The University of Arizona has named Adia Barnes its new head women’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Greg Byrne announced on Monday, April 4.
The leading scorer in Arizona women’s basketball history and a WNBA Champion, Barnes comes to Tucson after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for the past five seasons.
“This is an exciting day for the University of Arizona,” Byrne said. “Not only are we hiring an excellent basketball coach, who also excelled as a player, but we’re able to welcome one of Arizona’s all-time greats back to campus. We believe Adia’s combination of experience and energy, along with her understanding of this athletics department, made her the perfect fit to lead our women’s basketball program into its next phase. We’re looking forward to having Adia as a member of this department and we can’t wait for her to get started.”
Barnes joined the staff at Washington in 2011 and helped boost the Huskies profile in the Pac-12 and nationally, culminating in a trip to the Final Four this year. After three seasons on staff, Barnes was promoted to recruiting coordinator, where she handled all aspects of recruiting including budget, compliance and planning, in addition to her role in player development. Prior to Barnes' arrival for the 2011-12 season, Washington hadn’t posted a 20-win season in six years. Since then, the Huskies have posted five straight, including a 26-win season this year.
“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be the next head coach at my alma mater,” Barnes said. “I’m looking forward to working with the young women in Arizona’s basketball program as well as the wonderful people in McKale. Arizona has such great resources and some of the best facilities in women’s basketball. I also believe the Tucson community does a great job of supporting the women’s basketball program, which we’ll need as we navigate the toughest conference in the country, the Pac-12. I want to thank Greg Byrne and the people in Arizona Athletics for this opportunity as well as coach Mike Neighbors for mentoring and preparing me for this step. I believe we can compete for championships in the Pac-12 and nationally and I can’t wait to return to Tucson and get started.”
A three-time all-conference selection, Barnes was voted USBWA first-team All-American and Pac-10 player of the year in 1997-98. Her 2,237 career points currently rank ninth on the Pac-12’s all-time scoring list. After her collegiate career, Barnes played 12 seasons in the WNBA and overseas. She won a WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm in 2004, was named to the Storm’s All-Decade Team, and also played for Cleveland, Minnesota and Sacramento. Her overseas professional career included stops in Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, Russia and Italy.
In addition to her playing and coaching career, Barnes has been extremely active in the community through the Adia Barnes Foundation, which mentors under-served youth and conducts charitable events and community service projects such as school supply drives. Barnes spent 10 years as the Seattle Storm’s TV analyst for NBA TV and FOX Sports Northwest and also spent time as the color commentator for Storm radio broadcasts.
A native of San Diego, Barnes is married to Salvo Coppa, who coached for 14 seasons, including 10 professionally in Italy and with three separate national teams. She has one son, Matteo.
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