Kentucky women hire familiar face as assistant coach

jsmith3@herald-leader.comMay 1, 2014 

New University of Kentucky assistant women's basketball coach and recruiting coordinator Christian Stefanopoulos.

Her Twitter profile and avatar had turned Kentucky blue in the past two weeks, but it finally became official Thursday as UK announced the hiring of Christian Stefanopoulos as the new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for women's basketball.

Stefanopoulos, 30, worked for three seasons as the Cats' video coordinator under head coach Matthew Mitchell before taking an assistant job at Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa.

"Her ability to connect with people enables her to recruit at an elite level," Mitchell said in a news release. "It's been my experience that players have always benefited from spending time with Christian, whether it was on or off the court. I'm so happy she's a Wildcat."

The former Boone County player worked primarily with the guards at Bucknell and helped the Bison to their biggest turnaround in school history, lifting the team from five wins in 2011-12 to 15 a season later.

Before joining the Bucknell staff, Stefanopoulos was an assistant coach at Morehead State. She was a graduate assistant with the Eagles prior to that under Mitchell in 2006-07. Then she followed Mitchell to UK where she was video coordinator.

"It's always been my dream to return to Kentucky and have the opportunity to compete for a national championship," she said in the release.

While playing at Austin Peay, Stefanopoulos won back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships and advanced to two NCAA Tournaments. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Thomas More in 2006 and a master's degree in sports administration from Morehead in 2014.

After UK went 26-9 and lost to Baylor in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 this season, Mitchell opted not to renew the contracts of assistant coaches Shalon Pillow and Jeff House. Mitchell has yet to replace Pillow, who worked primarily with the post players.

Goodin-Rogers cleared to return

Freshman forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, who missed this past season after a pulmonary embolism was discovered in her lungs in October, has completed her six-month treatment and is expected to make a full recovery, UK confirmed Thursday.

Goodin-Rogers tweeted Wednesday that she felt "good to be released and actually playing."

The 6-foot-1 forward was a four-year All-State selection at Marion County where she had 2,401 career points, 1,663 rebounds and 463 blocked shots.

Along with UK teammate Makayla Epps, Goodin-Rogers was a standout on the undefeated Knights team that won the 2013 Sweet Sixteen title.

"We plan to have her fully participating with the team when they resume workouts this summer," UK spokesman Susan Lax said.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com.

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