Onetime Utah women’s basketball assistant Velaida Harris has been named the new women’s basketball head coach at Weber State, the school announced Tuesday.
Harris is the sixth head coach in Weber State women’s basketball history, and the first African-American woman to be named a Division I head coach of any sport in the state of Utah.
“I’m so grateful and thankful for the opportunity to lead the Weber State women’s basketball program,” Harris said in a news release. “I’m excited to build on the momentum and continue to grow this program. I truly feel that Weber State is an exceptional university and that the state of Utah is a hidden gem. I am really looking forward to getting started.”
Harris brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to Weber State, including nine seasons coaching at the Division I collegiate level.
“We are thrilled to welcome Velaida as our new women’s basketball head coach,” Weber State Director of Athletics Jerry Bovee said in the relase. “This is a historic hire and she will bring a high level of experience to Weber State. She has many connections in coaching and recruiting in the state of Utah and other areas of the country. She also has a hunger and passion to succeed and to grow our program and she will be a tremendous addition to our athletic department.”
Harris was on the staff at Utah from 2009-15. She began her career with the Utes as the director of basketball operations under head coach Elaine Elliott. She earned a promotion to assistant coach and then added the responsibility of recruiting coordinator under head coach Anthony Levrets.
During her stint at Utah, the program reached the postseason four times. She helped guide the Utes to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and the finals of the WNIT in 2013. She coached 11 all-conference selections and 26 academic all-conference performers during her stint at Utah.
Harris comes to Weber State after spending this past season as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island where she worked primarily with Rhode Island’s perimeter players.