Memphis Tigers Women’s Basketball Announces Staff Additions

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – University of Memphis women’s basketball head coach Melissa McFerrin has announced the hiring of Amy Stephens and Michele Savage to the Tigers coaching staff Monday afternoon. This will be Stephens’ second stint with Memphis after spending the 2013-14 season as McFerrin’s associate head coach. Both Savage and Stephens will assume an associate head coach title for McFerrin and the Tigers. 

“Both Michele and Amy bring a tremendous amount of expertise and experience,” said McFerrin. “They have both been successful head coaches, are team-centered, and tremendous mentors and advisors for young people.”

“Michele was an All-American during her playing days and has great teaching skills,” added McFerrin. “She is familiar with our conference during her days at Tulane and has nation-wide recruiting contacts. She enjoys mentoring and connecting with players. Our players will benefit greatly from her many talents.”

Savage comes to Memphis after spending seven seasons at the helm of Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. from 2010-17. At Davidson, she led the Wildcats to back-to-back to trips to the Southern Conference Championship title game, and in the 2012-13 season, she guided Davidson to its second-straight 20-win campaign and a berth into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Prior to her stint at Davidson, Savage had a successful nine-year run as an assistant coach at Tulane. During her nine years with the Green Wave, Tulane hit the 26-win plateau, twice, and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2002, 2003, and 2010.

In addition to experience at Davidson and Tulane, Savage has served as an assistant coach at Cornell, Toledo, and Chicago State. At Cornell, Savage helped the Big Red achieve their best season in program history while signing three players who earned honorable mention All-America honors in high school.

Savage graduated from Northwestern University in 1993 as a three-time All-Big Ten selection, a three-time Kodak All-District selection, and an All-America selection from Street and Smith’s in 1991. She helped lead the Wildcats to the 1990 Big Ten Championship and two berths in the NCAA Tournament in 1990 and 1991. She was inducted in the Northwestern Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Illinois Hall of Fame in 2008.

“Amy returning to Memphis is a blessing,” said McFerrin. “She has proven over time that her experiences as an elite level player and coach will translate to our team. Her passion for the game will be infectious for our players. She will bring a familiarity with our system and her defensive expertise will show itself in our play.”

Stephens returns to Memphis after acting as an assistant coach for Nebraska from 2014-16. In her first season back at Nebraska in 2014-15, Stephens coordinated a Nebraska defense that led the Big Ten in scoring defense, surrendering just 60.9 points per game.

While at Memphis in 2013-14, Stephens helped McFerrin and the Tigers transition from Conference USA into the American Athletic Conference. In the Tigers first season as a member of The American, Ariel Hearn earned First-Team All-AAC honors while Mooriah Rowser and Breigha Wilder-Cochran were named to the All-Freshman team.

Prior to her stops at Memphis and Saint Louis (2012-13), Stephens was the head coach at Drake from 2003-12 and compiled a 151-130 overall record. In 2008, Stephens led the Bulldogs to the Missouri Valley Conference title and during the previous season, she guided Drake to the Missouri Valley Tournament title and an automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. She also led Drake to four WNIT appearances in her nine seasons at the helm.

As a head coach at Nebraska-Kearney for eight years, Stephens led the Lopers to a 197-43 overall record, averaging over 25 wins per season. She was named the RMAC Coach of the Year four-times and was a WBCA national coach of the year finalist in 2000. Nebraska-Kearney also enjoyed an NCAA Division II record 87-game home court winning streak during her time there.

At Nebraska as a player, Stephens ranks among the top five in program history in points (1,976), assists (444), and steals (280). Stephens earned Kodak All-District V honors as a senior at Nebraska and was also a first-team All-Big Eight Conference selection that year. She helped lead Nebraska to its only Big Eight title in 1987-88 and the first NCAA appearance in program history.

COURTESY: University of Memphis

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