coach, a new culture and a fresh start. While the program needs to be put back together, I feel that this athletic department and group of Ladies on the squad next year will be turning us around sooner than later. Before then, you have to face facts as to what you have now, and that is a program that is in dire need of a shot of life.
Program Status: 1
Needs immediate rebuilding.