LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Matthew Mitchell was introduced Monday as
the first male coach in the 36-year history of women's basketball
Mitchell signed a five-year contract worth $250,000 annually,
plus incentives, to leave Morehead State and replace Mickie DeMoss,
whom he assisted at Kentucky for two years.
"Every move I've made has been a mission to prepare myself for
this moment," the 36-year-old Mitchell said. "I've also followed
my heart and it has led me to Kentucky. Two years ago when I was an
assistant here, I felt I needed the experience as a head coach to
be where I am today. I'm greatly appreciative of the opportunity
that I had at Morehead. I'm ready to be the head coach at
DeMoss resigned abruptly after four years at Kentucky, saying
she needed "some time to myself right now."
DeMoss, an assistant at Tennessee for 18 years, was 71-56 at
Mitchell was 30-29 in two seasons at Morehead State.
After inheriting a team that went 5-22, Mitchell led the Eagles
to a 16-13 finish in his first season. Morehead State set a school
record with 13 Ohio Valley Conference wins in his second season and
"Matthew Mitchell brings incredible passion and enthusiasm for
the women's basketball program at Kentucky," athletic director
Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. "He was here at the beginning
of the transition of this program and helped lay the foundation for
the growth that we've had. He aspires to continue the growth
pattern that Mickie DeMoss put in place over the last four years,
seeking to take Kentucky women's basketball to championship
While at Kentucky, Mitchell helped develop post players,
including senior center Sarah Elliott and power forward Jennifer
Humphrey, who graduated last year.
Elliott ranked in the top 10 of the Southeastern Conference in
rebounding and blocks, while Humphrey finished her career as UK's
second-leading career rebounder.
The players learned Sunday that Mitchell would be their new
coach and attended the news conference Monday.
"Coach Mitchell is a great person," Elliott said. "He will
make an awesome coach.
"When I first saw him walk through the door when we found out,
it was a big weight off my chest. I was so excited and happy it was
Mitchell was an assistant at Florida for three seasons and a
graduate assistant at Tennessee.
The appointment is pending approval by the UK Athletics
Association Board of Directors.