STARKVILLE — Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer announced Wednesday the hiring of Texas A&M assistant coach Johnnie Harris as his as associate head coach.
Harris served as the Aggies’ special teams coach. She helped guide Texas A&M to four Sweet 16 appearances in her five seasons, including the program’s first national championship in 2010-11.
“I am excited about coach Harris and what she brings to the table,” Schaefer said. “She has tremendous respect in the coaching community. Not only is she an outstanding recruiter, but she sees the game in the same light as I do. She knows how we will want things done, and this will allow her to be involved in the day-to-day operations of our program. We have sat on the bench together the past five years, and I know she will be a tremendous asset on our bench here at Mississippi State University.”
During her tenure in College Station, Harris helped sign and tutor junior college All-Americans Danielle Adams and Tanisha Smith. Adams earned MVP of the 2011 Final Four. The WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars selected Adams with the 20th pick in the league’s draft that spring. Adams was named to the league’s All-Star game in her inaugural season.
With Harris’ guidance, Smith earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and conference all-tournament honors in 2009. The Seattle Storm selected Smith with the 22nd pick in the 2010 WNBA draft.
Heralded as one of the nation’s premier recruiters, Harris has been an integral part of Texas A&M signing classes that have rated in the top 20 nationally.
She helped the Aggies land the nation’s No. 2 class this past year. That class included a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans — Jordan Jones and Courtney Williams.
TAMU’s 2010 class, which included McDonald’s All-American and the nation’s top post player Karla Gilbert, rated third nationally. The two years prior she helped notch the nation’s fifth- and sixth-rated classes.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be the associate head coach at Mississippi State,” Harris said. “I have worked alongside coach Schaefer for five years, and I fully believe in his determination to building a championship program here at Mississippi State. We are ready to get to work achieving our goal of bringing championships to Mississippi State.”
Prior to her stop in College Station, Harris spent three seasons at the University of Arkansas, helping land some of the Lady Razorbacks’ top recruiting classes. She signed Laura Ervin, a junior college All-American who went on to garner second-team All-SEC accolades, as well as Freshman All-SEC selection Donica Cosby.
In 2007, she inked Gatorade players of the year Whitney Zachariason (Arkansas) and Morgan Boyd (Kansas) as Arkansas finished with one of the nation’s top-40 classes. Harris also recruited one of the top five point guards in the nation in Shania Arnold.
Harris has had the opportunity to learn from some of the game’s top coaches, including Hall of Famer Kay Yow at North Carolina State. She joined the program in the 2003-04 season and immediately helped the squad to the NCAA tournament for the first time in two years.
Harris and her fellow coaches helped NC State sign JUCO player of the year Tiffany Stansbury, who went on to play with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx.
Her first recruiting class in Raleigh was rated as one of the best in the nation. She also garnered a commitment from Gillian Goring, the nation’s No. 1 post player who went on to play for the Washington Mystics.
Harris also served as assistant coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she helped bring in key players who led the school to the NJCAA Final Four in 2004. In two seasons coaching under Louis Whorton, she inked the nation’s No. 1 class and helped the Lady Lions to a 34-8 record. UAFS’ 2002-03 team went 26-2 and won a share of the Bi-State Conference championship.