Women’s Basketball head coach Karen Aston announces the hiring of Travis Mays as associate head coach, Jalie Mitchell as assistant coach, Angela Ortega as Director of Operations and Amie Smith Bradley as special assistant.
AUSTIN, Texas -- University of Texas Women’s Basketball head coach Karen Aston announced Tuesday the hiring of four new members to her Longhorns’ coaching staff effective immediately.
Joining the UT Women’s Basketball program are associate head coach Travis Mays, assistant coach Jalie (JAY-lee) Mitchell, Director of Basketball Operations Angela Ortega and special assistant Amie Smith Bradley.
Aston has yet to announce herthird assistant coach and that position remains open.
With 10 years of coaching experience in women’s college and professional basketball, Mays returns to his alma mater after spending the past year as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia. The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2011-12 season with a 22-9 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Mays previously served on the LSU staff under Van Chancellor from 2007-11 and was an assistant to Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt from 2004-07 at Texas.
During his time at both UT and LSU, Mays helped ink seven nationally-acclaimed recruits. All seven of the recruiting classes Mays assisted in assembling were ranked among the nation’s Top 25, including four Top-10 efforts and the No. 1 class in the nation for Texas in the fall of 2004.
Mays remains one of the most productive players in UT history. A 2002 inductee into UT’s Men’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Mays is still No. 2 among the Longhorns' career scoring leaders with 2,279 points and was the first player to earn back-to-back Southwest Conference Player of the Year honors in 1989 and 1990.
As a senior, Mays was a second-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 24.1 points per game and led Texas to the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. Included in that NCAA run was a 44-point outburst against Georgia in the first round that still ranks as the 14th-highest single-game points scored all time in "March Madness" history. His 23 free throws made and 27 attempts at the line versus the Bulldogs remain NCAA Tournament single-game records.
“Travis and I worked together at Texas when we were both assistants, and naturally we have a familiarity andtrust which are two things that I consider very vital when forming a staff,” Aston said. “Travis also brings an enormous amount of intangibles to our program. He understands The University of Texas and the responsibilities that come along with being a Longhorn. Travis is a tireless worker, whether it be in recruiting or skills training. Travis has a high basketball IQ and an innate ability to teach and connect with young people. He is a star in the coaching profession, and I am thrilled that he chose to come back to Texas where he has so many connections in Austin and across the state.”
A former collegiate standout who holds the career scoring record at North Texas and a rising talent in the coaching ranks, Mitchell joins Aston’s first staff on the 40 Acres as an assistant coach.
Mitchell initially joined Aston at North Texas for the 2011-12 season after spending one year as an assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington. Together, Aston and Mitchell tripled the Mean Green's victory total in one season, as UNT went 15-16 during the 2011-12 season after winning just five games the previous year.
In her one year at UNC-Wilmington, Mitchell helped lead the Seahawks to unprecedented success with a 24-win season and the school's first ever post-season berth, as the team advanced to the second round of the WNIT.
Prior to her time at UNCW, Mitchell first entered the collegiate coaching ranks as an assistant coach for her alma mater. During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, Mitchell worked with the guards and helped turn the North Texas backcourt into a solid two-way attack. She mentored a trio of double-digit scorers, including Brittney James, an All-Sun Belt Conference selection who finished her career as the only player in school history to record at least 1,000 points, make 100 three-pointers and record 200 steals.
Heralded as perhaps the greatest player to ever suit up at North Texas, Mitchell led the North Texas women'sbasketball team to the best four-year stretch in school history from 1998-2002. The Mean Green won 77 games in four seasons and had a remarkable home record of 42-4.
She was named all-conference all four years at North Texas, concluding her career as the 2002 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. Mitchell is the Mean Green's all-time leading scorer with 1,764 points and ranks No. 1 in career free throws made and attempted. She also ranks in the top 10 in school history in 10 other categories.
“Jalie brings the intangibles to the Texas Women’s Basketball family – loyalty and trust. She has a unique knack of making players comfortable and bringing out their best. In our short time together at North Texas, she proved that she can connect in recruiting, which we all know is the lifeblood of a program. Jalie comes from a highly competitive environment at Duncanville, and became one of, if not the greatest player, to wear a uniform at UNT. Simply put, Jalie is a winner,” said Aston.
Ortega will be serving in her first year as Director of Women's Basketball Operations for The University of Texas after spending last year as an assistant to Aston at North Texas.
Prior to her stint at North Texas, Ortega spent four seasons as an assistant at Charlotte under Aston, where the 49ers reached the postseason in four consecutive seasons, including appearances in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and the 2011 WNIT Final Four.
Ortega began her coaching career at North Texas where she spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach and one as associate head coach and helped develop two of the greatest players in school history in Mitchell and Rosalyn Reades. During her first tenure at Denton, Ortega assisted North Texas to its most successful period in school history, including three conference division titles and two postseason tournament appearances in the WNIT in 2001 and 2002.
“Angela has worked with me throughout my time as a head coach and I am thrilled she chose to join the Texas Women’s Basketball family,” said Aston. “Growing up in Tyler, she understands our tradition and has tremendous pride in being a Texan. Angela realizes the demands of an elite women’s college basketball program and knows what it takes to be successful day-in and day-out. With her skillset, Angela will deal with the day-to-day operations of the program and will be an integral part of the transition for our staff and players.”
Rounding out Aston’s first hires is the former Amie Smith, a four-year starter at Texas from 1993-97. Smith Bradley will manage day-to-day program responsibilities, coordinate basketball video work and serve as the program's liaison for community relation efforts that are coordinated through UT student services and marketing.
Before joining the UT staff, Smith Bradley was the head coach of the Trinity University (San Antonio) women's basketball program since 2005. In seven seasons with the Tigers, Smith Bradley amassed a 117-70 (.626) career record that stands as the second-best mark in school history.
During her tenure, the Tiger women's basketball team earned the top seed in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference West Division in both 2008 and 2009. Smith Bradley led Trinity to the SCAC Championship game in 2006 and 2009 as well as two trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
“Amie brings a different dynamic to our staff. Obviously, she bleeds burnt orange and will help us bridge gaps between our alumni, fans and community. She will also be in charge of running our summer camps, which are important as far as expanding our recruiting and fan bases. Amie has an incredible passion for the Longhorns and for basketball. She knows what it feels like to run out of the tunnel in the Erwin Center on game days and her contributions to this program will be felt immediately,” Aston said.