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Nikki McCray-Penson adds to MSU hoops coaching staff

Bulldogs welcoming in Tamisha Augustin from Arizona and Wesley Brooks from Michigan

The following is courtesy of Mississippi State media relations:

Mississippi State women’s basketball head coach Nikki McCray-Penson announced Tuesday the hiring of Tamisha Augustin and Wesley Brooks as assistant coaches.

“Tamisha and Wesley have been successful at developing players and helping programs win everywhere they have been, and I am really excited to have them in our program,” said McCray-Penson. “Tamisha has a championship pedigree. It doesn’t get much better than coaching in the Final Four, and that experience is what we need. She is a tenacious recruiter, and she really relates to players. She knows what the expectations are, and I like the mentality that she brings.

“Wesley has been around some great coaches and programs that have been successful. He excels in recruiting and player development. He’s recruited and coached some of the best players in the country. He just helped lead Michigan to its first Sweet Sixteen.”

Rising stars in the coaching industry, Augustin and Brooks boast nine years of coaching experience at Power 5 programs, four NCAA Tournament appearances and have coached multiple all-conference players at every level of Division I.

Augustin, who will also serve as the program’s recruiting coordinator, has spent the last two seasons on staff at Arizona, where she helped coach the Wildcats to the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA National Championship game this year. Arizona bested its opponents in the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four by double-digit points during the historic run, which was highlighted by a 69-59 victory against No. 1 UConn in the semifinals. She was named the World Exposure Report Assistant Coach of the Year after the season.

During her stint in Tucson, Augustin guided Arizona to a 45-13 record and coached them to seven victories against top-10 teams. Working with post players, she played a critical role in the development of two-time All-Pac-12 honoree and Naismith Trophy candidate Cate Reese. Augustin has also proven herself as one of the top recruiters in the country, signing three top-100 players and a pair of top transfers.

“I am excited to be joining the Bulldog family,” Augustin said. “I am looking forward to further building the championship culture here at Mississippi State University. I’ve admired Coach McCray’s work ethic and dedication to women’s basketball on all levels, and I look forward to growing and learning from one of the best in the sport. I have a passion for defense and playing an up-tempo style of offense. I am truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity. I am ready to hit the ground running.”

In her first season, Augustin helped Arizona to one of its most successful seasons of all time, as the Wildcats finished the season with a 24-7 record, tied for the second-most wins in program history. The Wildcats won three games over top-10 opponents and beat their first top-five team in program history after beating No. 4 Stanford in overtime. Additionally, Arizona’s win in Corvallis over ninth-ranked Oregon State was the first time in school history Arizona beat a top-10 team on the road.

Augustin helped Arizona sign five-star prospect Lauren Ware, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year and Jordan Brand Classic roster selection in 2020. She also helped bring in transfers Bendu Yeaney and 2020 ACC Sixth Player of the Year Trinity Baptiste, both of whom were starters on this year’s national runner-up team.

Prior to Arizona, Augustin spent back-to-back one-year stints at Cincinnati (2017-18) and Minnesota (2016-17). At Cincinnati, she helped the Bearcats win 19 games, the team’s most victories since the 2002-03 season. The Bearcats earned their first postseason bid since 2012 with an invite to the WNIT. She coached Iimar’i Thomas to AAC Freshman of the Year honors. Augustin groomed Minnesota’s All-Big Ten Second Team honoree Carlie Wagner and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection Kenisha Bell during her one year on campus.

In the summer of 2016, Augustin was one of seven assistant coaches from around the country chosen to participate in Advocates for Athletic Equity’s (AAE) annual “Achieving Coaching Excellence” (ACE) Professional Development Program. The program is recognized as helping to boost the careers of some of the top minority coaches in the college game.

Augustin was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UCF from 2014-16. She oversaw a stellar 2014-15 season for Zykira Lewis, who earned all-league second team recognition, set a UCF single-season record with 86 3-pointers and averaged 18.9 points per game. As recruiting coordinator, Augustin helped bring in a class which included two players who would go on to earn AAC honors.

