Damon Named Lafayette Women's Basketball Head Coach
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EASTON, Pa. -- Kia Damon was officially introduced as the seventh head coach in Lafayette women's basketball program history on Wednesday morning. Damon brings a wealth of coaching experience with her to College Hill, having spent 19 years as an assistant coach at Cincinnati, Penn State, UMass, Fairleigh Dickinson and Green Bay.
"I am more than thrilled to join the Leopard family. Lafayette College is truly a special place and I felt a sense of community and pride from the moment I arrived on campus," Damon said. "My vision is to develop leaders who thrive in the classroom, in the community and on the court. Everyone I encountered, from President Byerly to the players, expressed a sincere desire for the women's basketball program to be successful, and I believe all the tools are in place to do so. My staff and I will work tirelessly to establish a standard of excellence in all areas of the program. This is a great opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
Lafayette Director of Athletics Bruce McCutcheon welcomed Damon as the new women's basketball head coach at a press conference on Wednesday morning.
"We are very excited to have Kia Damon join the Lafayette family. She has been highly successful at institutions that demand excellence in the classroom and also expect it on the basketball court. We are very fortunate to be able to bring an individual of her stature to College Hill," said McCutcheon, who worked with Snodgrass Partners Executive Search during the hiring process. "Kia has assisted young women in their journeys to become leaders of consequence through the vehicle of collegiate basketball for 20 years. Through our many conversations, I learned of her passion for creating a culture in which young women in her charge have developed critical thinking skills, were empowered to become knowledge seekers and further challenged to pursue excellence in every aspect of their lives."
A Baltimore native, Damon arrives at Lafayette after spending one season at Cincinnati, where she served as the offensive coordinator. Her other duties included scouting opponents, recruiting and coaching the wings. During her time at UC, she signed two top-100 recruits and helped the Bearcats to their first winning season since 2007.
Prior to her time in Cincinnati, Damon spent a nine-year stretch in State College, where she was a key part of Penn State's coaching staff. She was the Nittany Lions' offensive coordinator, played a vital role in opponent scouting and was the team's recruiting coordinator, helping the program reel in four top-20 recruiting classes.
Damon was a catalyst in helping Penn State lead the Big Ten in scoring in two of her last four years and rank first in the nation in three-point shooting in 2011. Additionally, she aided in the development of three All-Big Ten selections, including Tyra Grant and Kam Gissendanner, who both went on to play in the WNBA. During her time at Penn State, the Nittany Lions made the NCAA Tournament four times, including two Sweet 16 appearances, while also being crowned Big Ten Regular Season Champions from 2012-2014.
Before her tenure at Penn State, Damon was a member of the coaching staff at UMass for five years. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, she served as the recruiting coordinator in her final two seasons, in charge of prospect evaluation, home visits and management of the recruiting database. Damon helped recruit two student-athletes who received Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team recognition as well as a pair of top-50 junior college players. She was also involved in player development, coaching the post and perimeter players. With Damon on the staff, UMass enjoyed its most successful season in the last 20 years, capping the 2007 campaign with a 17-12 mark.
Damon spent three years at Fairleigh Dickinson prior to her arrival in Massachusetts. With the Knights, she worked as the recruiting coordinator while also aiding in scouting and player development. Under her guidance, the Knights produced a pair of First-Team All-Northeast Conference selections. Damon got her coaching career started at Green Bay, where she helped the Phoenix claim the MCC Championship in 1998 and 1999 for back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths.
Before embarking on her career as a coach, Damon was a four-year student-athlete at Millersville from 1993-97, where she helped the team reach the PSAC Tournament twice. Damon currently sits 15th in all-time three-point field goals made at Millersville with 77. She was Millersville's top offensive player in back-to-back seasons and was the Co-Sixth Player of the Year in 1995.
The 41-year-old Damon graduated from Millersville with a bachelor's degree in Speech Communication in 1997 before earning her master's degree in Corporate Communication from Fairleigh Dickinson in 2006. She replaces Theresa Grentz, who coached two seasons with the Leopards' program.