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Stillman names Sherri Harris head women's basketball coach

November 27, 2003

TUSCALOOSA--- Sherri Harris, Stillman's newly hired head women's basketball coach, didn't waste any time making herself known to the Lady Tiger basketball fans. In only her second game as head coach at Stillman, Harris guided the Lady Tigers to a 71-65 victory over Miles College last Saturday night.

Harris officially took over on Nov. 18, when Stillman traveled to Jackson, MS, to face Belhaven College. Stillman began the 2003-04 season with a 0-3 record. After the resignation of Linda Burgess as head women's basketball coach, Stillman Athletics Director Richard Cosby filled in for the first two games of the season, while searching for someone to fill the position.

"I submitted her name to President (Ernest) McNealey because while I was at Alabama State University I observed her abilities as an assistant coach of a winning program and her leadership skills as the head women's bowling coach," Cosby said. "I thought that she would be a good fit at Stillman."

For the past five years the Americus, Georgia, native has served as an assistant coach at Alabama State. After graduating from ASU she took an assistant coaching position for Americus High School girls basketball team. One year later Harris returned to ASU as the women's softball and volleyball graduate assistant. In 2001 she earned a position as the head bowling coach and an assistant women's basketball coach.

During her tenure at ASU she helped the women's basketball team, coached by Freda Freeman-Jackson, to a 92-53 record, which culminated in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship for the 2002-03 season.

"The time I spent at Alabama State was a great experience for me," said Harris. "I learned so much from coach Freeman-Jackson and assistant coach Clayton Harris. We worked hard and it paid off with us winning the SWAC. I look forward to helping Stillman's women's program succeed."

Harris will have a lot of work ahead of her in turning around a Stillman program that has not had much success in recent years. Since 1999 the Lady Tigers have posted a 33-62 record.

"I have always enjoyed a challenge," she said. "I think that this job is a great opportunity for me to help make this program into a winner."

"Coming from a program that had success she will bring a good work ethic and high expectations to Stillman," said Cosby. "I expect her to be a strong disciplinarian who will provide leadership for the female student-athletes to achieve at the expected level on the court and then to graduate and go out into the world and work."

Another obstacle that Harris will have to overcome is the let down that members of the women's basketball team had to deal with in losing the former head coach just as the season was getting under way.

"Coming into a program that had lost its head coach a couple of days before the season started and my taking the job after the season started was something that I had to consider. But since I have been here the kids have been great. They have tried to absorb everything that I have told them. Also, coach Irby has been so much help to me. He has helped me with the little things. A good assistant coach is hard to find."

Three games into her coaching career at Stillman Harris has a 2-1 record, with wins coming over Miles and Fisk University and her lone loss came at the hands of Belhaven.

"I think that we will be competitive this year. I have had only one practice since I've been here, but as we continue to get to know each other I'll start to give them more things to learn."

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