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Former assistant coach returns to Penn State following a head coaching stint at Clemson
Women's Basketball: Courtside with Coquese - Episode 901
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Itoro (E-tore-uh) Coleman enters year seven with the Lady Lion program and will work with the wing players, while also serving as Penn State’s defensive coordinator. In addition, Coleman plays a significant role in all recruiting efforts, opponent scouting and community outreach activities. Her enthusiasm and passion for the game shines through on a coaching staff dedicated to growing well rounded student-athletes and preparing them for the ups and downs of college basketball.
Coleman was a member of Washington’s initial Penn State staff and spent three seasons in Happy Valley before returning to her alma mater, Clemson, as head coach from 2010-13. She rejoined the Penn State staff prior to the 2014-15 season, returning to work as Penn State’s recruiting coordinator and post coach. She immediately impacted the Lady Lion’s national recruiting efforts, helping Penn State secure a top-25 recruiting class for the third time in her Penn State career.
The 2016-17 season saw Coleman return to coaching the Lady Lion wings. Coleman helped develop Jaida Travascio-Green into one of the top 3-point threats in the Big Ten. The rookie pushed her name into the upper echelon of the Penn State freshman record books, sitting No. 4 on the all-time rookie charts with 46 made 3-pointers. She worked her way into the starting lineup at midseason, starting 15 of the team’s final 18 games.
In her first full season on the court, Amari Cater was among the top ball handling guards in the country leading the team with 134 assists and ranking No. 13 nationally in assist-turnover ratio (2.73). She led the team in assists on 18 occasions and tallied 5-plus assists 14 times on her way to finishing No. 5 on the Penn State rookie assist list. Her 32 starts on the season rank tied for No. 4 as a freshman in Penn State’s long history and she averaged 7.9 points per game.
Sierra Moore also enjoyed a solid campaign in 2016-17, capping her senior season by scoring 328 points (10.3 ppg) and 5.3 rebounds per game, ranking No. 2 on the team in both categories. Moore finished her Penn State career by playing in 62 games with 47 starts, scoring 11.3 points and adding 5.2 rebounds per game.
Siyeh Frazier, another rookie under Coleman’s tutelage, rose to the occasion in the postseason, as she saw her minutes increase and responded with 17 of her 36 points on the season coming in the final three games. Frazier poured in 10 points in a WNIT opening round win over Ohio and totaled four steals and five rebounds off the bench in three WNIT contests.
While coaching the post players during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Coleman helped develop that unit into one of the most athletic corps in the Big Ten. The 2015-16 season saw the emergence of Peyton Whitted as one of the top rebounders in the conference. Whitted posted career bests in nearly every statistical category and posted her first seven career double-doubles. During the 2014-15 season, Coleman turned both Candice Agee and Whitted into reliable competitors, helping the duo to an uptick in both scoring average and rebounding.
During her first stint at Penn State, Coleman served as the recruiting coordinator and guards coach. She was instrumental in the recruitment of the 2009 class, which ranked 14th by ESPN/HoopGurlz and the 2010 class, which sat 22nd in the rankings. Those classes featured All-Big Ten performers and future WNBA players Alex Bentley, Nikki Greene and Maggie Lucas, along with all-conference pick Ariel Edwards.
During the 2009-10 season, Coleman guided Bentley to Big Ten All-Freshman team accolades, as well as All-Big Ten third team honors. Bentley also garnered Full Court Press Freshman All-America third team accolades during her rookie campaign.
Additionally, Coleman led All-Big Ten performer Brianne O’Rourke to an honorable mention berth in 2008-09. O’Rourke was one of six players in school history to accumulate 1,000 points and 500 assists in her career.
In her first season at Penn State, Coleman was instrumental in the development of O’Rourke and Mashea Williams. The duo each registered career-high performances in the upset win over 10th-ranked Duke. The pair also combined to outscore the entire Michigan State team in the second half (24-21) in a key road win for the Lady Lions on national television. Coleman also guided O’Rourke to All-Big Ten third team honors as she led the conference and was 51st nationally in assists in 2007-08.
On the recruiting trail, Coleman has been able to spearhead the efforts of four top-25 classes, including three at Penn State. The 2015 class finished as the No. 15 class in the country according to ESPN.com/HoopGurlz and featured a pair of five-star guards in Amari Carter and Teniya Page. The class featured players from four different states, Page (Illinois) and Carter (Washington, D.C.), along with a pair of highly touted post players, Ashanti Thomas (Kentucky) and Jaylen Williams (Massachusetts).
While at the helm of Tigers, Coleman recruited a pair of top-30 classes, including signing the No. 14 player in the country in the 2012 class. In 2012, the Tigers broke the school record for blocked shots with 168 rejections, which was fourth nationally. Coleman and the Tigers topped No. 21 North Carolina, 52-47, in 2012 to give Clemson its first win over a nationally ranked team in eight years.
Also serving as an assistant coach for the Tigers during her career, Coleman developed two All-ACC guards in Chrissy Floyd and Lakeia Stokes. The pair also earned Kodak Regional All-America accolades. Coleman also helped Clemson secure its first nationally-ranked recruiting class in 2003-04.
Coleman garnered the commitment and signing of South Carolina’s Player of the Year, LeLe Hardy, who went on to earn All-ACC Rookie team honors, as well as All-America accolades in 2006-07. Hardy led the ACC and was fifth in the NCAA in assists in 2006-07. Coleman was also responsible for recruiting Christy Brown, an ACC All-Rookie team selection, and D’Lesha Lloyd and Tasha Taylor, who were Clemson’s top two scorers in 2006-07.
Prior to her time at Clemson, Coleman served as an assistant coach at Butler from 2000-02 and had a stint as a student assistant coach at Liberty University for the 1999-2000 season.
As a player for Clemson, Coleman garnered Kodak District II All-America accolades, defensive All-America honors and was named an honorable mention Associated Press All-America in her senior season. Coleman -- a three-time All-ACC performer -- led Clemson to ACC Tournament championships in 1996 and 1999, claiming Tournament MVP honors in 1999. She ranks in the Top 10 in Tiger history with 1,409 points, 459 assists and 265 steals. Coleman was also selected to the ACC’s 50-year Anniversary Team in 2002 and to the Silver Anniversary team that recognized the top players in ACC Tournament history.
Coleman was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2008 along with her former head coach Jim Davis and six other Tiger athletic standouts.
Coleman continued her career after college in the WNBA, playing for the Indiana Fever in 2001 and the Houston Comets in 2003. She also participated in the Pan Am Games for Team USA, as well as several appearances in international competition as a member of the Nigerian National Team, including the 2006 FIBA World Championships where she led the world tournament in assists. Coleman accounted for 15 points with four 3-pointers against the Team USA juggernaut at the FIBA World Championships. Coleman also played in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece where she captained the Nigerian National Team to its first-ever Olympic win.
Coleman earned her bachelor’s degree in speech and communication from Clemson in 2000. She and her husband, Harold, have three daughters, Jada (13), Jordyn (8), Jasmine (7), and one son, Harold (Dutch) III (5).