UMass Lowell Welcomes Harris as WBB Head Coach
Story courtesy GoRiverHawks.com
LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell Director of Athletics Dana Skinner named former United States Naval Academy Associate Head Coach Jenerrie Harris as the new head coach of the River Hawks' women's basketball program on Thursday.
Harris, who will become the seventh head coach in program history, served as the associate head coach under Stefanie Pemper at Navy last season following four years as her assistant coach. She will officially begin her duties on July 1.
"We are very pleased that Jenerrie Harris will be leading our women's basketball program," said Skinner. "During her campus visit, Jenerrie displayed a clear vision of the future and demonstrated the enthusiasm that will be vital for the continued advancement of women's basketball at UMass Lowell."
The first-time head coach has been a part of three regular season championship teams and three Patriot League Tournament Championship teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament during her time in Annapolis.
"It's an exciting time for my family to become part of the River Hawk family and the UMass Lowell community as a whole," said Harris. "Everyone I have met or spoken to is invigorated by the excitement surrounding the campus and the transition to the NCAA Division I level. I would like to thank Chancellor Marty Meehan, Director of Athletics Dana Skinner and the search committee for providing me with the opportunity to join such an impressive city, university and athletics department at this historic time. "
"We believe Coach Harris will provide the program with a well-balanced combination of basketball expertise and leadership, and we're very excited about her capacity to build a successful Division I legacy," said Skinner.
Harris' previous positions include assistant coaching positions at Wright State (2006-2009) where she helped recruit former Washington Mystics guard Shey Peddy. She was also an assistant coach at Longwood from 2005 to 2006.
"There will be something from each one of my previous stops that I will bring with me," said Harris. "Most recently, I plan on using my experiences at Navy, after having the pleasure of learning under Stefanie Pemper who is one of the brightest minds in women's basketball.
"I've also seen firsthand what it takes to be a part of a school reclassifying from my time at Longwood. Two key components of that are a lot of patience and enthusiasm. I am very much looking forward to joining UMass Lowell on this journey."
Playing under Head Coach Bernadette Mattox, Harris became the first walk-on during Mattox's tenure to earn a scholarship and start at the University of Kentucky. Harris graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 2004.
What They're Saying About Jenerrie Harris…
"Jenerrie will bring intelligence, hard work, and integrity to the River Hawks women's basketball program. She'll be creative and collaborate with others to win games. She was a great recruiting coordinator for us, a terrific post coach and someone whose opinions on basketball were very helpful to me. People respond to her and she'll be wonderful for the entire Lowell community. She's seen first hand a program that never won a league championship win three so she'll bring invaluable knowledge to UMass Lowell. She is a great hire and I'm thrilled for her and her family to have this opportunity."
-Stefanie Pemper, Navy women's basketball head coach
"Jenerrie is one those people that is really committed and determined. She wasn't the most athletically gifted, but she was a tireless worker and there is no doubt in my mind she will be successful at UMass Lowell because she knows what it takes, on and off the court."
-Bernadette Mattox, Former Connecticut Sun assistant coach and former University of Kentucky women's basketball head coach
"All of us here at Kentucky are very happy for Jenerrie and very proud of her. We know UMass Lowell has made an outstanding choice for a head coach. As a player at UK she always worked very hard. She always was very intentional about getting the most out of her ability and the thing I remember about her the most is she asked really great questions. She always asked questions which signaled to me that she really wanted to be good. I've seen that same type of desire in her journey as an assistant coach and I just think she is going to be outstanding. She is a person of high character with strong core values and a strong work ethic. I just think she will be a great coach at UMASS Lowell.
-Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky women's basketball head coach
"She has a great sense of passion and a commitment to the student-athletes, all while keeping the appropriate priorities."
-Bob Grant, Wright State director of athletics