Here is a statement just released by WKU on Michelle Clark-Heard’s hiring as the Lady Toppers’ new women’s basketball coach:
Former Lady Topper Michelle Clark-Heard — who spent two years as the head coach at Kentucky State, and has helped lead Louisville into national prominence the last five years as an assistant coach — has been named the new women’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky University. The 15th head coach in Lady Topper history will be formally introduced at a 4 p.m. (CDT) press conference in the E.A. Diddle Arena media room.
Clark-Heard was part of four NCAA Tournament teams during her career at WKU, and has been on the bench as an assistant coach with seven other NCAA Tournament teams.
Clark-Heard just completed her fifth season as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. In those five seasons, the Cardinals have made three Sweet 16 appearances and made their first Final Four appearance, finishing as the National Runner-Up in 2009. Clark-Heard was instrumental in bringing in the No. 12 recruiting class in 2008, then followed with three consecutive Top 10 classes in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 2010 recruiting class was the highest ranked class in school history, ranked fifth in the nation. During her time at U of L, the Cardinals have produced eight all-Big East performers — six of which earned first-team honors. Forward Monique Reid earned first-team all-league honors in both 2010 and 2011.
Clark-Heard came to Louisville after spending two seasons as the head coach at Kentucky State. She rejoined Jeff Walz after coaching with him for three seasons on the Nebraska bench under former head coach Paul Sanderford.
She was named the head coach at Kentucky State University in June of 2005. She took over a program that had won just one game during the 2004-05 season. In her first season she led the Thorobrettes to a 5-23 record, four of the wins were against Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents. Her team was picked to finish 11th in the SIAC but ended the season in ninth place. In her last season she guided the Thorobrettes to an impressive 19-9 record, finishing tied for fourth place in the SIAC. Clark-Heard earned SIAC Coach-of-the-Year honors after the impressive turnaround. Her 2007 Thorobrettes were the second most improved team in NCAA Division II women’s basketball during the 2007 season.
Prior to taking the head coaching position at Kentucky State, Clark-Heard spent three seasons at Cincinnati as an assistant coach. The Bearcats advanced to postseason play in two of her three seasons there.
Clark-Heard spent four seasons at the University of Nebraska prior to her stint at Cincinnati. During that time, the Cornhuskers advanced to two NCAA Tournaments. She was also responsible for helping sign McDonald’s All-American Janice Bright for the Cornhuskers in 2001.
A four-year letterwinner on the Hill (1987-90), Clark-Heard was part of four NCAA Tournament teams during her Lady Topper career. She also helped guide the Lady Toppers to a pair of Sun Belt Conference Tournament championships (1988 and 1989) and two conference regular-season titles (1989 and 1990). She played in 118 games during her four years in the Hill, scoring 790 points and pulling down 615 rebounds. WKU amassed 89 victories during her four years in uniform, winning 70 percent of the games over that span and putting together three 20-win seasons.
Upon graduation from WKU, she spent eight years working within a recreational setting, five in Bowling Green and three with the Louisville Metro Parks Department. While in Louisville, she also served as head junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach at DuPont Manual High School for the 1994-95 seasons and played professionally with the Kentucky Marauders of the Women’s Basketball Association in 1994-95.
The Louisville native earned Kentucky High School State Player of the Year honors in 1986 while playing at Atherton High School. She was inducted into the Atherton Hall of Fame in 2003, and married Luther Heard on August 16, 2003.
The Michelle Clark-Heard File:
Born — July 27, 1968
High School — Atherton (Ky.) 1986
HS Athletics — Basketball, 4 letters
College — WKU (BA), 1990; Nebraska (MA), 2001
College Athletics — Basketball, forward, 4 letters
Coaching Experience —
Nebraska, assistant coach (1998-99 – 2001-02)
Cincinnati, assistant coach (2002-03 – 2004-05)
Kentucky State, head coach (2005-06 – 2006-07)
Louisville, assistant coach (2007-08 – 2011-12)
Family — Husband, Luther