Long was assistant for six years
RUSTON, La. -- Chris Long, a former high-school coach who came to Louisiana Tech as an assistant after Leon Barmore recruited one of his players, is the fourth women's coach at Louisiana Tech.
He replaces Kurt Budke, who moved last week to Oklahoma State and a $100,000-a-season raise and has said Long would be the ideal coach.
University President Dan Reneau called an afternoon news conference Friday to introduce Long, who came to Tech six years ago in what turned out to be Barmore's final year as coach.
They met when Long was in his second year coaching the girl's team at Vicksburg High and Barmore was recruiting Trina Frierson, who now plays for the Seattle Storm of the WNBA.
"Leon Barmore was the one that gave me this opportunity when he asked me to join the staff," Long said. "Without him, this wouldn't have been possible at all. He's the best and I was able to learn under the best."
Tech's other finalist was Western Carolina coach Kellie Harper.
Long, 36, coached the Vicksburg Junior High for three years before the high school team.
He played high-school basketball at Warren Central High in Vicksburg and has an advertising degree from Southern Mississippi and a master's in school administration from Alcorn State. He is married and has a son and daughter.
Budke said Long's thorough evaluation of Tech's opponents was a major reason for their 167-29 record during Long's six years as an assistant. Long coached post players, was an offensive coordinator and head of junior college recruiting, worked with high school recruits, scouted and was the team's academic counselor.
His promotion came less than a week before the NCAA's late recruiting period begins, next Wednesday.
"Coach Long will be a great head coach for the Lady Techsters," said WAC Player of the Year and point guard Tasha Crain, a three-year player. "He understands the game, loves Tech and is dedicated to making the Lady Techsters the best program around."
The Lady Techsters have appeared in all 24 NCAA tournaments -- a record which started under Sonja Hogg, who lobbied to create a women's team and then was named its first coach.
This year, they finished 20-10 after losing to Temple 66-61 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Techsters have more NCAA tournament wins than any school except Tennessee.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press