Aqua Franklin Named Women’s Head Basketball Coach

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BEAUMONT, Texas -- Aqua Franklin has been named Lamar University head women’s basketball coach announced Lamar University Director of Athletics Marco Born during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Montagne Center. Franklin becomes the 14th head coach in program history.

“I’m extremely excited to be naming Aqua Franklin as our next head coach,” said Born. “As we began the process of looking for our new head coach, there was one name that kept rising to the top. Aqua has put together a very distinguished career and is viewed as one of the up and coming talents in coaching. It goes without saying that she came highly recommended. She also has great recruiting ties within the state of Texas, and already has a strong knowledge of the Southland Conference.”

Franklin comes to LU with 10 years of coaching experience which includes the previous four seasons serving as the associate head coach at Kansas. Her résumé also includes one year as an assistant at Stephen F. Austin before making stops at Mississippi State and her first stint at Kansas.

“I am honored and proud to be named the next women’s basketball coach at Lamar University,” said Franklin. “One of my dreams has been to be a head coach in my home state. My Texas background and connections make Lamar the perfect place for me. My staff and I will be committed to our student-athletes in engaging and empowering them to be the best version of themselves on and off the court. We will compete at the highest level and continue the winning tradition as a championship level program. This is a special opportunity and I am thankful for Dr. Kenneth Evans, Marco Born and the rest of the administration for their trust and support.”

During her time with the Jayhawks, Franklin has mentored four KU guards to all-league accolades, including Christalah Lyons each of the past two seasons. During the 2016-17 season, Franklin mentored guard Jessica Washington to new heights on the hardwood. Washington became the first Jayhawk to garner Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging a league-best 19.3 points per game in Big 12 play.

Prior to returning to the KU sidelines for the 2015-16 season, Franklin spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi State. She helped lay the foundation for what has become one of the premier programs in women’s collegiate basketball.

In 2014-15, Mississippi State posted a 27-7 overall record and an 11-5 mark in SEC play, setting school records for wins in both categories. The Bulldogs also advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament that season. Due to her efforts on the recruiting trail, the Bulldogs brought in a class that was ranked among the nation’s top-20 in 2013.

During her first stint with the Jayhawks, Franklin helped KU to one of its best seasons, which was highlighted by a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. Franklin coached Angel Goodrich to a banner season as she led KU with 23.3 points per game and set the KU school record with 250 assists. Goodrich was named Honorable Mention All-America by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Associated Press (AP) and was one of four finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award.

Franklin comes to Beaumont with strong ties to the Southland Conference having spent the 2010-11 season at Stephen F. Austin. During her time in Nacogdoches, she helped Tammara Marion become one of the top guards in school history. Marion ended her career as the 25th player to score 1,000 points and graduated as the school’s all-time leader in three-point field goals.

Franklin’s coaching career began at her alma mater where she served as a graduate assistant. Her time on the A&M sideline came following a professional playing career in WNBA. Selected as the 38th overall pick by the Sacramento Monarchs in the 2008 draft, Franklin lead the Monarchs to the opening round of the WNBA playoffs. She spent the following season with the Seattle Storm.

What They’re Saying About Aqua:

Gary Blair, Texas A&M Head Coach

"Aqua is a young lady that has always stood tall when people doubted her potential, her strengths and her leadership. She was the first of many point guards that turned Texas A&M into a national power. She will turn Lamar into a consistent power in the Southland Conference with her teaching to young women “that I can” attitude. An energizer bunny as a player, a relentless recruiter as a coach and now a program changer and community leader."

Brandon Schneider, Kansas Head Coach

“I couldn’t be more excited for Coach Aqua. She is the total package and everything one looks for in a leader of a program - a terrific recruiter, teacher of the game, and mentor of young women - she will be a tremendous ambassador for Lamar and the Beaumont community.”

Yolette McPhee-McCuin, Mississippi Head Coach

“Lamar hit the jackpot with the hiring of Aqua! She is one of the respected, upcoming coaches in the profession who’s more than ready to take LU program to another level. Aqua knows the game, is a phenomenal recruiter & will groom her young women in her program, so that they can be the best version of themselves. Lamar WBB just got better today!”

Tory Verdi, UMass Head Coach

“Aqua Franklin is a home run hire for Lamar! I am confident in saying that the best is yet to come for that women’s basketball program and community."

Bonnie Hendrickson, UC Santa Barbara

“Lamar has made a great hire in naming Aqua as their next head coach. Aqua is a tireless worker and a relationship builder. Players, parents, high school and AAU coaches trust her. Aqua’s connections in Texas and beyond will be valuable in recruiting. The current players at Lamar are getting not only a great coach but a great person to play for. They will benefit the rest of their lives from playing for Aqua.”