Just weeks after Oregon State lured LaVonda Wagner away from the Blue Devil coaching staff, Duke turned around and mined a different PAC-10 school to find her replacement. Tia Jackson, formerly an assistant coach at UCLA, will officially join the Blue Devil coaching staff June 1 and will bring a decade of coaching experience to the program.
“She is a great addition to our staff because she has a great passion for the game, and her desire to be a head coach makes her want to learn so much,” head coach Gail Goestenkors said. “Tia has been vital to the reemergence of UCLA as a national contender. We look forward to having her join our Duke family.”
Jackson has spent her last five years at UCLA, where she served as the recruiting coordinator in each of those years. She brought in two top-10 recruiting classes in her time there as well as four McDonalds or WBCA All-Americans.
“She’s a tremendous recruiter and a great people-person,” Goestenkors said. “She’s never met a stranger.”
Jackson also spent a year at Stanford as an assistant coach and four years on the coaching staff at Virginia Commonwealth. She graduated in 1995 from Iowa, where she was a fifth-year senior when Duke assistant coach Shannon Perry was a freshman. Goestenkors said that relationship, along with the one Jackson forged with assistant coach Gale Valley from the summer recruiting circuit, helped attract Jackson to Durham.
“I am very excited about becoming a part of the Duke women’s program,” Jackson said. “Duke has become a powerhouse in this game, and becoming a part of that is a thrill.”
She will work mainly with Blue Devil wings and forwards. Previously, Wagner had been in charge of the Blue Devils’ post players.
“She complements the rest of the staff very well,” Goestenkors said. “Chemistry is just as important on the coaching staff as on the team, and we’ll have that.”
In other news, Goestenkors was named head coach for USA women’s basketball Under-19 team, which is set to compete at the World Championships in Tunisia in July. In addition, fifth-year senior Monique Currie, rising junior Alison Bales and rising sophomore Wanisha Smith were invited to the national team trials, which begin today in Colorado Springs, Colo.
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