WBCA announces inaugural Assistant Coaches of the Year

ATLANTA (March 24, 2016) – The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has announced its inaugural Assistant Coaches of the Year in each of the six WBCA membership divisions. 

The Assistant Coach of the Year award is presented to the recipient who demonstrated commitment to the program, to their student-athletes and head coach, their impact coaching on court, mentorship and impact on other coaches, as well as their professional manner and attitude.

"The role of an assistant coach is profoundly important to team leadership and chemistry. The daily example set by the head and assistant coach as a unit, ripples through basketball lessons and life lessons.  The WBCA is proud to name these six individuals as the Assistant Coach of the Year in their respective divisions," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. "These coaches were selected by their peers and the WBCA celebrates and applauds these coaches for their lasting commitment to use our game as a platform to positively impact their student-athletes, institution, and community.”

The inaugural Assistant Coaches of the Year are:
        NCAA Division I – Niele Ivey, University of Notre Dame
        NCAA Division II – Jessie Ivey, University of West Florida
        NCAA Division III – Rob Slopek, Stevenson University
        NAIA – Beck Flanagan, Loyola University (New Orleans)
        Junior/Community College – Nakia DeBlanc, Daytona State College
       • High School – Daniel Michalak, Platt High School (Meriden, Connecticut)

Niele Ivey took the role of associate coach at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, this past summer and has helped the Fighting Irish post a 33-1 record on the season. Ivey became an assistant women’s basketball coach for Notre Dame in 2007 and has helped guide the program to a 283-43 (.868) record including five NCAA Women’s Final Four berths, four NCAA title game appearances, four regular season conference championships and three conference tournament championships split between the Big East and ACC.  The St. Louis native has been the women’s basketball recruiting coordinator since 2012. She works closely with the development of point guards, leads recruiting, contributes to game scouting, practice planning and summer camp coordination.

Jessie Ivey, an assistant coach at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, helped guide the Argos to a 17-10 season. Since joining the coaching staff in 2010, UWF has appeared in the Gulf South Conference Tournament four times, winning the tournament championship in 2014 and has advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament twice, reaching the semifinals in 2015. Ivey was promoted to recruiting coordinator in May of 2015. Prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, Ivey participated in the WBCA’s 2015 Center for Coaching Excellence that was held in Atlanta. She also participated in the Assistant Coaches Leadership Workshop in Quantico, Virginia.  The Jay, Florida, native currently sits on the WBCA Assistant Coaches Committee.

Rob Slopek, finished his sixth season as associate head coach at Stevenson University. He is also in charge of recruiting for the Mustangs.  Slopek helped lead the Mustangs to a 17-10 record, their third straight postseason appearance and the program’s first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference South Championship.

Beck Flanagan finished his fourth season as assistant coach at Loyola University in New Orleans and helped lead the Wolf Pack to a 23-8 season, as well as a second-straight Southern States Athletic Conference Championship Tournament title. The program has posted an 83-39 record since his arrival in 2012, along with three-straight 20-win seasons. The Los Angeles native also serves as the recruiting coordinator.

Nakia DeBlanc finished her first season as assistant coach at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida, and helped guide the Lady Falcons to a 28-3 record and an unblemished 12-0 conference record. With the exceptional regular and conference play, the program earned their first bid to the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship.

Daniel Michalak, an assistant coach at Platt High School in Meriden, Connecticut, since 2004, helped lead the Panthers to a state tournament appearance, their first in five years. Michalak also serves as the junior varsity head coach and led the team to a 14-4 record. 

The Assistant Coach of the Year award winners will be recognized during the WBCA Convention, which is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four® in Indianapolis.

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About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.