Pictured: Shea Ralph. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Athletics has announced the hire of Shea Ralph as the newest women’s basketball head coach.
Ralph joins the Commodores after spending 13 season with the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball program as an assistant coach. As a player at UConn and then as an assistant, Ralph was a part of 12 Final Four Appearances and won seven National Championships.
“It is with great honor and a full heart that I join Vanderbilt University as the next women’s basketball head coach,” says Ralph. “I have always been motivated and inspired by people who have a passionate pursuit of excellence. Vanderbilt’s rich, storied tradition of excellence speaks for itself, but I believe what sets us apart is the people. I am so excited to work alongside our amazing community in elevating our women’s basketball program back to an elite level. Together we will invest in each other and build a greatness that transcends the game of basketball.”
A Fayetteville, North Carolina native became a superstar athlete through playing for UConn and, though suffering from numerous knee injuries, she was a first-team All-American and the Honda Award winner as national player of the year while leading Connecticut to a national championship in 2000.
Ralph began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, but returned to Connecticut and joined Geno Auriemma’s coaching staff in 2008. During her time with the Huskies, she recruited and worked with players like Paige Bueckers, Maya Moore, and Breanna Stewart while mentoring 21 WNBA draft picks, including nine top-five picks and three No. 1 overall selections.
“Coach Ralph has earned the opportunity to take the reins of our women’s basketball program and transform it into what we all know is possible,” says Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Lee. “She knows what winning looks like, and she has the background and experience—as both a player and a coach—to develop our student-athletes into champions.”
Ralph is the sixth head coach in Vanderbilt women’s basketball history.