April 21, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. (April 21) - The University of Arizona women's basketball program has hired Yeshimbra "Shimmy" Gray as a new assistant coach, announced head coach Joan Bonvicini on Monday.
Gray has spent the last three years with the University of Washington women's basketball staff, most recently in a dual role as assistant coach and director of operations. During her time in Seattle, the Huskies logged a combined 63-30 record and earned two NCAA Tournament berths, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2001.
Serving as assistant coach for all three of her years there, Gray's responsibilities included post player development and rebounding; assisting with recruiting and opponent scouting; and coordination of the practice scout team. With the addition of the director of operations title for the 2002-03 season, she was given other duties that included management of team community service projects, coordination of team travel, overseeing the team's video exchange program and supervision of student-athlete academics. Gray was director of the June Daugherty Hoops Camp for four years as well.
Prior to her arrival at Washington, Gray was an assistant women's basketball coach at Bellevue (Wash.) Community College for the 1999-2000 season. During the 1998-99 season, she played professional basketball with Olivais Futbol Clube in the First Division Women's League in Coimbra, Portugal. From 1995-98, Gray served as a police officer for the Ypsilanti (Mich.) Police Department and the University of Michigan Police Department.
Gray played collegiate basketball at the University of Michigan from 1991-94, where she was a three-year starter for the Wolverines and was team captain as a senior. Despite playing only three seasons, Gray finished her career among the all-time leaders on several UM career statistical lists, including steals, rebounds and rebounding average. She averaged 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game over her career, including averages of 11.8 ppg and 7.6 rpg as a senior.
A 1994 Michigan graduate, Gray earned a bachelor of arts in sociology with a minor in law, criminology and deviance. She had a stellar prep career in both basketball and track and field at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint, Mich.
"We are very pleased to have Shimmy join our staff," said Bonvicini, who just completed her 12th season at the helm of the Arizona program. "Her familiarity with the West Coast, her experience in the Pac-10 and her knowledge of our team are going to be a tremendous advantage for us. What I've been most impressed with are her people skills -- she's really a good coach and a great recruiter. She is going to be a great addition to our program."
"I know everyone says they are excited about a move like this, but I truly am excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Arizona staff," said Gray. "I don't know if I'm more excited about working at Arizona or just excited about working with Joan Bonvicini. I've always considered her to be something of a pioneer in women's basketball. I know I'm going to grow and learn a lot working with her.
"It's really hard for me to leave Washington; there are some great people here. But this move to Arizona is a logical step in my career and with what I want to accomplish."
Gray will be involved with recruiting, scouting and on-floor coaching of both guards and post players for the Wildcats. She will also assist in the operations of the Joan Bonvicini Basketball Camp. Her first day on staff will be May 5, 2003.
Gray's hiring fills the gap left in the UA coaching staff by the departure of long-time associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Denise Dove Ianello, who joined the Wisconsin women's basketball staff as an assistant last week after her husband Rob made a move to the Badger football staff. Current UA assistant coach Kellee Barney has taken over as the Wildcats' recruiting coordinator.