HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Laura Beeman has been selected as the new head women's basketball coach at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Athletics Director Jim Donovan formally introduced Beeman at a press conference Friday at Les Murakami Stadium.
Beeman boasts nearly 20 years of coaching experience on the both the collegiate and professional level. The San Bernardino, Calif., native established herself as one of the best junior college coaches in the nation before enjoying similar success as an assistant coach at USC and with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks.
"We are very pleased to hire a coach that has the vast experience and success that Coach Beeman has achieved," says Donovan. "Not only does she have a personality that will fit well in Hawai'i and a proven track record, Coach Beeman has extensive recruiting contacts in California which will be a huge plus for us as we head into the Big West Conference next season."
Beeman, 43, is the eighth head coach since the program's inception in 1974 and the third female head coach in its history.
"It was kind of like the stars aligned a little bit and I felt this was the right position for me," Beeman said. "We'd definitely like to make a name for ourselves immediately in the Big West and try to get into the NCAA Tournament. We want to play a level of basketball that's enjoyable to watch, that people want to come to see us play and fans want to support these young women."
Beeman spent the last two seasons at USC as associate head coach under Michael Cooper where they re-established the Women of Troy as a PAC-12 power. There she helped quickly revitalize the program with 42 combined wins in the last two years. In her first season, the team finished 24-13 and advanced to the WNIT Championship game. The team ultimately finished with the program's best record in 17 years.
The Women of Troy garnered an 18-win season his past year, including a six-game win streak to finish the regular season. In just two years, Beeman coached nearly a half dozen all-conference players, while also helping put together back-to-back nationally ranked recruiting classes.
Beeman and Cooper had previously worked together for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in 2008. As an assistant under Cooper that season, she helped lead the Sparks to the Western Conference Finals after a one-year absence from the post-season. While with the Sparks, Beeman coached the No. 1 pick Candace Parker along with veteran All-Stars Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton-Jones.
Prior to her stint with the Trojans, Beeman made her mark at the junior college level where she enjoyed a phenomenally successful 15-year run as the head coach at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). There she led the Mounties to 10 conference championships and four California Community College State Championships-including a string of three straight from 2006-08. Beeman was selected conference Coach of the Year four times and was voted the district and regional coach of the year in 2001. She led Mt. SAC to a school-best 37-1 record in both the 2007 and 2008 season. During her tenure with the Mounties, she produced 80 all-conference selections, 24 all-state selections, and 10 all-region selections. Beeman posted a 390-110 (.780) record during her tenure at Mt. SAC.
As a player, Beeman was an All-American guard at Cal State San Bernardino where she set the career, season and game assist records. She graduated in 1992 with a degree in business administration from CS San Bernardino and later earned a master's degree in education with an emphasis on counseling from the University of Redlands. She earned a second master's degree in education with an emphasis in physical education from Azuza Pacific University.