Karen Aston, an eight-year assistant to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt, has been named women's basketball head coach at The University of Texas. The announcement was made Tuesday morning by UT Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky.
"Karen has been a winner wherever she's been. She has a great intensity and love for basketball, and she cares about her players and gets the best out of them," Plonsky said. "She's an aggressive recruiter that operates with total integrity, and players that have come through her system have always been impressive with how hard they play. Karen's teams have always found ways to overachieve."
"Texas alumni and fans are familiar with Karen and have a high level of respect for her and what she's accomplished. She comes from the Texas Women's Basketball family, and she is the right person to carry on this the torch," Plonsky added.
Aston's appointment is effective immediately and runs through Aug. 31, 2017. She becomes the fourth head coach in the history of the Texas program, replacing Gail Goestenkors who resigned on March 19.
"First and foremost, I want to thank the administration at The University of Texas for this tremendous opportunity. To me, 'Texas' means an incredible sense of pride. That sense of pride was engrained over my eight years here as an assistant," Aston said. "When I moved back to this state last year, part of that reason was to return to the scene of Texas recruiting because I think Texas basketball is some of the very best out there. Being a Longhorn means excellence. It's everything that every young person in this state wants to be."
"You always want to thank those individuals that have had an impact on your growth as a coach and what led you to this point. Jody (Conradt) molded me in my career and I have an enormous amount of respect and love for what she means to this university. My goals and my ambitions are to carry on the tradition of Texas Women's Basketball. I'm excited about the challenge and thrilled to be a part of the storied Texas tradition," added Aston.
After four seasons as head coach at Charlotte (2007-11) and one year as head coach at North Texas (2012), Aston returns to Texas where she originally carved her reputation as an energetic leader and relentless recruiter.
Aston tripled the Mean Green's victory total in one season, as UNT went 15-16 during the 2011-12 season under her direction after winning just five games the previous year.
At Charlotte, Aston led the program to record-breaking heights with 86 victories in four seasons, including a school-record 27 wins in 2010-11. Aston led the 49ers to four-straight postseason appearances and the 2009 Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship en route to the school's second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. In her final season at Charlotte, Aston's squad advanced to the WNIT Final Four.
While on the Forty Acres from 1998-2006, Aston was instrumental in the Longhorns' trip to the 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four and a pair of "Sweet 16" appearances in 2002 and 2004.
During that span, Texas posted a 173-83 (.676) record that included seven NCAA Tournament appearances. The Longhorns also captured the 2003 Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, and UT shared the 2004 Big 12 regular season title. Aston was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach in July of 2000 after serving as UT's assistant coach for two seasons.
Aston spearheaded UT's signing of 25 nationally-recognized recruits, including seven McDonald's High School All-Americans and seven WBCA/Nike All-Americans. Two of those high school All-Americans -- Tiffany Jackson and Erika Arriaran -- were named National High School Players of the Year. All eight of the recruiting classes Aston attracted were nationally ranked, including the No. 1 class in the nation in 2005-06.
Aston originally came to Austin from the University of North Texas, where she served as an assistant coach for two seasons (1996-98). Prior to joining the North Texas staff, Aston was a restricted earnings coach at Baylor for two seasons (1994-96).
Following Aston's stint on the Forty Acres, she was named associate head coach at Baylor for the 2006-07 season. With Aston on board, the Lady Bears won 26 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.