Stollings tapped for head coach

The U will replace Pam Borton with the former head coach of Virginia Commonwealth.

Newly chosen University of Minnesota womens basketball coach Marlene Stollings coached at VCU before being hired with the Gophers.

Photo courtesy of VCU athletics

Newly chosen University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings coached at VCU before being hired with the Gophers.

by Jack Satzinger

Marlene Stollings has been hired as the new head coach for the Gophers women’s basketball program, University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague announced Monday afternoon.

Stollings takes over as head coach less than two weeks after former head coach Pam Borton’s dismissal March 28.

“I am extremely proud to be named the head coach at the University of Minnesota,” Stollings said in a release. “Minnesota has a great tradition, and I cannot wait to be part of it.”

Stollings served as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth for the last two seasons, compiling a 33-29 record. She led a dramatic turnaround this season, as the Rams went 22-10 before bowing out in the first round of the WNIT last month. That 22-10 record was the third-best record in VCU program history.

Stollings served as the head coach at Winthrop before she worked at VCU, guiding that team to an 18-13 record in her only season on the job. Before that, the Beaver, Ohio, native was an assistant coach at Ole Miss, Saint Louis, Wright State, New Mexico State and Jacksonville.

In the release, Teague highlighted Stollings’ “up-tempo style,” which should help the Gophers put more points on the board next season.

Minnesota ranked 149th in the nation at 68.7 points per game last season, despite the fact that it trotted out Rachel Banham, the Big Ten’s top scorer.

Stollings’ VCU squad, on the other hand, scored 75.8 points per contest, good for 36th in the nation.

That new fast-paced offense should bode well with the elite scoring talent that the Gophers will return next season.

Stollings inherits a dynamic inside-outside duo, comprised of Banham and freshman center Amanda Zahui B. On top of that, coveted incoming freshman Carlie Wagner — the 54th-ranked player in the class of 2014, according to ESPN — will likely don the maroon and gold next season.

Wagner’s mother told the Minnesota Daily after Borton was fired that she expects her daughter to honor her commitment to play for the Gophers next season, even with a new coach.

Wagner, who scored 53 points in the Minnesota girls’ basketball state tournament last month, could be the third scoring option the team so desperately needed this season. She could also become a huge part of Stollings’ high- powered offensive scheme.

It’s not surprising that Stollings embraces a high-scoring system — as a player, she shot the lights out.

She graduated from Ohio University in 1998, but before that, she rewrote Ohio’s high school basketball record books, amassing 3,514 points in her career.

“I am excited for our student-athletes and fans, as Marlene will bring an energetic style of basketball to Williams Arena,” Teague said in the release.

Stollings will be officially introduced as head coach Tuesday at 4 p.m.