September 13, 2020
Shereka Wright introduced as UT Arlington head coach
The standout player-turned-impactful coach takes the reins at a program on the rise
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
Here at The Next, we host regular subscribers-only video chats, as a way to say thank you for supporting our work here and give you a chance to discuss all things women’s basketball with our unparalleled staff.
Our next chat is a preview of the WNBA Playoffs with Howard Megdal and staff writers at The Next on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at noon ET. Subscribe so you don’t miss it.
Shereka Wright is introduced as the 10th women’s basketball coach in UT Arlington history on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (Screenshot via Mavericks All-Access)
Former WNBA player, three-time All-American and Texas High School Hall of Famer Shereka Wright was introduced as UT Arlington’s 10th women’s basketball head coach on Thursday, Sept. 10. The hiring was announced Sept. 4 by UTA Athletic Director Jim Baker.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me to return home. This is home for me,” Wright said at Thursday’s introductory press conference. “And to be able to lead these young women — Coach [Krista] Gerlich and her staff had done a tremendous job of setting the foundation of what it looks like to be in a winning culture. I’m here to just continue to push that, to push these young ladies to see what it means to win championships.”
Wright arrives in Arlington from Vanderbilt, where she spent two seasons as the associate head coach. Prior to Vanderbilt, she spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Alabama and seven seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Tech. At all three schools, Wright excelled at recruiting and mentoring forwards and centers.
As a player, Wright took her Texas High School Hall of Fame career to Purdue, where she became the only Boilermaker to be named an All-American three times. She was also named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team as a freshman. A member of the Purdue Hall of Fame, she ranks in the top 10 in points, rebounds and blocks, and holds the Big Ten career record for attempted free throws.
Wright was selected 13th overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft and spent two seasons with the Phoenix Mercury until an injury ended her career.
“When I called her to tell her that we wanted her to be the head coach, before the words even got out of my mouth, she said, ‘I’m there,’” Baker said. “That’s exciting because we want to be here, and we want someone who wants to be here, and we’re really excited for her.”
A member of the Sun Belt Conference since 2013-14, Gerlich’s first season, the Lady Mavericks went from finishing 4-25 to notching three 20-win seasons in their last four, including last season’s 21-11 campaign. UTA made two WNITs under Gerlich — who departed UTA to accept the head coaching job at Texas Tech on Aug. 18 — most recently in 2018-19, where it made the second round.
In the new season, the Lady Mavericks are aiming for their first-ever Sun Belt tournament title and a place in their third-ever NCAA Tournament, which would be their first appearance since 2007.
“I think we’ve got the right coach to take us forward … we’re bringing a Texas girl home,” Baker said.