Kaleena Coleman Named Women's Basketball Coach
Clayton State University Director of Athletics Tim Duncan has announced that Kaleena Coleman, after serving in an interim capacity this season, has been named to the permanent position of head women's basketball coach, effective immediately.
A fixture in Laker women's basketball for the last 12 years, Coleman has been a part of the most successful period in the program's history, as both a player and a coach.
"Kaleena performed above expectations during a very challenging year," says Duncan. "After the departure of her longtime coach and mentor Dennis Cox in late summer, she did an outstanding job of taking over, hiring a staff and keeping the team together as a cohesive unit, all while battling through significant injuries to key players throughout the year."
Not only did her team fight through adversity to perform on the court, they did so off of it as well. There was a significant increase in the team GPA from recent years and the squad produced the most community service hours of any of Clayton State's 12 athletic programs."
Taking over for the legendary Cox in late July, Coleman inherited a roster with only eight returning players. She led the team to a 17-12 overall record, nearly knocked off some of the nation's best programs and earned the number three seed out of the Peach Belt Conference's highly competitive West Division.
Coleman accomplished that while battling through a number of injuries to key players all season long, sometimes to the point where she had only eight available on game day, and developing a rapport with a largely new roster, as well as her coaching staff, in an extremely short amount of time. Her vast experience within the program helped her to overcome that adversity and achieve great things.
After two years at Darton College, she was a two-year member of the Clayton State women's basketball team from 2003-05, playing in 56 games, and was part of the 2004-05 team that went a then-program record 25-7. That squad also earned the Lakers' first ever NCAA Division II Tournament berth, the first Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships and delivered the second biggest turnaround in DII, improving from just 10-18 the year before.
After her playing career, Coleman joined the staff of head coach Cox in 2005-06, becoming a full-time member in the 2007-08 season. She served in that role through the 2013-14 campaign before being named the interim head coach on July 29, 2014.
During her 12 years in Morrow, Ga., she has helped guide the Lakers to 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2004-14), three South Atlantic/Southeast Region titles with matching trips to the Elite 8 (2007, 2009, 2011) and the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship. That stretch has also included 17 NCAA Tournament victories, seven PBC regular season titles (2005, 2007, 2008, 2011-14) and three tournament championships (2005, 2007, 2010).
"I want to thank President Tim Hynes and Director of Athletics Tim Duncan for both their confidence in me as interim and now the opportunity to serve as head women's basketball team at Clayton State," says Coleman. "I feel extremely blessed and humbled by this opportunity, and having been a part of the program for the past 12 years, I'm excited at the vision of continuing the winning tradition Coach Cox and others before me established."
I would also like to thank Coach Cox for preparing me to take on this challenge. He always told me to believe in myself and that I was ready to be a head coach. I'm grateful to continue to have him as a mentor as I begin this journey."
"We are proud to have Kaleena become the seventh head coach in the history of Laker women's basketball," adds Duncan. "Under her leadership, we fully expect to be back at the top of the Peach Belt Conference standings and in the national spotlight in the near future."
A 2006 graduate of Clayton State University with a Bachelors in Education, Coleman takes over as the full-time head coach immediately and will begin her first full season in that role beginning with the 2015-16 campaign.