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Allen Edwards returns to the Bluegrass State in 2010-11 for his first season as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky University, bringing with him two National Championships and six NCAA Tournament appearances as a player or coach. Edwards comes to the Hill from Towson University, where he spent the 2009-10 season as an assistant coach.
No stranger to the commonwealth of Kentucky, Edwards previously spent time as an assistant coach at Morehead State and prior to that was a standout on two of the University of Kentucky’s national championship teams under Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith.
“I am very pleased with how our assistant coaching search has ended up,” WKU head men’s basketball coach Ken McDonald said. “We looked at many highly-qualified coaches, and Allen’s enthusiasm, experience and reputation all fit the criteria for what is important for our program to keep getting better. Allen has great character, excellent recruiting ties, and has high level practical and recruiting experience. We welcome Allen, his wife, LaTanya, daughter, Mai’a and son, Jaxon, to the Hilltopper family.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Edwards said. “I would characterize Western Kentucky University men’s basketball as a ‘sleeping giant.’ I was amazed by the facilities and the support, and I am very excited to be back in a tremendous basketball state. The tradition of the program speaks for itself, and Coach McDonald and his staff have done well since they’ve been here. I’m excited about the opportunity, and I look forward to working with all of the coaches and players.”
A four-year letterwinner at Kentucky, Edwards and the Wildcats advanced to three-straight Final Fours in his sophomore-through-seniors seasons and fell one win shy of the Final Four in his freshman season of 1994-95. The Wildcats captured National Championships in 1996 and 1998, giving Edwards two title rings during his time in Lexington.
In his four-year Kentucky career, which spanned the last three years of the Rick Pitino era and the first year of Tubby Smith’s tenure, Edwards’ teams compiled a remarkable 132-16 record and three Southeastern Conference titles to go along with the three Final Four appearances and two National Championships. He averaged 9.2 points, 3.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game for the Wildcats during his senior season when Kentucky captured its seventh all-time NCAA title. He also averaged 8.6 points per game as a junior in 1996-97.
After a successful playing career in the CBA and the IBL, Edwards returned to Kentucky to serve as a special assistant to Smith for the 2002-03 season. While completing his degree in sociology, Edwards helped the Wildcats to a 16-0 record in SEC play and the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Edwards began a three-year stint at Morehead State in the 2003-04 season, working as an assistant coach on Kyle Macy’s staff. He joined the staff at Virginia Commonwealth for the 2006-07 season and helped the Rams to a 76-25 overall record and a 45-9 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. In Edwards’ three years at VCU the Rams advanced to the postseason each year, earning two NCAA Tournament berths and advancing once to the NIT.
In the 2007 NCAA Tournament, VCU eliminated Duke in a first-round upset. Thanks to Edwards’ defensive-minded coaching, the Rams led the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense and were in the top 10 in the nation in field goal percentage defense. In 2008-09, the Rams led the CAA in field goal percentage defense.
After his time at VCU, Edwards moved to Towson University, where he was an assistant coach under legendary head coach Pat Kennedy. The Tigers went 10-21 in 2009-10.
A native of Miami, Fla., Edwards earned Florida’s Mr. Basketball award during his final season at Miami Senior High School.
Edwards and his wife, LaTanya, have two children, 10-year old daughter, Mai’a and three-year old son, Jaxon.
The Edwards File
High School: Miami Senior HS, Miami, Fla.
College: Kentucky, 2002 (Bachelor of Science)
College Athletics: Basketball, guard, four letters (two National Championships)
Kentucky, special assistant, 2002-03
Morehead State, assistant coach, 2003-06
VCU, assistant coach, 2006-09
Towson, assistant coach, 2009-10