It did not take long to realize that Kristy Curry was just who Alabama needed to take over the reins as head coach of the women’s basketball program. Since being formally introduced on May 16, 2013, Curry and her staff have established a culture that has helped the Crimson Tide make positive strides, both on and off the court, year after year.
Each season under Curry, who has now coached at Alabama for five seasons, has produced significant wins and new milestones. In 2017-18, UA earned its first victory in program history in Knoxville against Tennessee and graduated its winningest senior class in 16 years in Quanetria Bolton, Hannah Cook, Alana da Silva, Coco Knight, Meoshonti Knight and Ashley Williams. This group, along with several other key role players, helped Alabama record back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the late 90s. In addition, the team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in both 2017 and 2018 and made an appearance in the 2017 SEC Tournament quarterfinals, a first for the Tide in over a decade.
Three of Alabama’s 2018 seniors – Cook, Meo Knight and Williams – joined the 1,000-point club, marking the first time in program history that Alabama has had three 1,000-point scorers on the same team. Cook finished her career eighth in the UA record books in scoring (1,468) while also ranking first in three-point field goal attempts (781) and fourth in makes (262). Williams also had a record-setting career, finishing her four years in the crimson and white fifth in rebounding (859) and ninth in scoring (1,450).
In 2016-17, Ashley Knight and Jordan Lewis were two of the most impactful freshmen in the league. Knight led the SEC in overall blocks, becoming the first Alabama student-athlete in history to do so, and set the Alabama single-season record with her 90 rejections. Lewis, who started every game at the point guard position, became the Tide’s first Associated Press SEC Newcomer of the Year and was named SEC Freshman of the Week five times.
During the 2015-16 season, Curry guided Alabama to a win over women’s basketball powerhouse Tennessee, which was the first since 1984, ending a 42-game losing streak to the Lady Volunteers, and the first victory in the series in program history in Tuscaloosa. The Tide also made it back to the postseason after having been out for five consecutive years.
In 2014-15, Alabama reached double-digit wins in non-conference play for the first time since 2010, which included a victory over then 12th-ranked Nebraska.
Curry’s inaugural season at the Capstone saw seven Southeastern Conference victories, marking the most since the 2001-02 season. Included in those wins was the first in Lexington against Kentucky since 2002, the first against Georgia since 2004, to snap a 23-game losing streak to the Lady Bulldogs, and the first in program history at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym.
Overall, Alabama has won 84 games under Curry in her first five seasons in Tuscaloosa bringing her overall coaching record to 393-228 (.633) in 19 seasons.
Attendance has also increased each year of Curry’s tenure. While playing games at Foster Auditorium, her squads set new single-game attendance records each season, with the most recent on Jan. 17, 2016, when 3,732 were on hand for the Tide’s win over Georgia.
Another area that has seen dramatic improvement is the team’s involvement in community service. The program has taken part in several activities throughout local communities and established its Community Caravan. Alabama has visited and worked with several local organizations and groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Alberta Head Start, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Hoops for Heart at Huntington Place Elementary School, Upward Basketball, MDA Lock-Up, playing games and serving dessert to the residents of Capstone Village Retirement Community, making gingerbread houses with the students of the CrossingPoints transition program, Project Angel Tree and the program’s annual 5th Grade Fastbreak. The team was recognized for its efforts during the athletic department’s 2013-14 year-end banquet as the women’s team with the most service hours throughout the year.
Curry also received a special honor of her own at the 2014 Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Convention in Nashville, Tenn., as she was awarded the Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The award, established in 2008 to honor the late Kay Yow, recognizes a basketball coach who has coached according to Biblical principles, and to the heart, body and mind of the athlete.
Prior to arriving at The Capstone, Curry spent seven seasons at the helm of the Texas Tech Lady Raider basketball program where she compiled a record of 130-98 (570). She guided the Lady Raiders to a 21-11 record in 2012-13 and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
In her final season in Lubbock, senior guards Monique Smalls, Casey Morris and Chynna Brown picked up All-Big 12 Conference Team honors in 2012-13, led by Brown as a first-team selection. Tech was the only Big 12 team to have all three starting backcourt members named to the all-conference team.
