Evelyn Thompson has been selected to take the helm of the Cleveland State Women's Basketball Team. With more than 20 years of coaching experience under her belt, Thompson will start a new era of Lady Cougar basketball.
Evelyn graduated from Auburn University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Psychology. She got her coaching start at Arizona State University where she assisted the Sun Devils to a top 20 ranking and a NCAA tournament appearance in 1993. Evelyn then spent five years at the University of Buffalo, as an assistant coach. Her next coaching position was that of assistant coach at Michigan State University where she yet again found more success. Evelyn helped the Spartans by recruiting two players that became Big Ten All-Freshman team members, she also assisted the team to a WNIT runner-up finish in 2008 and a Sweet Sixteen NCAA finish in 2009. Next up, Evelyn became the assistant head coach at Stony Brook where she eventually became the interim head coach for the last three months of the 2011 season.
As an athlete, Evelyn Thompson led Northeast Mississippi to a NJCAA National Championship in 1986-1987. She garnered Kodak All-American honors at Northeast in 1988. She then went on to play for Auburn University where she contributed to two NCAA National Championship runner-up finishes, two SEC Championships and was named to the SEC All-Tournament and NCAA Region All-Tournament teams. In 2009, she was inducted into the Northeast Mississippi Community College Hall of Fame.
Now at Cleveland State, Evelyn not only wants to make her team better basketball players, her mission is to make them better women as well. "It's my job to mentor them," Head Coach Thompson said, "I want to be a head coach who sends out women who are ready for their profession, no matter what it is." She continued, "Not only am I trying to teach my players the game of basketball, I'm teaching them the game of life. That is my main focus right now, whether they want to go on a play for a four-year program or go on into a career or start a family, whatever it may be, it's my job to prepare them for that."
As for expectations for the upcoming season, Coach Thompson replied, "Well, of course we'd like to improve from last season. Our first goal is to make sure we do better than we did last year. That includes our wins and losses but also how our program is structured, how campus views us and how the community views us." She went on to say, "The product we're trying to build here at Cleveland State is one from which Division I schools will recruit. We'd love to have SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, those types of conferences to ask about our players."
Now as the head coach of CSCC women's basketball, this is the first time Evelyn has had the opportunity to build a program of her own. With the goals of constant improvement, empowering her players and engaging with the community, the Lady Cougars are a team to keep an eye on. Look out for our new Cleveland State Women's Basketball Head Coach, Evelyn Thompson, as she opens the season against Snead State Community College on November 1st.