NACOGDOCHES, TX – Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack head basketball coach Lee Ann Riley has resigned, Director of Athletics Robert Hill announced Monday afternoon. SFA will immediately begin a national search to find a replacement.
Riley won 149 games during her nine seasons in Nacogdoches, which included three Southland Conference titles, and two SLC tournament titles. Among her three conference titles, Riley's troops closed out the regular season with a seven-game win streak to win the 2010 conference title. The 2006 SLC Coach of the Year, Riley guided the Ladyjacks to four postseason appearances, including two NCAA Championship appearances.
"I believe this is the right move for me at this time," said Riley. "I have truly loved my time at SFA. The Ladyjack basketball program is bigger than any one person, and I have been truly honored to serve as the head coach. I'm the type of person that goes with her heart, and this is the right move to make."
Riley was named head coach prior to the 2001-02 season, and promptly guided her squad to a 24-6 (.800) record and a Southland Conference regular season and tournament title. The Ladyjacks also made their 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships following the conference tournament.
The 2001-02 campaign marked the 24th 20-win season in school history as Riley became the fifth Ladyjack head coach to win 20 games in their first season. Riley tied a school record for most wins by an SFA first-year head coach. Her squad also set a conference record by winning 19 league games in 2001-02.
During her time at SFA, Riley's troops recorded three Southland Conference regular-season titles, two SLC tournament championships, two WNIT appearances and posted three 20-win seasons. Riley has also produced 22 All-SLC selections, including six first-team honorees, a player of the year, defensive player of the year and a freshman of the year.
"The biggest thing to me is not the wins or the postseason appearances, but the players I've had the privilege to coach," said Riley. "As coaches, we are blessed to be a part of our players lives and watch them as they grow and mature. I'm honored to know that I was a small part in helping them understand what it means to be successful after basketball."
Riley also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at SFA. From 1992-94 Riley helped guide SFA to a 51-12 (.810) record and two more SLC regular season and tournament titles. During the 1993 NCAA Championships, the Ladyjacks recorded an opening round victory over Clemson.
"I can say nothing but good things about Coach Riley," said Hill. "One thing for certain, she put her heart and soul into our women's program. I am appreciative for her leadership and friendship and only wish the best in whatever she decides to pursue."
Riley came to SFA from Missouri where she spent the 2000-01 season as the associate head coach. During her lone season with Tigers, Missouri posted 22 wins and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Prior to her time in Columbia, Riley spent six seasons as the head coach at Tyler Junior College. Riley posted a 131-58 (.689) record at TJC, including a 34-2 recorded in 1999-2000 that ended with an NJCAA championship.
"Coach Riley carried on the great tradition of the Ladyjack basketball program and she leaves big shoes to fill for the next head coach," said Hill. "She always put her players and the University first in all she did. No one worked harder or with more intensity than Coach Riley. We will go to work immediately to find a head coach who can keep our women's program at the top of the Southland Conference."