Sue Darling starts her 28th season as a basketball coach and her fifth campaign as an assistant coach at Arizona. A former Wildcat women's basketball player, Darling returned to her alma mater in 2008. Darling serves as offensive coordinator and directs player and team development. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Darling is instrumental in recruiting, scouting, marketing and community relations.
"Sue Darling brings something different to the table in that she's an alum of the University of Arizona," head coach Niya Butts said. "You can see her passion for and commitment to our program every day. She is doing everything she can to take our program to the next level and make our team a national contender. She challenges me as a coach every day and I welcome that. She brings humor to our team and our family of coaches. She does great work in our community and people love to have a connection with coaches. I'm thankful she's part of our staff."
In four seasons with UA, Darling has been part of a coaching staff that led Arizona to its first postseason appearance since the 2004-05 season. During the 2011-12 season, Arizona's 11-1 start was the best in program history since the 1999-2000 season. The Cats beat UCLA twice, the first a 74-66 victory at McKale Center on Jan. 5 and the second a Pac-12 Tournament 61-57 win on March 7. The January win marked UA's first over the Bruins since 2006-07 and the first in Tucson since 2004-05.
Overall, the Wildcats improved from 12 wins in 2008-09, to 14 wins in 2009-10, to 21 wins in 2010-11. In Pac-10 play, Arizona improved from four wins in 2008-09, to six wins in 2009-10, to 10 wins in 2010-11.
The Wildcats' 10-8 conference record for the 2010-11 season is their best since the 2004-05 campaign and their 21 wins overall is the most since the 2003-04 season. The 2010-11 season marked the highest finish in the Pac-10 for Arizona (fourth), since tying for the Pac-10 regular-season crown in 2004.
As offensive coordinator for the Wildcats, Darling is responsible for offensive planning and strategy, offensive instruction and game-time decisions. During the 2010-11 season, Arizona ranked No. 28 nationally and No. 3 in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (73.7 points per game); No. 31 nationally and No. 3 in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (43.5%); and 55th nationally and third in the Pac-10 in assists (14.3).
Darling has also been instrumental in fostering support and increasing attendance for the Arizona women's basketball program through speaking engagements, community service and radio and television appearances. In addition, Darling coordinates the Wildcats' off-season workout program, individual and team workouts, and manages the Wildcats' team building plan.
"It's a thrill to be coaching at Arizona," Darling said. "I chose the U of A as a student-athlete because of the academic excellence, the athletic prowess and most of all because of the people and the great Wildcat spirit. There has always been a tremendous warmth and friendliness throughout the university and the athletic department. I cherish the opportunity to work with Niya, the staff and these gifted student-athletes. To be able to do so at a place I love is incredible."
Darling was the head women's basketball coach at the Air Force Academy (1998-01), and served as an assistant coach at Northwestern (2002-04), Arizona State (1990-91, 93-96) and Dartmouth College (1991-93). She also served an assistant coach with the ABL's Seattle Reign (1996-97), and was the head coach at Amphitheater High School (1988-90), Pima Community College (1985-86) and Salpointe Catholic High School (1984-86) in Tucson. Most recently, she was the head coach at Mullen High School in Denver.
Darling played at Arizona from 1978-82, where she lettered from 1981-82 and served as team captain during the 1982 season. She is also a graduate of Canyon del Oro High School. Darling served as a police officer for the city of Boulder, Colo. from 2005-08. She was inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Darling graduated from Arizona with a degree in education in 1983 and earned a master's degree in business administration and marketing from St. John's University in 1988.