Keitha Adams Returns to Coach the UTEP Women’s Basketball Team

On Tuesday afternoon, UTEP Athletic Director Jim Senter announced that the winningest coach in UTEP Women’s Basketball history Keitha Adams, is coming back to the Sun City to coach the team again.

“Today is a very special and unique day for me. I’m thrilled and grateful to be returning as the head women’s basketball coach at UTEP,” Adams said.  “The love I have for this University, community, and program runs deep in my soul.  I want to thank President Heather Wilson and Director of Athletics Jim Senter for this opportunity.  I’d also like to thank committee members Jeff Darby, Daniel Garcia, Julie Levesque, Charley Thrash and Taylor Vena for their support in this process. 

“I would like to congratulate Coach Kevin Baker and this year’s team for their successful season and WNIT postseason berth.  I’m excited to meet with the players and start working towards next season.  I look forward to coaching again in the greatest basketball venue in the country, the Don Haskins Center, and making more special memories.  I can’t wait to get started with the team, connecting with Miner fans, and reconnecting with El Paso.  It’s a great day to be a Miner!”

“We are thrilled to welcome Keitha back to UTEP and El Paso,” Senter said.  “Her first stint as head coach of the Miners produced unprecedented success for our women’s basketball program.  She loves UTEP and she loves this community, and she is so excited to be coming back.  We look forward to creating more magical moments with her back at the helm of Miner Basketball.”

In her first stint as the Miners’ head coach (2011-17), Adams posted 284 victories over 16 seasons, while leading UTEP to four postseason tournament appearances (two NCAA, two WNIT) and four Conference USA championships (three regular season/one tournament).  UTEP posted 28 or more wins four times under Adams – 28-4 (2007-08 season), 29-4 (2011-12), 29-8 (2013-14) and 29-5 (2015-16).  The Miners were 16-0 in C-USA play during the 2007-08 season, becoming the first team to complete the league slate unbeaten, and fashioned a 15-1 mark during the 2011-12 campaign.  They were 16-2 in C-USA action during the 2015-16 season.

Adams is coming back to the Sun City following six seasons as the head coach at Wichita State.  In her most recent campaign with the Shockers (2022-23), she orchestrated an 18-win season and appearance in the postseason WNIT.  Wichita State upset top-seed USF in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship, 65-53.

Adams is closing in on 500 career coaching victories.  In 27 seasons as a head coach, including five at Independence Community College, she has compiled a record of 491-339.

Her record as UTEP’s head coach is 284-209, including a 142-28 mark in conference play.  After building the program from the ground up, Adams guided the Miners to 229 victories over her last 11 seasons as head coach, an average of 20.8 per season.

During her initial tenure as head coach at UTEP, Adams coached a total of 13 players to All-Conference honors – Starr Breedlove, Gloria Brown, Jareica Hughes, Natasha Lacy, Kimya Murray, Jenzel Nash, Izabela Piekarska, Anete Steinberga, Sparkle Taylor, Kayla Thornton, Cameasha Turner, Vaida Zagurskyte and Dragana Zoric.  Hughes was a two-time C-USA Player of the Year (2008, 2009).  Lacy and Thornton were honorable mention All-Americans in 2008 and 2014, respectively, and both went on to play in the WNBA.  Thornton currently plays for the New York Liberty.

Adams was named the C-USA Coach of the Year in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and the WBCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2008. She’s the lone C-USA women’s basketball coach to claim the honor three times.