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Velaida Harris steps down as Weber State women’s basketball head coach after 5 seasons

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Mar 10, 2023

BROOKS NUANEZ, for the Big Sky Conference

In this March 11, 2019, photo, Weber State women's basketball coach Velaida Harris speaks to her team during a Big Sky Tournament first-round game against Eastern Washington in Boise, Idaho.

Weber State women's basketball head coach Velaida Harris has stepped down from her post, the university announced Friday night.

Harris, the sixth head coach in WSU's Division I history, led the Wildcats for five seasons, compiling an overall record of 29-116 (.200) that included a 15-81 (.156) mark in regular-season Big Sky games.

"Today I'm resigning as the head coach of Weber State University women's basketball," Harris said in a news release from the school. "I'd like to thank Jerry Bovee, Amy Crosbie, Norm Tarbox, and Derek Dawes for the opportunity to take over this program five years ago. When I was hired, I was charged with changing a culture, building community, raising academic standards, and graduating players. We did that.

"This is a basketball business and my job was to produce wins. We fell short. I would like to thank every Wildcat that played for me, all of our fans, and my wonderful assistant coaches, who are some of the best. I would also like to thank President (Brad) Mortensen. I believe we have made a tremendous impact. We represented Weber in a great way, and I'm proud of that!"

Weber State's 2022-23 season concluded Saturday, March 4, when the 10th-place Wildcats lost 63-52 to ninth-place Northern Colorado in the first round of the Big Sky Conference tournament, ending the season with a 6-25 record.

"We want to sincerely thank coach Harris for her time at Weber State and the impact she has made on our student-athletes in her five years and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors," WSU athletic director Tim Crompton said in the statement.

Harris concluded her original four-year contract in 2021-22 with the best season of her tenure: an 11-20 campaign that included a 6-14 record in Big Sky play, a first-round conference tournament win and five conference losses of four points or less and two more in overtime.

WSU had gone from losing by 16.5 points per conference game the season before to 7.9, but the 2022-23 schedule saw the Wildcats suffer multiple blowout losses in a 2-16 season, those 16 losses coming by 16 points each on average.

"Wins and losses aside, I couldn't have imagined playing for another coach these past 4 years," forward Jadyn Matthews tweeted Friday night. "The endless life lessons, and teaching me to become the best version of myself are moments I will cherish forever. I am better because of you. Thank you Coach V."

Matthews and fellow seniors Daryn Hickok and Laura Taylor -- typically the team's more productive players -- have planned to return as graduate students for a fifth year.

The search for the program's seventh head coach begins as the 45-day transfer portal window for non-graduate transfers officially opens Monday. The five-week regular signing period for high school seniors opens on April 12.

WSU currently has two players signed to the 2023 class, who signed in November 2022 during the early period: scoring combo guard Cheyanne Kemp, one of the best preps in Arkansas, and forward Taylor Smith of Pocatello, Idaho.


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