In addition to her time on the court, Curry has spent time off the court contributing on several national and regional committees. She currently is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, serving on the Defensive Player of the Year Award committee and is also a member of the USA Today Sports Board of Coaches that votes on the NCAA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll.
After establishing herself as one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in Purdue history, where she coached from 1999-2006, Curry took over the reins of the tradition-rich program at Texas Tech on March 30, 2006.
On Nov. 23, 2007, Curry added another milestone to her resume as she captured her 200th career win in a 78-56 victory over Kennesaw State. That 2007-08 season also saw the Lady Raiders return to postseason play, as they competed in the WNIT.
In her first stint as a head coach, Curry was hired at Purdue in April of 1999, becoming the first women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to inherit a national championship-winning team. She led her first squad to four straight wins in the 1999-2000 season, extending Purdue’s school-record win streak to 34 consecutive games, a mark that ranks sixth in NCAA history.
During her seven years at the helm of the Boilermakers, Curry compiled a record of 179-51 (.778) and was 86-26 (.768) in Big Ten Conference games. Curry’s teams won two Big Ten regular-season (2001, `02) and three Big Ten Tournament (2000, `03, `04) championships. She also guided her teams to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Final Four and championship game in 2001. Curry became only the second coach in NCAA history to guide her team to the NCAA championship game in her second year as a head coach.
In her fourth season at Purdue, Curry collected her 100th career coaching win with a 74-48 victory against Indiana on Feb. 27, 2003. Curry needed only 126 games to reach that milestone, getting there faster than any coach in Purdue history. Curry also recorded her 100th victory quicker than coaching icons such as the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee, Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, Tara VanDerveer of Stanford and Jody Conradt of Texas.
Not only did Curry have successful teams, but she also had coached some very successful student-athletes in West Lafayette. Under Curry’s leadership at Purdue, Katie Douglas became the third player in Big Ten history, and the first Purdue player, to earn two Kodak All-America honors (2000, 2001). Douglas was the 2000 and 2001 Big Ten Player of the Year and was named the 2001 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. A two-time All-Big Ten pick, Douglas is one of six Purdue players from the Curry era to earn first team all-conference honors. Lubbock native Erika Valek, a four-year starting point guard for the Boilermakers, capped her career by receiving the 2004 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation’s top player under 5-foot-8.
The on-court success of Curry’s teams has carried over into the classroom as well. Curry has coached several all-conference, all-academic and All-America players over the span of 18 successful seasons, including 23 Southeastern Conference honor roll recipients. In seven years at Texas Tech, her student-athletes received Academic All-Big 12 honors 13 times and were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team five times. Curry’s student-athletes received Academic All-Big Ten distinction 24 times during her career at Purdue. Every Boilermaker who finished her playing career at Purdue during Curry’s tenure went on to graduate.
Curry began coaching in her home state of Louisiana, as she started at the prep level as a head coach at Weston (1988-90) and Mansfield (1990-91) high schools. From there, Curry quickly moved to the college ranks as an assistant at Tulane for two seasons (1991-93). She then spent a year at Stephen F. Austin (1993-94) before moving on to Texas A&M for the next two seasons (1994-96).
She later returned to the state of Louisiana to be an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech for Hall of Famer Leon Barmore, during three seasons from 1996-99. In 1996-97, Louisiana Tech went 31-4 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Lady Techsters then posted another 31-4 record in 1997-98 and finished as the NCAA runner-up. In Curry’s final season in Ruston, Louisiana Tech went 30-3 and advanced to the NCAA Final Four.
