Women’s basketball adds Elena Lovato to coaching staff

Austin, Texas — Texas women’s basketball head coach Vic Schaefer announced Friday the hiring of Elena Lovatowho will join your team as an Associate Head Coach.


Lovato returns for her second stint with the Forty Acres after spending the 2020-21 season with the Longhorns as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.


“It’s a big day for Texas women’s basketball to announce the return of Elena Lovato as my associate coach here at the University of Texas,” Schaefer said. “Coach Lovato and I have served together for many years, and we’ve had great success with our teams throughout those seasons. Coach Lovato brings experience as a head coach, she is a national champion and is highly respected in our industry.


What is most exciting to us is the impact it will have on our student athletes here in Texas. His work ethic is second to none and his passion for the game and our student athletes will allow us to continue to strive for greatness and championships here in Texas. Welcome back to forty acres Elena, our family has missed you.”


Including the 2020-21 season, Lovato spent a total of five seasons as an assistant on Schaefer’s team, including two different stints during his tenure at Mississippi State.


In 2020-21, the Longhorns won 21 games and advanced to the Elite Eight during a magical run at the NCAA Tournament that included a pair of wins over UCLA No. 3 and Maryland No. 2.


Additionally, Lovato played a key role in bringing Schaefer’s first recruiting class to UT, which was ranked 4th in the nation entering the 2021-22 season by espnW Hoop Gurlz, highlighted by a trio of McDonalds All-Americans in Rori Harmon, Aaliyah Moore and Kyndall Hunter.


During her time at Starkville, she helped recruit some of the best classes in Mississippi state history, who won four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including consecutive appearances in national title games, and collected the program’s first SEC Championship.


Most recently, she helped the Bulldogs win the best autograph class in the show’s history, which was ranked number 6 nationally by espnW Hoop Gurlz. Rickea Jackson, the nation’s fifth player and Mississippi’s first McDonald’s All-American, highlighted the group.


Between her two stints in Starkville, Lovato spent two years coaching Arkansas-Fort Smith. At UAFS, she led the Lady Lions to an overall record of 37-24, including a 20-10 mark at the Heartland Conference. His 2017-18 team reached the 20-win mark and earned a spot in the NCAA Division II Tournament.


In Lovato’s first two seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs posted a 55-15 overall record and a 22-10 SEC mark. She helped the state of Mississippi win back-to-back NCAA Tournament spots, including her first appearance on the NCAA Sweet 16 program since 2010.


Prior to joining the state of Mississippi, Lovato was one of the top junior college coaches in the country, recording 113-8 [.934] record in four seasons at the level. She spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns in charge of Trinity Valley Community College, where her teams recorded a 72-2 record and won the NJCAA National Championship each of those seasons.


Lovato was named the NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year after her 2013-14 team went 36-1 and won their second straight national title. The previous year’s team was also 36-1 en route to the national championship. Lovato has coached six NJCAA All-Americans at TVCC, including 2014 WBCA Player of the Year Adut Bulgak.


Lovato served one season as an assistant coach at Omaha, an NCAA Division II program that was transitioning to Division I, and another as a head coach at Grayson College in Denton, Texas.


At Grayson, Lovato took a program that finished 4-26 the previous year and took him to a 32-4 record, the NJCAA Region V Championship, and a fifth place national. She has won Coach of the Year awards from the Texas Basketball Coaches Association, North Texas College Athletic Conference and NJCAA Region V.


A year earlier, Lovato was assistant coach at Trinity Valley Community College before being promoted to interim coach for the final 11 games of the season. She led the Lady Cardinals to a 9-2 record and a sixth-place finish in the national tournament during that time.


Lovato was an assistant to Joe Curl’s Houston team in 2008-09 and, prior to that, was a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State, Kansas. The Albuquerque, NM native also trained in high school after a stellar playing career.


Before embarking on her coaching career, Lovato played two seasons with West Texas A&M before transferring to Missouri Southern State, where she was named team captain and MIAA Newcomer of the Year.


She went on to play professionally in the Puerto Rican Women’s Basketball League, winning the All-League First Team title after averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds in 2001. The following season, she averaged 18 points and eight. rebounds. In 2002, she also played for the Chicago Blaze of the National Women’s Basketball League. [NWBL].


Lovato earned her bachelor’s degree in university studies from Missouri Southern State in 2005 and her master’s degree in physical education from Pittsburg State in 2008.

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