DENTON, Texas - The University of North Texas has named Karen Aston as its sixth women's basketball coach, President V. Lane Rawlins and Director of Athletics Rick Villarreal announced today. Aston, a former assistant coach at North Texas from 1996-98, has spent the last four seasons as the head coach at Charlotte.
"We are very excited to be able to land a coach of this caliber," said Villarreal. "Coach Aston is everything that were looking for and is a perfect fit for the direction we want this program to go."
Aston will be introduced at a press conference today at 1 p.m. The press conference will be streamed live on www.meangreensports.com.
At Charlotte, Aston led the program to record-breaking heights as she won 86 games in four seasons, including a school-record 27 wins this past year. Aston led the 49ers to four-straight post season appearances and the 2009 Atlantic-10 Tournament title for the school's second NCAA Tournament trip in school history.
This past season she led Charlotte to the WNIT Final Four and moved into third place on the school's all-time wins list with 86.
In four seasons at Charlotte, she led them to two 20-win seasons, the 2009 Atlantic 10 tournament title, an appearance in the 2011 WNIT Final Four, one NCAA Tournament berth and three WNIT appearances. Aston was an assistant coach at North Texas from 1996-98 and was instrumental in the recruitment of two of the greatest players in program history, Jalie Mitchell and Rosalyn Reades.
She spent eight seasons at the University of Texas from 1998-2006 as an assistant coach. During her eight seasons at Texas, the Longhorns posted a 173-83 record and made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including two appearances in the Sweet 16 and a trip to the Final Four in 2003.
In 2002-03, the Longhorns captured the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, and finished ranked No. 4 in the final Associated Press (AP) poll. In 2003-04, Texas shared the Big 12 regular season title and finished ranked No. 5 in the final AP poll.
During her time as Texas' recruiting coordinator, Aston played a vital role in signing 25 nationally-recognized recruits. All eight of the recruiting classes that she helped attract were nationally ranked. Her final recruiting class (2005-06) at Texas was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the All-Star Girls Report.
In her last four years at Texas, she played an integral role in signing seven McDonald's All-Americans and seven WBCA/Nike All-Americans.
Two of those high school All-Americans (Tiffany Jackson and Erika Arriaran) were named National High School Players of the Year. Jackson went on to earn consensus national Freshman of the Year honors in 2003-04. Aston moved to Baylor during the 2006-07 season as the associate head coach. She helped the Bears win 26 games and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In her first season at Charlotte, she guided the 49ers to 18 wins and a berth in the WNIT. The following year the 49ers won the A-10 Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament as the 49ers won 23 games. In 2009-10, Aston took the 49ers to the A-10 Tournament semifinals and the second round of the WNIT.
Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Aston was recognized as one of the top high school women's coaches in the south. She coached five years at Vilonia High School (1988-93) in Vilonia, Arkansas and one year at Fort Smith Northside (1993-94) in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 1993-94 season, she guided Fort Smith Northside to a 24-10 record and a fifth-place finish in Class AAAA. For her efforts that season, she was named the Arkansas Northwest Region Coach of the Year.
While at Vilonia, Aston was not only head basketball coach but also the head cross country and track 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 AA State Championship. She guided the Vilonia cross country teams to state titles in 1991 and 1992.
Aston is a 1987 graduate of UALR, where she earned her bachelor's degree in physical education. She played two seasons of standout basketball at UALR after transferring from Ouachita Baptist.
A native of Benton, Arkansas, Aston was a two-time, first-team all-state selection at Bryant High School. She topped off her high school career by leading Bryant to both the 1982 Arkansas State Championship (Class 4A) and the 1982 Arkansas overall state title.
Aston's Career Coaching Record
*- NCAA Tournament
!- School Record
Aston's Coaching experience
2007-10- Charlotte Head Coach
2006-07- Baylor Associate Head Coach
1998-06- Texas Assistant Head Coach
1996-98- North Texas Assistant Head Coach
What they are saying about Aston Baylor Head Coach Kim Mulkey
"Karen has to be happy to be back home. She is a great recruiter, a very hard worker and has been successful everywhere she has been. North Texas is fortunate to have Karen Aston lead their program."
Former North Texas player and UNC-Wilmington assistant coach Jalie Mitchell
"I am extremely excited about the hiring of Karen Aston. From the time she began recruiting me 13 years ago, I knew there was something special about her. We developed a great relationship that still continues to this day. Success has come to every institution that has been fortunate enough to have her and I strongly believe that the same will be true for the University of North Texas, my alma mater."