Aggies hire former Wichita State coach to lead women's basketball - Albuquerque Journal

Aggies hire former Wichita State coach to lead women’s basketball

Jody Adams-Birch gestures after cutting the net after her Wichita State team’s victory over Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference championship on March 15, 2015, in St. Charles, Mo. The win the third straight championship for Wichita State. Adams-Birth is the new coach at New Mexico State, the school announces on Thursday. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)

For the second time in five days, New Mexico State University has hired a basketball coach.

Jody Adams-Birch will be taking over the Aggies’ women’s basketball program, athletic director Mario Moccia announced Thursday.

She replaces Brooke Atkinson, whose contract expired after this past season, a 10-19 campaign. Adams-Birch’s contract terms were not revealed.

Adams-Birch has 27 years of coaching experience, including nine as head coach at Wichita State, where she led the Shockers to three NCAA Tournaments and one season at Murray State, where she also led her team to the NCAA Tournament.

Jody Adams-Birch, then known as Jody Adams, is shown in this undated file photo as a University of Tennessee player alongside coach Pat Summitt, right. Adams-Birch, the new head coach at New Mexico State, was a point guard on Tennessee’s 1991 national championship team. (Courtesy of New Mexico State)

She played collegiately for Hall of Famer Pat Summitt at Tennessee from 1990-94, including being a starting guard on the Volunteers 1991 national championship team.

“I am so excited and grateful to be the next leader of the New Mexico State women’s basketball program,” Adams-Birch said in a statement. “To be wanted, needed and surrounded by people of excellence is a dream come true for me.”

The Sun-News reported Thursday that Adams-Birch left Wichita State midway through a 2017-17 season in which two players left the team. The University did not state whether Adams-Birch was fired or resigned. She was accused of being mentally and physically abusive during the 2015 season in which four players left the team. She received $250,000 in her separation agreement and $23,748 in unused paid leave.

Moccia, like he did with his past two men’s basketball hires (Greg Heiar and Chris Jans before him), tapped into his past Missouri Valley Conference roots for this hire. More specifically, he made a third hire with a Wichita State background as Adams-Birch coached at Wichita State at the same time Heiar and Jans were assistants on the men’s basketball team.

“Having known Jody for over 15 years I couldn’t be more thrilled that she will be the new head coach of our women’s program,” said Moccia. “Jody has an impeccable pedigree in college basketball from her playing days and a tremendous winning record wherever she goes.”

MORE AGGIES: New NMSU men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar on Thursday was named the NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year after leading his former school, Norhwest Florida State, to a national championship.

Heiar, who was formally introduced as the Aggies’ new coach on Monday in Las Cruces, coached the Raiders for one season — taking over a six-win program and leading the team to 31-5 record and the national title.

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