Stephens’ coaching career comes full circle

Chris Bullock

After spending three years as an assistant coach for the Sacramento State women’s basketball team, Kim Stephens is going back to where it all began.

Stephens has been hired as the new women’s basketball head coach at her alma mater, Glenville State University, according to a news release from the school’s athletic director, Marcal Lazenby.

For Sac State head coach Bunky Harkleroad, losing Stephens is a big blow to the program.

“She had a great impact on our program in all areas, and she will be missed,” Harkleroad said.

Stephens and Harkleroad go back to Harkleroad’s coaching days at Glenville State, where he coached before coming to Sac State. Stephens played under Harkleroad when she was a student there, and she was team captain of the 2010-11 team that made it to the Division II NCAA Tournament.

After graduating from Glenville State in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, Stephens moved on to Ohio Valley University, where she graduated with a master’s degree in education while serving as a graduate assistant coach.

Stephens went back to Glenville State for the 2012-13 season to serve as an assistant to Harkleroad. After Harkleroad was named the head coach at Sac State for the 2013-14 season, Stephens joined him as his top assistant.

In her time at Sac State, Stephens helped with budgeting, on-court skill development, recruiting and traveling. She helped lead the Hornets to their first-ever postseason appearance, in 2015, when the Hornets advanced to the third round of the WNIT. Under her tutelage, the Hornets also led the NCAA Div. I in 3-pointers, offensive rebounding and steals all three years of her tenure.

Junior guard Brianna Burgos, who led the team in 3-pointers made this season, was very appreciative when it came to what Stephens meant to the team.

“Coach Stephens, first and foremost, was a coach who could relate to us,” Burgos said. “She played under Bunky [Harkleroad], so she understood where we were coming from a lot of the time. And she pushed us hard. There were workouts that I never thought I’d be able to do in a million years, but she pushed us to do it and get through it because she knew we could. We will all miss her.”