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Prior to UCF, Augustin had successful stints as an assistant at VCU (2013-14), Marshall (2012-13) and South Carolina State (2010-12). Before getting into college coaching, she gained experience on the Nike Circuit and high school levels.

Augustin played collegiately at Alabama A&M from 2002-06 and was a two-time All-SWAC shooting guard and a four-time captain. An injury ended the Hampton, Virginia, native’s professional playing career in Hungary.

Augustin graduated from Alabama A&M with a bachelor's degree in biology in 2005. She earned a master's degree in microbiology there in 2007 and obtained a master's in education from Regent University in 2010.

Brooks comes to Starkville after a four-year stint with Michigan, where he helped guide the Wolverines to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and coached five All-Big Ten performers at the guard and wing positions.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me. Mississippi State has tradition and a legacy, and I am happy to join Coach McCray-Penson’s staff,” Brooks said. “I am looking forward to getting started and contributing. I want to help her get to the Elite Eight and Final Four. I am going to bring energy every day and build relationships with players and in the community. I love skill development and offense. I want to help bring new ideas and energy to the table. Our goal is to make Final Fours and win national championships.”

During Brooks’ final season in Ann Arbor, Michigan reached the program’s first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance and earned the highest ranking (No. 11) in program history. The Wolverines finished with a 16-6 record during the shortened season. Junior forward Naz Hillmon became the first Wolverine to be named Big Ten Player of the Year and earn All-American status. Junior Leigha Brown was also an All-Big Ten second team honoree under Brooks’ guidance.

In the 2019-20 campaign, the Wolverines compiled a 21-11 record and were poised to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan won three games at the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in school history, highlighted by a win over No. 11 Northwestern in the quarterfinals. Brooks worked with point guard Amy Dilk, who earned the first conference honors of her career in a second-team nod by the coaches.

The Wolverines made their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018-19, advancing to the second round after an 84-54 win over Kansas State. Hillmon racked up the postseason honors, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year and was a consensus All-Big Ten first teamer, while Hallie Thome grabbed her third straight All-Big Ten first-team nod.

In his first season at Michigan in 2017-18, the Wolverines returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. Michigan compiled a 23-10 record during the season, the second-most wins in a season in school history. Katelynn Flaherty set a new Michigan record by hitting 118 three-pointers on the season en route to earning her third straight consensus All-Big Ten First Team honors. U-M spent the majority of the season ranked in both polls, including a program-record 15-week run in the AP poll.

In 2020, Brooks participated in TopConnect, formerly known as Villa 7, which is a prestigious program that connects top assistants with other head coaches and athletic directors in networking opportunities and develops programming that allows top assistant coaches to hear from a wide variety of successful leaders in the basketball industry.

Before joining Michigan, Brooks spent two seasons at Utah, helping the Utes to 34 wins and a pair of postseason appearances in the WNIT. He was responsible for recruiting and assisted in post player development. Brooks also helped with extra skill development workouts with the team and ran the Utah Elite Women's Basketball Camp. Forward Emily Potter earned a spot on the PAC-12 All-Defensive Team and was an honorable mention selection by the coaches in 2017.

Prior to joining the coaching staff at Utah, Brooks was an assistant at North Texas for four seasons (2011-15), helping Loryn Goodwin to Sun Belt Freshman of the Year recognition in 2012. Before then, he was at Texas Southern (2008-11) and spent a season on the sidelines at Robert Morris (2007-08). Sade Logan was named the Northeastern Conference Player of the Year (2008), and two players at Robert Morris were named to the all-conference team under Brooks.

The Richmond, Virginia, native got his start at West Virginia, serving as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons (2004-06) and as the director of basketball operations for one year (2006-07). He graduated from WVU in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and received his master's in athletic coaching education in 2006. During his time as an undergraduate student at West Virginia, he served as a manager for the men's basketball program under head coach John Beilein.

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