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New Women's Basketball Head Coach Hired

June 11, 2007

The head coach at Portland State University, a Division I school, has been hired to lead the Triton women’s basketball program, officials announced Monday. Charity Elliott becomes only the fifth head coach in the 36-year history of the program and takes over a squad that posted a 27-5 overall record and qualified for the NCAA Division II Final Four last season.

“We are thrilled to have Charity on board as our new women’s basketball coach,” said Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards. “She is extremely qualified and will bring a wealth of passion and knowledge to this program that will help us to maintain our standing among the nation’s elite.”

Charity Elliot (Photo / Steve Brenner)
Charity Elliot (Photo / Steve Brenner)

Elliott replaces former UCSD Coach Janell Jones who posted a 50-10 record in her two seasons at the helm before leaving to become the head coach at Mercer University, a Division I program located in Macon, Ga.

“I am very excited to be a part of the UCSD family,” said Elliott. “This is a position I have always had my eyes on because of the program’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence. The location was another key factor for me as I have always considered San Diego my second home.”

Elliott comes to UCSD after spending the previous three seasons as the head coach at Portland State, a NCAA Division I member that competes in the Big Sky, where she produced one of the nation’s biggest turnaround stories.

After the Vikings went 3-23, including 1-13 in the Big Sky Conference, during her first year in 2004-05, Portland State jumped to 12-16 and 6-8 in the conference during her second season. The nine-win improvement ranked among the nation’s top 20, and the Vikings qualified for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time since 2002-03 season.

In what would turn out to be her final campaign with Portland State last year, Elliott guided the Vikings to a 12-18 overall record and an 8-8 mark in Big Sky play. Portland State’s season would come to an end last year after a 77-67 loss to Weber State in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament.

Elliott took over the Portland State job after serving as an assistant coach for Arkansas for one season where she helped the Razorbacks to a 16-12 mark. Prior to that position, she was the head coach at Cal Baptist, a NAIA school in Riverside, where she guided the Lancers to a 16-16 record in her final year, snapping the program’s 10-year streak of losing seasons.

During her coaching career she also served in assistant roles with Southwest Baptist (a Division II school that compiled a 56-28 record during her three years), Southwest Missouri State (her alma mater), and San Diego State (under head coach Beth Burns in 1993-94).

A former Division I player, Elliott began her career at Rice University where she played for two seasons. She averaged 16 points per game as a sophomore before transferring to Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State). While at SMS, Elliott helped the Bears to a 31-3 record as a senior and the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance in 1992.

In addition to UCSD’s Final Four appearance last year, the Tritons also captured the program’s first-ever CCAA Championships, posting a 19-3 record in league play. UCSD also would go on to earn the top-seed in the West Regional, hosting the event in RIMAC Arena where the Tritons would defeated No. 2 Chico State by 17 points to earn its first-ever NCAA Division II West Region Championship.

“My immediate goal is to continue the recent tradition of success in this program,” added Elliott. “What Coach Jones did here was remarkable and I am looking forward to the challenge of taking this program a step or two further.”

The program returns 14 student-athletes from last year’s squad including two starters, junior Michelle Osier and senior Jillian Ricks. Osier is a two-time First Team All-CCAA honoree and has averaged 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game through her first two seasons on the La Jolla campus. Ricks averaged 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in her first season for the Tritons after transferring in from Orange Coast College prior to last season.

Also returning is senior sharpshooter Meaghan Noud. Last year, as a junior, she ranked fourth on the team in scoring with her 9.5 points per game while sinking 36 3-pointers, which ranked second on the squad.

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