Gophers hire Stollings to replace Borton

Marlene Stollings will be the 11th head coach in Minnesota women’s basketball history.

by Jack Satzinger

Marlene Stollings is 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 was fired on 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 the job. Before that, the Beaver, Ohio, native was an assistant coach at Ole Miss, Saint Louis, Wright State, New Mexico State and Jacksonville.

Teague highlighted Stollings’ “up-tempo style” in the release, 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 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 the Gophers return next season.

Stollings inherits a dynamic inside-outside duo comprised of Banham and freshman center Amanda Zahui B. And 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 last month 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 state girls basketball tournament last month, could be 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 Stollings embraces a high-scoring system as she shot the lights out as a player. She graduated from Ohio University in 1998, but before that, re-wrote Ohio’s high school basketball record books amassing 3,514 points over the course of her career.

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

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

This story is developing. Check back for updates throughout the afternoon.