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Monday, April 7, 2014
Minnesota hires Marlene Stollings

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota has hired Marlene Stollings from VCU as the 11th coach in the history of the women's basketball program.

The university scheduled an introductory news conference for Tuesday.

"Her up-tempo style, ability to recruit the nation's best talent and successful track record are undeniable," Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said Monday. "I am excited for our student-athletes and fans, as Marlene will bring an energetic style of basketball to Williams Arena."

Stollings has four seasons as a head coach on her resume, the last two at VCU. After the Rams went 11-19 her first year, they improved to 22-10 with a spot in the WNIT. Stollings guided a turnaround at Winthrop in 2011-12, too, when the Eagles posted their second winning season in the past 26 years of the program. She was the interim head coach at New Mexico State in 2002-03.

The 1998 graduate of Ohio University, who started her college playing career at Ohio State, has also been an assistant at Mississippi, Saint Louis, Wright State, New Mexico State and Jacksonville. Stollings had a record-setting career at Eastern High School in Beaver, Ohio, and still holds the state's all-time scoring record for either gender with 3,514 points -- ahead of LeBron James, who had 2,657 points.

In a statement provided by the university, Stollings thanked Teague and President Eric Kaler for their belief in her vision. Teague came from VCU, too, but he had already taken over the Gophers when Stollings was hired there.

"Minnesota has great tradition, and I cannot wait to be part of it," she said. "I am looking forward to meeting the team and great fans of Gopher basketball."

VCU set a school record last season with an average of 75.8 points per game, posting a pair of 112-point games.

Stollings will inherit a team that finished 22-13 but missed the NCAA tournament for a fifth straight year, prompting the firing of Pam Borton last month. Borton has the most wins in program history, with a 236-152 record over 12 seasons, but since taking the Gophers to the Final Four 10 years ago the success was not sustained. This season, they went 0-8 against the top five teams in the Big Ten.

Stollings will have a pair of stars in senior-to-be guard Rachel Banham and center Amanda Zahui B, who was voted the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Banham led the conference in scoring, and Zahui B was the top rebounder. Also, guard Carlie Wagner is the highlight of the incoming recruiting class. Wagner was the state's all-time leading scorer at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva High School.