McElhiney coached ABA team to 21-10 record

Updated: June 3, 2005, 11:41 AM ET
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Ashley McElhiney joined the women's basketball staff at Alabama following a stint in which she became the first female head coach of a men's pro basketball team. She will handle administrative matters and work under first-year coach Stephany Smith.

McElhiney spent a year as coach of the Nashville Rhythm, guiding the American Basketball Association team to a 21-10 record and a playoff spot in its inaugural season. She left the same week the Rhythm owners declined the playoff berth, the final twist during a stay that featured a bizarre episode.

Co-owner Sally Anthony walked onto the court during a game, yelled at McElhiney after the coach ignored demands to bench a player and then fired her. Anthony had to be restrained by security guards. McElhiney returned to the team when Anthony was removed as the Rhythm's chief executive.

"I have always been impressed with her and hoped to have the opportunity to hire her," Smith said. "She is a very driven person with a positive demeanor and a true passion for the game of basketball."

McElhiney, a former Vanderbilt guard, ranked second nationally in assists as a senior and finished as the school's career leader.

"It is exciting to be back in the SEC, and I look forward to being a part of such a talented and experienced staff," McElhiney said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press