Donna Finnie created a little history on Wednesday, becoming the first Brit ever to land a coaching job in NCAA Division One basketball.
The 36-year-old left Edinburgh three years ago after landing a job as assistant at Houston Baptist University, fulfilling a long-held ambition to pursue a full-time career in the sport.
The offer came after Finnie, who spent a brief period as a player in Texas, had led Scotland’s Under-18 and Under-16 women to rare success on the international stage.
And with the incumbent at HBU vacating her post at the end of the current season, Finnie – whose squad includes Scottish prospect Erin McGarrachan and ex-Barking Abbey standout Maisie Elston – has accepted an invite to take over.
“When you have to scrap and claw to get things for your national team at home just to be able to compete at a European championships, and then you get the opportunity to work in a Division 1 programme in the USA, it’s incredible,” she said.
“To then be named head coach of the team, it’s a dream come true and to do it with one of the players who I have coached for such a long time is even better.
“Having a GB connection over here is fantastic and I look forward to seeing what Erin and Maisie bring in their junior year. And I’m thankful for the opportunity and the faith the school have shown in me.”
Finnie is the fifth head coach in the history of the team.
“Getting to know Donna over the past three years, I am confident she is the right person to lead our women’s basketball programme,” HBU Director of Athletics Steve Moniaci said.
“The team has made great improvements recently and she has played an integral role in that success, so we are looking forward to entering the Southland Conference under her leadership.”
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