Off the court, Curry has placed a high priority on giving back to the community. She has been heavily involved with several organizations, including: the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer, Joe Arrington Cancer Center, Junior League, of Lubbock, Salvation Army, South Plains Food Bank, Women’s Protective Services, Komen for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House, UMC Children’s Center, AMBUC’s of Lubbock, Shoes for Orphan Souls, Toys for Tots, United Way, Girl Scouts and Habitat for Humanity.
A highly sought-after guest speaker, Curry was a keynote speaker for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s “A Time for Women” event and has been a spokeswoman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Aisles of Smiles.” Curry also has made personal appearances for numerous fundraising events and has recorded several public service announcements.
A native of Olla, La., Curry graduated from LaSalle High School and then went on to earn her bachelor of science degree in health and physical education at Northeast Louisiana in 1988. She earned a master’s degree in education at Stephen F. Austin in 1994.
Curry and her husband Kelly have two daughters, Kelsey and Kendall.
Kelly Curry is in his sixth season with the Crimson Tide women’s basketball team, working primarily with the perimeters, while also handling scheduling, recruiting and scouting.
Curry has helped Alabama to back-to-back 20-win seasons and a pair of Women’s National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal appearances. In 2017-18, the Tide picked up its first win in program history in Knoxville against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and boasted three 1,000-point scorers in Hannah Cook, Meoshonti Knight and Ashley Williams for the first time.
In 2016-17, Alabama collected 22 wins, which was the most since the 1997-98 season and, in addition to reaching the quarterfinals of the WNIT, the Tide also advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference tournament for the first time since 2005.
Under his watch, point guard Jordan Lewis was named 2017 SEC Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press after earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team and being named SEC Freshman of the Week five times. She finished the season ranked fifth in the league in assists per game and 19th in minutes played, the highest of any freshman in those categories. Additionally, Cook ranked No. 1 in every three-point category in the SEC, including percentage, makes, makes per game and attempts.
Curry helped guide Alabama back to the postseason for the first time in five years to cap off the 2015-16 season. The Tide also snapped a 42-game losing streak to women’s basketball powerhouse Tennessee, marking the program’s first victory over the Lady Volunteers since 1984.
In 2014-15, Alabama collected double-digit wins in non-conference play for the first time since 2010 and had several finish in the final Southeastern Conference rankings, including Ashley Williams, who led the conference in field goal percentage for the entire season.
In his first season with the program, Alabama won seven SEC games marking the most since the 2001-02 season. Included in those victories was the first in Lexington against Kentucky since 2002, the first against Georgia since 2004 snapping a 23-game losing streak to the Lady Bulldogs, and the first in program history at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym. Overall, the Tide won 14 games, playing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation.
That year, Williams became the first Alabama player in three seasons to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. The two-time SEC Freshman of the Week and member of the Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team, Williams finished as the only freshman in the SEC to rank in the top 20 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding against league opponents. She came in at No. 17 in scoring, averaging 13.8 points, and No. 14 in rebounding with 6.9 boards per contest.
Curry came to Tuscaloosa after serving in the same position at Texas Tech from 2006-13. Throughout his tenure, the Lady Raiders made five postseason appearances and had three 20-plus win seasons.
Prior to his seven-year stint in Lubbock, Curry spent seven seasons at Purdue, where he also coached the post players and was heavily involved in recruiting and scheduling. The Boilermakers advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of those years, making the national championship game in 2001. In addition, Purdue won three Big Ten Tournament Championships (2000, 03, 04) and two Big Ten regular season titles (2001, 02).
Curry began his coaching career at Louisiana Tech in 1998, where he spent one season on the sidelines under Hall of Famer Leon Barmore. That year, the Lady Techsters posted a 30-3 record and reached the NCAA Final Four.
Curry graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in business administration management in 1990 and received his teaching certification in 1993 from Stephen F. Austin.
Curry and his wife Kristy have two daughters, Kelsey and Kendall.
Adrian Walters was officially hired as an assistant coach on May 1, 2019 and is entering his first season in the position.
