May 2, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech head women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph announced the hiring of M.L. Willis as the newest assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets.
Willis comes to Georgia Tech after four years at West Virginia and brings 13 years of coaching experience to the Yellow Jacket staff.
“I am extremely excited to join the Georgia Tech program,” Willis said. “I’m looking forward to coaching and competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is arguably the best women’s basketball conference in the country. With the facilities Georgia Tech has, the prestige of the Institute and the fantastic home that is Atlanta, the program has every opportunity to be successful and I want to help build on what Coach Joseph has already achieved here.”
During her time with the Mountaineers, Willis helped lead WVU to four NCAA Tournament appearances. West Virginia won at least 20 games in three of her four years, including a program-best 29 victories in 2009-10. In only her second year, Willis and the Mountaineers posted the best start ever for a WVU team as the Mountaineers began the 2010-11 season 19-0 and had the No. 1 ranked scoring defense nationally for five weeks. WVU won three straight games over top-25 opponents for the first time in school history during the 2011-12 season.
Willis drew on her expertise with posts and forwards at West Virginia to help develop Asya Bussie into a 2009-10 All-Big East Freshman Team unanimous selection. Bussie went on to earn first team All-Big East as a junior in 2011-12. Willis also coached All-Big East selections Liz Repella, Sarah Miles and Korrine Campbell while at WVU. In 2012-13, forward Jess Harlee was selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
“I am very excited to add someone of Malikah’s caliber to our coaching staff,” Joseph said. “She has tremendous experience as both a player and a coach, which will be a great asset to our players. Malikah is one of the top up-and-coming post coaches and recruiting coordinators in the game, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with her.” Willis arrived in Morgantown after two years as an assistant coach at Norfolk State. During her three previous seasons at Elizabeth City State, Willis coached post player Celeste Trahan, who became the first player in Division II history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,500 rebounds in a career. Willis also held assistant coach positions at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago State and Cheyney University.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Willis played at Christ the King High for three years and spent her senior season at Trinity High in Cleveland, Ohio. Christ the King was the No. 1 nationally ranked prep squad and won the national title in 1993. During her senior season, Willis helped Trinity High gain similar recognition as her team was ranked No. 2 after winning the national title and she was named a Parade All-American.
Willis was recruited to the University of Iowa by Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer where she was a part of the No. 1 ranked recruiting class. The Hawkeyes won the 1995 Big Ten regular season title and consecutive Big Ten Tournament titles in 1995 and 1996.
A four-year letterwinner at Iowa, Willis earned bachelor’s degrees in media studies and African-American studies in 1998. She played professionally for Color Cap Tybnik of Poland and Tapiola Honka of Finland in 1999, and Brazil’s Santa Maria Club in 2000.
In 2011, Willis was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum. In addition, she was selected to attend the prestigious Villa 7 Consortium in 2013, which brings together university athletic directors and elite assistant basketball coaches in an effort to prepare the next generation of college basketball leaders.
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