North Texas Daily

New women’s basketball head coach cleans shop

New women’s basketball head coach cleans shop

New women’s basketball head coach cleans shop
June 12
01:41 2015

Jesse Priest | Staff Writer

Jalie Mitchell has wasted no time getting reacquainted with Denton, overhauling the roster and hiring a new coaching staff for the women’s basketball team’s upcoming season.

The top priority for Mitchell was to find a house, and she did. Mitchell’s new house is just minutes away from campus and close to her family. Back at her Alma Mater, she can once again call UNT her home.

She needed a new car, too. Mitchell’s new silver 2015 GMC Acadia — courtesy of the university — went well with her $155,000 per year base salary. When you add incentives and raises, the overall value of the four-year contract is about $750,000.

After a 5-24 season for North Texas, head coach Mike Peterson and UNT mutually agreed to part ways. Enter Mitchell, who needed to replace the whole coaching staff, something that usually happens when a head coach leaves a program.

So far, Mitchell has hired four positions on her coaching staff: an associate head coach, a recruiting coordinator and two assistant coaches.

For the associate head coach position, Mitchell hired Bobby Brasel, who was a University of Arkansas-Little Rock assistant coach for two seasons. Brasel was also a member of the coaching staff at University of South Alabama for seven seasons and head women’s basketball coach for seven seasons at Garden City Community College in Kansas.

“He has been in the business for a number of years and knows the Xs and Os of the game,” Mitchell said. “He is going to be my right hand man.”

Aisha Stewart from Arkansas State University was hired as the recruiting coordinator. She helped guide Arkansas State to a 24-11 record in the 2013-14 season, and is poised to do the same at North Texas.

“It’s going to take work,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be a process. We know it’s not going to change overnight. We’re definitely trying to implement a new culture here.”

Stewart and Brasel have a history, spending five seasons together at South Alabama on the coaching staff. Before that, when Stewart played for Independence Community College in Kansas, she faced off against her best friend who played for Garden City Community College, where Brasel was the coach.

It was the beginning of what would become a successful relationship between Brasel and Stewart, leading to many wins on the court. The next time they’d see each other was when Stewart coached at Allen Community College from 2005 to 2006. Her team played against Garden City, where Brasel was still head coach. They kept in touch from then on.

“Later, when I was at South Carolina State, [Brasel] moved to South Alabama, and they had a spot open so I filled it,” Stewart said.

Stewart said she believes their relationship can only help the team progress further.

“When you’re associated with good people that work hard and have a passion for what they do, those kind of people tend to gravitate towards each other,” Brasel said. “It always helps to know how people work.”

North Texas alum Kasondra Foreman was added to the staff as an assistant coache. Foreman was recruited and coached by Mitchell in the 2011-12 season, when Mitchell was an assistant coach under Karen Aston. Foreman said she was grateful to get the opportunity to come and assist her former coach and mentor.

“She’s honest, loyal and she sold me a dream,” Foreman said. “So far it’s come true.”

During the first weeks as head coach, Mitchell worked the team on fundamentals like ball handling and shooting for two hours a week. The players hustled six hours a week off the court, building their strength and stamina.

“They’ve been really hungry and excited about the new things we are doing. I think they are ready for this,” Mitchell said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Mitchell sat down with each player and discussed her vision and blueprint for the team and for the upcoming season.

“If you miss a shot, it’s not the end of the world. You have to go get your rebound and put it back in and you will forget you ever missed it,” Mitchell said.

She also wanted to hear from the players.

“They all mentioned discipline,” Mitchell said. “There was no collaboration beforehand or anything. They all said that word.”

Mitchell has brought in five new players so far — Nekia Jones, Kelsey Criner, Terriell Bradley, Stabresa McDaniel and Tyara Warren — all of whom are originally from Texas, to help the team grow and turn the program around. All except Criner will sit out this upcoming 2015-16 season to satisfy NCAA rules.

Mitchell is preaching the idea of change and the importance of kicking old habits.

“In order to make a difference, you have to be different,” Mitchell said. “You can’t just continue to do the same things that you’ve been doing and expect a different result. You have to be different.”

Editor’s Note: In the print publication of this story, it read that “Tron Griffin joins the coaching staff as both an assistant with recruiting and as a post-player coach. Griffin spent his previous three seasons with Prairie View A&M University as an assistant coach.” Tron Griffin was not hired by UNT. The North Texas Daily regrets the error.

Featured Image: Women’s basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell left the University of Texas, where she was an assistant coach,  to return to her alma mater. Edward Balusek | Editor-in-Chief

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