This past year, Walters finished up his seventh season as an assistant coach at Auburn, primarily focusing on player development, post players and scheduling.
In his seven seasons at Auburn, Walters helped the Tigers to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two berths in the WNIT. The 2018-19 season saw the Tigers post their best season in a decade, finishing 22-10 overall and 9-7 in SEC play, earning its third NCAA Tournament bid in four seasons. Auburn set numerous program records in 2018-19, including single-season 3-pointers, single-game 3-pointers, fewest turnovers in a season and SEC road victories.
Tiffany Coppage is in her first season on the women’s basketball coaching staff, serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. She joined the Crimson Tide after spending the last two seasons in the same position at Northwestern.
In her first season in Evanston, Coppage helped guide the Wildcats to a 20-win season, which included a victory over then-No. 16 Florida and an upset win against Iowa in the opening round of the 2017 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. Northwestern also advanced in its 2018 conference tournament, knocking off Wisconsin in the first round.
Individually, four Wildcats – Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Lindsey Pulliam – earned all-conference honors under Coppage’s guidance. Coffey was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team and Deary won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award along with earning a spot on the All-Big Ten Second Team in 2017. Kunaiyi-Akpanah secured herself a position on the second team and Pulliam was named honorable mention and all-freshman in 2018. Coffey, who was the only player in the nation to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, was also an honorable mention All-American and went on to become the fifth overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft.
In her role as recruiting coordinator, Coppage led the charge behind Northwestern signing the No. 18 recruiting class in the nation and the top-rated class in the Big Ten in 2017.
Prior to her tenure with the Wildcats, Coppage spent three seasons at Northern Iowa as an assistant coach. During the 2015-16 season, Coppage helped the Panthers win 24 games, second-most in program history, and a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title. UNI also advanced to the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament that season.
Other stops for Coppage include Western Illinois (assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, 2011-13), Wichita State (graduate assistant, 2010-11) and the Missouri Valley Blazers AAU program (assistant coach, 2010).
In her first season in Tuscaloosa, the Tide had several notables including the most Southeastern Conference wins since the 2001-02 season with seven, as well as its highest seed in the conference tournament since 1999. Alabama collected its first win in Lexington against Kentucky since 2002, its first against Georgia since 2004, snapping a 23-game losing streak to the Lady Bulldogs, and the first in program history at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Coppage spent two years at Fort Scott Community College as a student-athlete before finishing her playing career at Missouri State. She started both seasons and was a two-year team captain for the Lady Bears.
Coppage earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in general business from Missouri State in 2009. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in sports management from Wichita State in 2011.
Brian Johnson is in his third season at Alabama and first as the director of operations. He recently completed his second year on staff, serving as the coordinator of player development, recruiting and video operations, during his first two seasons.
JJohnson came to Tuscaloosa after having spent four years as a manager for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers women’s basketball team. While in Knoxville, Johnson assisted in several areas of the program including operations, video and graphics. From the operations side, he helped coordinate team travel, practices, summer camps and male practice players. Johnson also spent time with the video coordinator filming practice, making highlight videos, preparing scouting reports and uploading game footage for film exchange. In addition, he gained experience with creating graphics for social media and recruiting.
Johnson completed his Bachelor of Science in education with a concentration in recreation and sport management and a minor in business administration from the University of Tennessee in 2016. He recently finished his Master of Science in human environmental sciences with an emphasis in sports business management in August 2018 from The University of Alabama.
Over the last three years, Clark served as an assistant coach for the University of the Incarnate Word women's basketball program. During that time, he assisted in recruiting, video coordination, alumni relations, digital content, social media, scouting and more.
Prior to his time at UIW, Clark was the graduate assistant for the Arkansas women's basketball program from 2014-16. He was instrumental in an NCAA Tournament appearance and first round victory in 2014-15. His duties included assisting with day-to-day operations, organizing and recruiting the male practice team, film breakdown, film exchange, player development and practice planning.