Former Scott County High School standout and 1995 Kentucky Miss Basketball Ukari Figgs is returning to the Bluegrass.
Figgs, an assistant coach and former player at Purdue University, is leaving West Lafayette, Ind., to become assistant athletics director for women's basketball at the University of Kentucky, Purdue announced Tuesday.
Figgs will replace the departing Pam Stackhouse, who has been named the new associate director of athletics at Bellarmine University in Louisville.
Figgs spent the past two seasons as a Boilermakers assistant coach and her primary duties included guard development, recruiting, scouting and community outreach. Figgs worked as a production engineer at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in her hometown of Georgetown before joining head coach Sharon Versyp's staff.
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"We were fortunate to have Ukari as part of our staff," Versyp said. "She is an amazing human being with strong character and great basketball knowledge. We were enriched by having her back at Purdue and it was better to have had her for just two years than not at all. We certainly hate to see her leave, but support her decision to get closer to home, take on more of an administrative role and travel less. She's been a champion at every level, and we wish her a bright future."
Figgs was a member of Purdue's team from 1995 to 1999 and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading the Boilermakers to the national championship with a 62-45 victory over Duke in 1999.
She and future Purdue teammate Camille Cooper led the Scott County High School girls' basketball team to a state title in 1995. Afterward, Figgs was named Kentucky Miss Basketball.
Kentucky did not announce Figgs' arrival on Tuesday but did say in a news release that Stackhouse took a new post at Bellarmine.
"I will never be able to adequately express what Pam Stackhouse has meant to Kentucky and the women's basketball program," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "She served the program for eight years during a time where we saw tremendous growth. The impact she made on the program will be a lasting one."
Before serving as assistant athletics director for Mitchell, Stackhouse was an assistant coach for four seasons under Mickie DeMoss at UK.
At Bellarmine, Stackhouse will have primary oversight of 16 of Bellarmine's 19 intercollegiate athletic sports.
Pitino: Son staying put
Rick Pitino said he is excited about the two new additions to his Louisville squad and that his son is not leaving his staff any time soon.
The coach closed out his 2011 recruiting class with Kevin Ware and transfer Luke Hancock. He also put an end to any possibility that his son, Richard, would take the coaching position at Boston University.
"Richard is under contract for two years," Pitino said. "If the greatest job in America came up next year he is not going anywhere."
The younger Pitino served under his father from 2007-2009 and recently returned to Louisville after spending two years under Billy Donovan at Florida.
The elder Pitino said, half-jokingly, that his son "doesn't have the money for the buyout. The only one in this family that has money is his mother and she's not giving it to him."
Pitino did, however, promote Louisville assistant and former Kentucky star Walter McCarty as a candidate for the position at BU, where he got his job as a collegiate head coach in 1978.
As for the additions to his team, Pitino praised their versatility.
Ware, a 6-4 180-pound guard from Conyers, Ga., is a consensus top 100-recruit capable of playing both the point and shooting guard positions.
Hancock, a 6-5 190-pound forward, played the last two seasons at George Mason before deciding to transfer.
To help make room for the new additions, Pitino said current players Elisha Justice, Chris Smith and pre-season All Big East candidate Kyle Kuric will go off scholarship but remain with the team.
Daniels picks Connecticut
DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-7 forward who recruiting experts thought was headed to Texas, picked Connecticut instead, Scout.com reported on Tuesday.
At different times in his recruitment, Daniels was also thought to have Kentucky and Kansas at the top of his list.
Scout lists Daniels as its No. 20 overall prospect in the Class of 2011.
The Birmingham News reported that Kentucky and Samford have agreed to a three-game series in basketball.
Samford's athletics director, Martin Newton, was previously the director of basketball operations at UK under Coach John Calipari.
The first two games will be at Rupp Arena, including Dec. 20 this season, and the third will be in Birmingham at either the Pete Hanna Center on the Samford campus or at the BJCC Arena downtown.
"Martin was the catalyst" for the deal, Samford Coach Jimmy Tillette told the newspaper.
"I'm excited about it," Tillette said, "but it's easy to be excited about it in June rather than when you're getting on the plane in December."
Special to the Herald-Leader