ASSISTANT COACH MALIKAH WILLIS
"We're really excited for Coach Willis to join our staff," head women's basketball coach Candice M. Jackson said. "She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program, having coached at two Power Five schools as well as the Division II and Mid-Major levels. She has an excellent base and understanding after playing under a hall of fame coach like Vivian Stringer at Iowa."
Before coming to the Lowcountry, Willis spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach for at Georgia Tech. She helped guide the Yellow Jackets to an 81-55 overall record, including a 29-35 clip against the ultra-competitive ACC. During that stint, Georgia Tech reached three WNIT's, one NCAA appearance, and in her final season she made it all the way to the WNIT championship game before succumbing to Michigan in a triple overtime thriller.
"I'm definitely thrilled to have the opportunity to come to the College of Charleston," Willis said. "This is a team I think has the potential to go far in the CAA. I'm looking forward to bringing my southern roots to our recruiting efforts, and I plan to use my 16 years of women's basketball experience to help Coach Jackson build something special here in any way I can."
"Post-player development is one of the things Coach Willis hangs her hat on, and our bigs will stand to benefit a lot from her," Jackson said. "For our players to learn from somebody who played professionally overseas is really invaluable. We're really looking forward to the energy she's going to bring to our program."
Prior to her time with the Yellow Jackets, she spent four years as an assistant coach at West Virginia. There, Willis helped lead WVU to four NCAA Tournament appearances. West Virginia won at least 20 games in three of her four years, including a program-best 29 victories in 2009-10. In only her second year, Willis and the Mountaineers posted the best start ever for a WVU team as the Mountaineers began the 2010-11 season 19-0 and had the No. 1 ranked scoring defense nationally for five weeks. WVU won three straight games over top-25 opponents for the first time in school history during the 2011-12 season.
Willis drew on her expertise with posts and forwards at West Virginia to help develop Asya Bussie into a 2009-10 All-Big East Freshman Team unanimous selection. Bussie went on to earn first team All-Big East as a junior in 2011-12. Willis also coached All-Big East selections Liz Repella, Sarah Miles and Korrine Campbell while at WVU. In 2012-13, forward Jess Harlee was selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
Willis arrived in Morgantown after two years as an assistant coach at Norfolk State. During her three previous seasons at Elizabeth City State, Willis coached post player Celeste Trahan, who became the first player in Division II history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,500 rebounds in a career. Willis also held assistant coach positions at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago State and Cheyney University.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Willis played at Christ the King High for three years and spent her senior season at Trinity High in Cleveland, Ohio. Christ the King was the No. 1 nationally ranked prep squad and won the national title in 1993. During her senior season, Willis helped Trinity High gain similar recognition as her team was ranked No. 2 after winning the national title and she was named a Parade All-American.
Willis was recruited to the University of Iowa by Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer where she was a part of the No. 1 ranked recruiting class. The Hawkeyes won the 1995 Big Ten regular season title and consecutive Big Ten Tournament titles in 1995 and 1996. A four-year letterwinner at Iowa, Willis earned bachelor's degrees in media studies and African-American studies in 1998. She played professionally for Color Cap Tybnik of Poland and Tapiola Honka of Finland in 1999, and Brazil's Santa Maria Club in 2000.