CONWAY, Ark. (UCA) - Entering her second season as head coach of the Sugar Bears, Central Arkansas women's basketball coach Sandra Rushing will have not only a new-look team for the 2013-14 season, but a revamped coaching staff as well.
Having already hired Rusty Laverentz - previously director of basketball operations at the University of Houston the past three seasons - earlier in the summer, Rushing has since made two more staff changes.
Kaci Bailey joins the Sugar Bears staff after having served as interim head coach at Henderson State University in 2012-13 following a year as an assistant and two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. She fills a vacancy created when Shameka Russell, who came with Rushing from Delta State last season, returned to her alma mater to re-join the staff there as an assistant coach.
Former Sugar Bear point guard Destinee Rogers, who was a graduate assistant last season, has been promoted to a full-time position.
"I'm so excited to have Coach Bailey join our staff," Rushing said. "She is very passionate about the game and brings experience to our bench. I think she's a great fit for us. She brings coaching tenure, organization, recruiting experience and a true love for the game of basketball. And I'm thrilled to have Coach Rogers on the staff full time. She bleeds purple and is very passionate and loyal to UCA. Her familiarity with the program is a tremendous asset. She's a very talented up-and-coming coach and I'm excited to have her on my staff."
Bailey, originally from Dresden, Tenn., lettered for four seasons at Southern Illinois from 2005-09 before earning her master's degree in Sports Management from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in 2011. She then began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at UAM before moving on to Henderson in 2011.
In 2012-13, when she was named interim head coach in November just prior to the beginning of the season, she guided the Lady Reddies to a 13-14 overall record and 8-12 mark in the Great American Conference.
"Conway and UCA have been great since I've been on the job," she said. "The people are wonderful, the facilities are great and our program and staff works hard. I'm excited about Sugar Bear basketball and the future of the program. I hope to bring some new ideas and energy to this staff, and hope to make an impact on the players' lives on and off the court. I've been in Arkansas the last four years and am familiar with our recruiting area, and with Coach Rushing's success, UCA was a great fit for me."
Rogers is elevated to the role of full-time assistant after a season as a graduate assistant following her playing career, in which she served as the starting point guard for the Sugar Bears' 2011-12 Southland Conference championship team.
"I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to be a full-time assistant coach," she said. "It's definitely a blessing, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to further my coaching career at my alma mater. I learned a lot about coaching, recruiting and everyday tasks of an assistant coach last season, and I'm looking forward to applying what I learned last year to this upcoming season. I'm so excited for the opportunity to coach these kids because I helped recruit them. They're a joy to be around and are a hard-working group of young women. This year will be a great one and I'm excited to be a part of this staff and program."
The Sugar Bears, who have 10 new players on the roster this season, begin the 2013-14 season at home on Nov. 8 against Alcorn State in the first of 16 games in the Farris Center this season.