Grambling State University makes WBB coach hire

Grambling State has filled its women’s coaching vacancy.

Courtesy: Grambling State University Athletics

GRAMBLING, La. | Courtney Simmons has been named the new Grambling State University head women’s basketball coach, announced by GSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott on Thursday

Simmons joins Grambling State University after 10 years at Troy University, serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

“This is an exciting moment for Grambling State University women’s basketball as we welcome Courtney Simmons and her family to Exit 81! Coach Simmons is a mentor to young women, and a consistent winner with an impressive body of work,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott. “Her previous experience gives her an understanding of our winning tradition and I am confident that she is the coach to return our program to prominence within the SWAC and nationally. Everything that we were looking for in a leader for our women’s basketball program, we found in Courtney. She is a woman of high character who

is a proven recruiter, and winner that creates unparalleled student-athlete experiences. In our conversations, it became clear that she has a vision for GSU Women’s Basketball and her enthusiasm and tenacity will rally the #GramFam around our women’s basketball program.” 

In her 10 seasons with the Trojans, Simmons helped guide the Trojans to five Sun Belt Championships and six post season berths including three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Grambling State, Courtney Simmons

Simmons, who worked primarily with the guards, was a vital part in creating a championship culture within the Troy women’s basketball program. During her time at Troy, Simmons helped lead the Trojans to three Sun Belt Tournament Championships (’16,’17, ’21) as well as their first-ever Sun Belt Regular Season Crown in 2020 while also earning trips to three NCAA Tournaments, two WNIT and WBI postseason tournaments. She aided the Trojans in the first three-peat in the Sun Belt Conference, after winning the Sun Belt Regular Season title for a second time during the 2021-22 campaign.

Simmon’s work with the guards was instrumental in Troy being among the best scoring teams in the country. Simmons crafted a group of fast-playing guards that ranked 8th nationally in steals (347) in 2022-23. Also during the 2022-23 campaign, Troy boasted the third best scoring offense in the nation, averaging 83.3 points per game.

Since her first season in 2013-14, she helped guide numerous student-athletes to 19 All-Sun Belt honors including eight first team honors. Simmons was instrumental in the development of guards Ashley Beverly Kelley, who was a three-time All-Sun Belt Performer (2013-16) and a back-to-back first team honoree (2014-16) and Joanna Harden, who was a first-team All-Sun Belt performer (2013-14) averaging a Troy record 25.1 points per game and finishing first in the Sun Belt and seventh in the NCAA in scoring average. She helped develop Jasmine Robinson into an all-conference performer, a Sun Belt All-Tournament Team honoree and the 25th member of the 1,000-point club while also helping guide Alexus Dye to becoming the first Trojan to be named the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Troy guard Amber Leggett earned Third Team All-Sun Belt honors under Simmons’ direction. 

During Simmons’ tenure at Troy, the Trojans have consistently ranked at, or near the top, in numerous statistical categories. Between 2017-21 Troy led the nation in rebounds per game while leading the country in every rebounding category during the 2019-20 season. On top of being the nation’s best rebounding team, Troy has also been one of the best at scoring points, finishing in the top 10 every season since 2015-16 and finishing no lower than 16 since the 2013-14 season. Since her first season in 2013-14, Troy has led the Sun Belt in scoring average per game every season. In 2020-21, Troy had its best offensive season since the 1992-93 season when they averaged 86.0 ppg, the third-best average in the NCAA.

Simmons is no stranger to North Louisiana, as she spent one season at Louisiana Tech (2012-13) working under legendary college and WNBA player Teresa Weatherspoon. Before that Simmons served as an assistant coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas for two seasons where she was the recruiting coordinator and signed two nationally ranked recruiting classes. While at Trinity Valley she helped guide them to a 72-3 record including an NJCAA National Title (2011-12) and a runner-up finish (2010-11). Simmons began her coaching career in 2008-09 as an assistant coach at Louisiana and was named the Ragin’ Cajuns recruiting coordinator in 2009-10.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., she played at the University of Louisville (2006-08) with two NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet 16 appearance. Prior to her two seasons at Louisville she played one season at Trinity Valley after beginning her career at Tulane in 2004-05.

Simmons received her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Louisville in 2008.  She is fluent in sign language and volunteered at the 2007 Mini Deaf Olympics. She has twin daughters, Courtlyn and Carli. 

An introductory press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12 at 12 p.m. inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. The press conference will alos be streamed on HBCU League Pass. 

*Simmons’ contract is pending University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisor’s approval.

Grambling State University makes WBB coach hire
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