Elena Lovato Named UAFS Women’s Basketball Coach

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – For the first time in 30 years, the UA-Fort Smith women’s basketball program  has a head coach not named Louis Whorton.

Elena Lovato was introduced as the Lady Lions new coach Friday at a press conference at the Stubblefield Center.

Lovato joins UAFS after spending the past two seasons as an assistant at Mississippi State. Lovato was previously the head coach at Trinity Valley Community College for four seasons and compiled a 113-8 record and won a pair of national championships.

“For us to attract that quality of a candidate says a lot about our program,” UAFS athletics director Dustin Smith said. “She knows this level. She knows what this level is about. She understands what this level is about but more than anything, she knows how to win.”

Lovato played two seasons at West Texas A&M before transferring to Missouri Southern State to finish her college career.

“I’m excited to be here,” Lovato said. “When they interviewed me they asked what separated me from other candidates and I said I’m a winner.”

UAFS posted a 21-9 record in 2015-16.

“Elena is a class act both on and off the floor. She impressed everyone with her demeanor, her confidence and her belief in her system and what she thinks can be done here at UAFS,” Smith said. “Also, her record as a head coach is phenomenal to say the least. Elena has a proven track record of success that I believe fits perfectly with where we want to continue to go as a NCAA Division II women’s basketball program. She embraces the incredible tradition Louis Whorton built here and wants to continue to make UAFS women’s basketball a presence on the national level.”

COACHING HISTORY
April 8, 2016   UAFS (NCAA Division II)
                        Head Coach

2014-16           Mississippi State University (NCAA Division I)
                        Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

2012-14           Trinity Valley Community College (NJCAA)
                        Head Coach

2011-12           University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA Division I)
                        Assistant Coach

2010-11           Grayson College (NJCAA)
                        Head Coach

2009-10           Trinity Valley Community College (NJCAA)
                        Assistant Coach/Interim Head Coach

2008-09           University of Houston (NCAA Division I)
                        Assistant Coach

2008                Pittsburg State University (NCAA Division II)
                        Graduate Assistant Coach