MARCH 29, 2021 — Karen Aston, the 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year and a finalist for Naismith National Coach of the Year honors, on Monday was named the 10th women's basketball head coach in UTSA history.
Aston has a career record of 285-146 which includes head coaching positions at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Austin. In her 13 seasons as a head coach, Aston's teams have averaged 22 wins per year and have made a combined 10 postseason appearances.
"I could not be more delighted to welcome Karen Aston to lead the UTSA women's basketball program," UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos said. "Karen is a winner with a proven record of success. Her breadth of experience and ability to connect with students will position UTSA women's basketball to compete at a high level. Karen is committed to the student-athlete experience and their personal growth on and off the court. We are thrilled to welcome Karen into our UTSA family."
Aston is regarded as one of the top coaching minds in collegiate basketball and brings a decorated background to San Antonio, with a wealth of experience in the state and in Conference USA.
She is the second-winningest coach in Texas history – averaging 24.6 wins per year over her last seven seasons, leading her team to six NCAA Tournament appearances – and had five players picked in the WNBA Draft during her time in Austin.
"I am beyond thrilled to be the coach at UTSA," Aston said. "The vision and enthusiasm of Dr. Lisa Campos and President Taylor Eighmy made this such an easy decision for me and my family. They are committed to the student-athlete experience and to women's basketball and I share their commitment. I'm so excited to get back on the floor and help this program grow and to engage with the San Antonio community. I witnessed their passion for basketball and sports during my time in Texas and know that our program will blossom with their support. I want to thank the administration again for this opportunity. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Go Runners!"
Aston comes to the Alamo City after serving as the head coach at the University of Texas from 2012-20 where she led the Longhorns to a 184-83 (.689) record in eight seasons. From 2015-18, her squads made four consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 showings, marking the first time that had been accomplished at Texas since 1990. Aston also directed the 2015-16 Longhorns to the program's first NCAA Elite Eight appearance since 2003.
She was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2017 and was one of four finalists for Naismith Women's Coach of the Year. In 2018, she was one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith coaching honor. Known as a tireless recruiter, Aston signed five top-11 classes at Texas, including three ranked in the top five.
Aston, who also spent eight years (1998-06) as an assistant and associate head coach at Texas for Naismith Hall of Fame head coach Jody Conradt, stands as Texas' second-winningest coach all-time behind Conradt's 783 victories. Five of her players (Ariel Atkins, Nneka Enemkpali, Joyner Holmes, Imani McGee-Stafford and Sug Sutton) were drafted by WNBA teams.
Prior to Texas, Aston was the head coach at North Texas for the 2011-12 season where she tripled the Mean Green's victory total in one season. UNT went 15-16 that season after winning just five games the previous year.
Before her stint in Denton, Aston led another C-USA foe, Charlotte, from 2007-11. With the 49ers, Aston led the program to record-breaking heights, with 86 victories in four seasons, including a school-record 27 wins in 2010-11.
Aston led Charlotte to four consecutive postseason appearances and the 2009 Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship en route to the school's second ever NCAA Tournament appearance. In her final season with the 49ers, Aston's squad advanced to the WNIT Final Four.
Aston began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at Baylor from 1994-96 before serving in the same role at North Texas for two seasons (1996-98). She then entered her first stop at Texas as an assistant from 1998-2000 before being promoted to associate head coach in 2000.
Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Aston was recognized as one of the top high school coaches in the nation. She coached five years at Vilonia High School (1988-93) in Vilonia, Ark., and one year at Fort Smith Northside (1993-94) in Fort Smith, Ark. She guided Fort Smith Northside to a 24-10 record and a fifth-place finish in Class 4A. For her efforts, she was named the Arkansas Northwest Region Coach of the Year.
While at Vilonia, Aston was not only the head basketball coach but also the head cross country and track & field coach. In 1992-93, she was named the Arkansas Basketball Coach of the Year after leading Vilonia to a 36-1 record and a Class 2A State Championship. Aston's cross country teams also claimed back-to-back state titles in 1991 and 1992.
A native of Benton, Ark., Aston was a two-time first-team all-state selection at Bryant High School. She capped her high school career by leading Bryant to the 1982 Arkansas Class 4A State Championship. Aston earned a bachelor of arts degree in physical education from Little Rock in 1987. She played two seasons of basketball at Little Rock after transferring from Ouachita Baptist.
In 2019, Aston was inducted into the Trojan Athletics Hall of Fame at Little Rock and the Bryant [Ark.] High School Athletic Hall of Honor.
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