COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO – University at Buffalo women's basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has been named an assistant coach for the 2019 Pan American Games Women's Basketball Team, USA basketball announced on Wednesday. She will join head coach Suzy Merchant (Michigan State) and assistant coach Vic Shafer (Mississippi State).
The coaching staff was selected by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti.
"This combination of coaches has brought success to their respective collegiate programs," said Rizzotti. "Suzy and Felisha both have prior USA Basketball coaching experience, and Vic has been a proven winner at the college level bringing his teams to the NCAA National Championship game in the past two seasons. Because of that, the committee felt that this well-rounded trio of coaches will help us in our goal of claiming a gold medal at the Pan American Games this summer."
Legette-Jack, who is in her seventh season at the helm of the Bulls, led Buffalo to a school-record 29 wins last season and the program's first ever Sweet 16 appearance. She led Buffalo to a MAC Tournament Championship in 2016 and has posted 139 wins, the second most by a head coach in program history. Under her leadership, the Bulls have produced four straight 20+ win seasons for the second time in school history. Legette-Jack was an assistant coach for the 2003 USA U21 World Cup and 2005 USA U19 World Cup gold medalist teams.
"It's an honor and privilege, it's everything," Legette-Jack said. "I have my USA plaques on my wall above my head. To have the red, white and blue on and to go out there and compete against the odds, you win the gold medal and you stand there and hear the national anthem. It's humbling and it's a privilege to represent."
Trials to select the 12-member team will be held May 16-20 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Training camp will follow July 15-30, with the competition taking place July 31-Aug. 4 in Lima, Peru.
Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who currently are enrolled as a full-time collegiate student with remaining eligibility for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Pan American Games are a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean that are organized by the Panam Sports and are played every four years in the year preceding the Olympics (2019, 2023, etc.).
Overall, the American women have earned seven gold medals, five silver medals and two bronze medals and have compiled a record of 78-15. In the most recent edition, the 2015 U.S. Pan American Games Team finished with a 4-1 record to return from Toronto, Canada, with the silver medal.
Notable U.S. players to have taken part in the Pan American Games include: Jennifer Azzi (1991), Carol Blazejowski (1979), Cynthia Cooper (1987), Anne Donovan (1987 and 1983), Teresa Edwards (1991, 1987), Pat Head (Summitt) (1975), Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1975), Janel McCarville (2003), Katrina McClain (1991 and 1987), Carla McGhee (1995), Ann Meyers (1979, 1975), Cheryl Miller (1983), Kelsey Plum (2015), Dawn Staley (1995), Breanna Stewart (2011, 2015), Sheryl Swoopes (1995) and Lynette Woodard (1991, 1983).
In addition to Rizzotti, the USA Junior National Team Committee includes 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson Barling as the athletic representative, and Karen Aston, (Texas) Tonya Cardoza (Temple) and Wes Moore (North Carolina State) as the NCAA representatives.