Cougars Name Kamie Ethridge Women’s Basketball Coach
PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Director of Athletics Patrick Chun announced Sunday the hiring of Kamie Ethridge as the next head coach of the Cougars’ Women’s Basketball program. Ethridge will be formally introduced at a press conference Tuesday, April 17 at 2 p.m. in the Cougar Football Complex media room.
“We are ecstatic to welcome Kamie Ethridge to Washington State University,” said Chun. “Our goal is to build a championship culture that develops every aspect of our student-athletes in women’s basketball. The first step in building this culture is bringing Coach Ethridge to the Palouse. She has demonstrated excellence since her playing days as a student-athlete, has won at the highest levels of the sport and has been a part of championship programs her entire career.
“Kamie is committed to creating an environment that delivers the best possible experience to our student-athletes,” Chun continued. “Her values, character and vision make her an exact fit for our goals in this next chapter of our basketball program.”
Ethridge arrives in Pullman following four seasons as the head coach at the University of Northern Colorado, where she posted a combined 83 victories and led the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament appearance this past season.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assume leadership of the Washington State University women’s basketball program,” said Ethridge. “I can’t adequately express the personal and professional excitement I feel about joining this program, athletic department, and university.
“Every good thing in basketball begins and ends with the quality of people we are surrounded by,” Ethridge continued. “I am convinced that at Washington State I will be surrounded by people of excellence in the athletic department, as well as throughout the academic community, Pullman and all of “Cougar nation.” I want to thank President Kirk Schulz, Athletic Director Pat Chun, and Deputy Athletic Director Anne McCoy , for believing in my ability to build Washington State women’s basketball into a Pac-12 power and NCAA qualifier.”
Ethridge spent a total of four seasons at Northern Colorado (2014-18), posting three 20-plus win seasons during that time, including a school-record 26 wins en route to being named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2018. She led UNC to a then-school record 22 wins in her first season before topping that mark in 2018. In addition, she guided the Bears to two postseason appearances in her four years.
Prior to UNC, Ethridge established herself as one of the premier teachers in the game. Her reputation was not just as a coach, but also as a player, earning a gold medal with the United States at the 1988 Olympics, winning an NCAA National Championship as a player at the University of Texas, and being inducted to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ethridge spent 18 seasons (1996-2014) as an assistant coach at Kansas State, where she was part of a staff that took teams to nine NCAA postseason tournaments, four WNIT postseason tournaments (including winning the 2006 WNIT Championship), and two Big 12 Championships. The Wildcats advanced to six Sweet Sixteen while totaling a record of 350-226 over that span.
In addition to her service with the Wildcats, Ethridge served a four-year term on the USA Basketball Women’s Player Selection Committee, which is responsible for the selection of numerous teams, including the World University Games, Pan American Games and Jones Cup teams. In the summer of 1999, she was invited to lead a point guard camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., for current, past and prospective USA Basketball talent.
Prior to Kansas State, Ethridge spent five seasons with Vanderbilt as an assistant coach from 1991-96. The Commodores won the SEC postseason tournament twice en route to advancing to the Sweet Sixteen all five seasons, including one Final Four trip in 1992-93. Ethridge played a major role in recruiting five high school Kodak All-Americans and 13 Gatorade State Players of the Year.
In her first year of coaching, Ethridge joined the Northern Illinois program that advanced to the WNIT Postseason Tournament.
Ethridge had a prestigious playing career at the University of Texas, including leading the Longhorns to the 1986 national championship, where she was named the Most Valuable Player. She served as a team captain for the Longhorns while putting together the first perfect season in NCAA Division I history, finishing the campaign 34-0. Ethridge and Texas advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen every season while moving on to the Elite Eight twice.
A two-time Kodak All-American, Ethridge was honored with the Wade Trophy and the Honda Broderick Cup, awarded to the top female student-athlete in the country, in 1986. The final jewel in her awards crown was the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Player of the Year Award, presented annually to the nation’s top senior collegian under 5-foot-6 in height, that same season.
Ethridge continued her playing career after Texas while competing on the international level. She was a member of the U.S gold medal-winning Olympic team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Ethridge also won gold medals for Team USA at the 1986 Goodwill Games, 1986 World Championships and the 1987 Pan American Games.