Ark.-Monticello hires Ray as coach
Ray becomes seventh head coach in Cotton Blossoms history
MONTICELLO, Ark. -- Tanya Ray has been named head coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Ray becomes the seventh head coach for the Cotton Blossoms in the 38-year history of the program.
Ray comes to UAM after serving as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level for the past 11 seasons. Most recently, Ray was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for the past nine seasons (2002-11). Before joining the staff at ASU, Ray served two seasons (2000-02) as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
“I’ve known Tanya Ray for a long time,” said UAM Athletics Director Chris Ratcliff. “Even though this will be her first head coaching job, she is a proven winner and I know she has what it takes to be successful at UAM… I told our search committee when we started this process that we needed someone who is going to be involved in the community, someone who is a winner and someone with high character. We have found all three of those characteristics and much more with Coach Ray.”
“This is an incredible day for me, a dream come true,” said Ray at her introductory press conference. “Every assistant coach dreams of that day they can have the opportunity to run their own program… Today, that dream has come true for me. I am excited to be here, and I’m excited to be a part of this great community and this great university… I’m going to do my best to put a product on the floor that everyone can be proud of.”
Ray continued, “I want to thank Dr. (Jack) Lassiter, Chris Ratcliff, the committee and all the people that believed I was the right person to take over this program… I would also like to thank all of the coaches that I have either played for or coached with for their influences that make me who I am today as a person and as a coach… Lastly, I want to thank my family for their advice and their support, and for helping make this decision for my career.
During her time at Arkansas State, Ray helped lead the Red Wolves to a total of 155 wins, an average of just over 17 wins per year. ASU posted three 20-win seasons during Ray’s tenure and in 2003-04, the Red Wolves captured their first-ever Sun Belt Conference East Division championship. The next year, ASU advanced to the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), and in 2006-07, made its third postseason appearance in four years, advancing to the second round of the WNIT before falling on the road to eventual runner-up Wisconsin.
Also during her time at ASU, Ray coached a total of 14 all-conference selections, two WNBA Pre-Draft Camp participants and four professional contract signees.
In addition to her coaching and recruiting duties at ASU, Ray also handled the team’s travel budget and coordinated the scheduling of opponents, among other duties.
During Ray’s tenure at Oklahoma State, she was the team’s film exchange coordinator, while also helping with on-court coaching, recruiting and travel organization.
Ray entered the coaching ranks as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for one season (1999-2000) at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, where she helped lead the Lady Buccaneers to a 23-8 overall record and an appearance in the regional finals, where they lost to eventual national champion, Tyler Junior College.
Ray’s playing career consists of a four-year high-school stint at Brenham (Texas) High School, one-year stints at the University of Texas-San Antonio and South Plains College of Levelland, Texas, and finally a two-year stint at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
The Brenham, Texas native is a 1999 graduate of St. Mary’s with a bachelor’s degree in exercise-sport science. She also holds an associate’s degree from South Plains College in general studies.