Bowling Green, Ky. - Western Kentucky University Lady Topper basketball coach Mary Taylor Cowles officially introduced the two newest members of her coaching staff Friday morning at a press conference at E.A. Diddle Arena.
WKU alums Tim Riley and Camryn Whitaker, along with Cowles, fielded questions from the media after it was annouced on Tuesday that the duo would join the staff as assistant coaches.
"In my analysis of the Lady Topper program, I determined we needed to add individuals who have tactical expertise, can recruit and have demonstrated a proven record of success. Therefore, I am very excited about the opportunity to bring Camryn and Tim on to my staff," said Cowles in Tuesday's press release. "Camryn knows our program as well as anybody and has so much passion for WKU and Lady Topper Basketball. Her five years of experience in college coaching and recruiting allows her to bring a lot of ideas to the table in all aspects of the job. Tim had a true interest in wanting to get into college coaching and wanting to do it at WKU. I feel like our women's basketball program will benefit from Tim's knowledge of the game and the understanding he has of what it takes to win. Tim's energy and excitement for the game is obvious when talking with him and he also has a tremendous love for WKU. I believe our program has taken big steps forward in the hiring of these two individuals."
During her time at Missouri State, Whitaker was in charge of working with the Lady Bear guards, as well as overseeing the program's recruiting efforts. The Lady Bears won 56 games during Whitaker's three years in Springfield, including recording over 20 victories of the each past two seasons. MSU won 22 games in 2009-10, winning a pair of games in the Women's National Invitation Tournament, and got to the second round of the WNIT in 2011 after a 24-win campaign and a trip to the MVC Tournament championship game.
Prior to joining the staff Missouri State in May 2008, Whitaker spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Austin Peay. The Austin Peay job was Whitaker's first full-time coaching position following a stint in the corporate business sector after her 2005 graduation from WKU.
"Being back at WKU is a dream come true," said Whitaker. "I am so thankful to Coach Cowles for thinking of me and giving me this opportunity to be back on the Hill. I love this program and I want to give back to it for all that I received during my time as a student-athlete. My passion for WKU and being back home is so strong and I want to use it to help this program succeed."
The Cynthiana, Ky., native was a standout point guard for the Lady Toppers from 2000-05. Whitaker started 117 of 126 games during her WKU career, helping the Lady Toppers to 97 victories and postseason appearances in each of her five seasons with the program - including NCAA Tournament appearances during her freshman season in 2000-01 and her redshirt campaign in 2002-03.
She set a WKU and Sun Belt Conference freshman record for assists (170) in 2000-01 and averaged 3.9 assists to go along with 5.8 points and 1.3 steals per game during her career. She left a sizeable imprint on the WKU record book, despite being hampered by a knee injury that forced her to miss the 2002-03 campaign as a medical redshirt. Whitaker still stands third all-time in career assists (486), sixth in games started (117), eighth in minutes played per game (29.4) and 10th in steals (170).
Riley amassed a 338-215 record in 21 seasons as a high school head coach, including a 307-128 mark in the last 14 years at Warren Central. During those 14 seasons, he turned the Dragons into a state powerhouse, leading them to eight KHSAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, and a state championship in 2004. WCHS followed up the title with a run to the championship game in 2005. In all, the Dragons won 12 Sweet Sixteen games under Riley, and made six straight trips to Lexington between 2002-07. Warren Central also won the Fourth Region championship in 2010 and 2011.
Since 1999, Riley's Dragons compiled a 27-3 record in Fourth-Region Tournament games, winning 24 of their last 25 games in the region tournament.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to work for a university that I have loved since my childhood," said Riley. "This is a great opportunity for me to work with one of the premier women's basketball coaches in the country, and for a coach I have the utmost respect for in Mary Taylor Cowles."
Riley served as head boys basketball coach at both LaRue County and Caverna High Schools prior to taking over at Warren Central. He was selected as the head coach for the 2006 Kentucky All-Star team that took on the Indiana All Stars in the annual two-game series. He also was inducted into the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Honor in 2010.
Additionally, it was announced that David Graves - who spent the last nine seasons as the Lady Toppers' associate head coach - will not return next season as he will pursue other career opportunities.
"I feel it is in my best interests from a career development standpoint to pursue other coaching opportunities," Graves said. "I cannot thank Mary enough for her support and guidance over the last nine years I have served on her staff. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished, and every single day it has been a true joy working with our wonderful student-athletes. I move on with the memories of positive experiences that will last a lifetime. I wish everyone associated with WKU and the Lady Topper program all the best."
"I'm very appreciative to David for all he has given to Lady Topper Basketball," added Cowles. "Having known David since my time as a student-athlete at WKU, I have an unbelievable amount of respect for him both as a coach and a person. I wish he and his family nothing but the best going forward."
Graves returned to his alma mater in 2002 as the associate head coach on Cowles' staff. During his nine seasons in the position he helped the Lady Toppers reach postseason play seven times, including a pair of NCAA Tournaments.
A 1991 WKU graduate, he had previously spent four years as a student manager under Paul Sanderford, and served as a Lady Topper assistant for five years after graduation.
Graves left WKU to become the head coach at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., spending six seasons at the helm of the Terriers' program. When he took the job in 1996, Graves was the youngest head coach in Division I. During his stay at Wofford, Graves coached three all-conference selections, three all-tournament picks and Louisville native Jenny Nett, the 2002 SoCon Player of the Year, and an academic All-American.
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