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June 12, 2014

Golden Eagle women's basketball coaching staff adds Dawkins


By Jocelyn VerVelde
TTU Sports Information Coordinator/Women's Basketball Contact

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech women's basketball head coach Jim Davis has announced the addition of assistant coach Laquanda Dawkins to his staff.

Dawkins will step in as an assistant coach and assume the responsibilities of coaching the wing position players as well as other off-court duties.

"She is a really good, quality person," Davis said of Dawkins. "She has had a lot of Division I assistant coaching experience, and then four years as a head coach at the NAIA level, and a head coach is a head coach in college basketball. She has great communication skills that will help our program. She will fit right in with our program; the players have a great deal of respect for her already."

Prior to Tech, Dawkins served the last four seasons as the head women's basketball coach at Southern Polytechnic State University, an NAIA Division 1 University. She led Southern Polytechnic State, a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference, to an 84–43 overall record.

Southern Poly discontinued its athletics department following the 2013-14 season after the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia decided on a consolidation plan that will merge the university with Kennesaw State University (KSU).

"Our athletics staff were in positions where Kennesaw State and Southern Poly merged," Dawkins said. "We were informed in February that our athletic programs were going to be discontinued, and I and other coaches were given the opportunity to look for other employment. I had a chance to consult with my mentors who know Coach Davis and they made recommendations on my behalf. Coach Davis reached out to me, I visited and interviewed, and I really enjoyed the process. I was offered other job opportunities, but the Tech position felt right, and I am excited for this opportunity."

Dawkins is in her 15th year of coaching women's basketball at the collegiate level.

In her first season as a collegiate head coach in 2010-11, Dawkins led Southern Poly to its second consecutive NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship and a 29-5 overall record. The Hornets won their second straight Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament title and the SSAC Eastern Division crown. On Dec. 12, 2010, Dawkins coached SPSU to its first-ever win over a NCAA Division I team, a 53-16 exhibition victory at Winthrop University.

Prior to joining Southern Poly, Dawkins was the recruiting coordinator at Winthrop for four campaigns from 2006-10. Her admirable recruiting skills and on-court coaching duties helped the Eagles achieve one of their best seasons in school history, which featured an appearance in the 2009 Women's National Invitation Tournament. In 2009-10, Winthrop finished sixth nationally in field goal percentage and 25th in scoring defense. During her time with the Eagles, they posted back-to-back winning seasons in the Big South Conference for the first time in the history of the program. In 2007-08, Winthrop ended third in the country in defensive field goal percentage, had its best start in school history as an NCAA Division I program and established a school record for wins (20) in a season at any level. Also when Dawkins was with the Eagles, they finished above .500 in conference play for the first time and appeared in three straight semifinal games of the conference tournament.

From 2003-06, Dawkins was the recruiting coordinator at Florida International University. In her three seasons there, Florida International compiled 48 wins and the 2005-06 team, behind the firepower of first-team all-conference selection Lasma Jekabsone, advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and made a fifth appearance in the WNIT. The Golden Panthers hosted their second postseason game in 2006, a preliminary-round, overtime victory over the Big East Conference's University of Cincinnati before falling at crosstown rival the University of Miami in the following round.
Prior to taking the position at FIU, Dawkins' first four years out of college were spent on the coaching staffs at Gardner-Webb University and the University of Iowa, where she helped lead the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Conference Tournament title in 2001.
A standout performer at the University of North Carolina, the Tar Heels captured three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament crowns in 1994-95, 1996-97 and 1997-98 and the AAC regular-season championship in 1997. While at North Carolina, Dawkins was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll and received the team's Coaches Award.

Dawkins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from UNC in 1999 and later received a Master of Science in physical education at Florida International in 2006. She is also a 2008 graduate of the NCAA Black Coaches & Administrators Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE) Program. Dawkins is an active member of the BCA and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

Originally from of Shelby, N.C., Dawkins has had her high school jersey retired by Crest Senior High School.