JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 29, 2013) – The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Monday that upon the recommendation of interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Richard Sander, ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland will seek approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to hire Brittney Ezell as the Buccaneers’ next head coach for women’s basketball.
Ezell, who played softball and basketball at the University of Alabama, has spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Belmont University in Nashville.
A press conference originally scheduled for Friday has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict with the president's office. The media luncheon has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 8 in the Ward Room, which is located on the third floor//west side of the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
“We were looking for someone who had played at the highest levels, understood what it takes to win championships, and had extensive collegiate coaching experience,” Sander said. “Brittney possesses all of these qualities. She has the dedication and passion to take our program to a championship level and back to the NCAA Tournament.”
In three years at Belmont, Ezell navigated the Bruins through their final two seasons as member of the Atlantic Sun Conference (2011-2012) and inaugural season in the Ohio Valley Conference (2013).
This past season, Ezell directed Belmont to an 18-14 campaign and the Bruins' first postseason appearance since 2007 - a berth in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). Belmont took on a rigorous non-conference schedule and earned victory at Big Ten fixture Indiana. Belmont went 11-5 in OVC play, tying for second place in the OVC East and earning the conference tournament's No. 3 seed.
Defense became a calling card for Belmont under Ezell, as the Bruins led the OVC in scoring defense (57.3). Moreover, Belmont ranked 19th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.347). The Bruins also ranked in the Top 50 nationally in turnovers per game (13.8) and free throw percentage (.748).
In 2011-12, Ezell directed the Bruins to 11 conference victories and a league tournament No. 3 seed in the program's final Atlantic Sun Conference campaign. Senior Haley Nelson ranked among the NCAA leaders in double-doubles, field goal percentage, blocked shots and rebounds en route to First Team All-Atlantic Sun honors.
And despite injuries and adversity in her first season at Belmont - 2010-11 - Ezell's Bruins came within a desperation 60-foot shot of reaching the tournament championship game.
Ezell took the helm of the Belmont program after spending the previous two seasons as head coach at the University of Montevallo. Inheriting a Falcon program that recorded one winning season in its previous 12 years, Ezell directed Montevallo to a 14-13 record in 2009-10. The Falcons also ranked second in the Peach Belt Conference in scoring defense.
Prior to Montevallo, Ezell spent three seasons as head coach at Okaloosa-Walton Junior College (now Northwest Florida State College) in Niceville, Fla. The Lady Raiders went 57-28 under Ezell's watch, which included an appearance in the 2006 NJCAA Regional Tournament. During her tenure, Ezell developed 14 All-Panhandle Conference performers, 12 of whom would go on to sign national letters of intent with NCAA Division I schools. The Lady Raiders also had 12 Academic All-Conference honorees.
Ezell's coaching career began at the University of Alabama, where she spent five years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. She was credited with delivering back-to-back Top 15 ranked recruiting classes for the Tide, with four guards developing into All-SEC players.
Ezell was a four-year starting point guard for the Tide, helping lead the team to a 95-34 record and four consecutive NCAA Division I "Sweet Sixteen" appearances from 1995-98. She ranks in the Top 20 in career scoring, with 1,022 points and is second all-time in career assists (620) and games started (114). She was a Second Team All-SEC selection in 1998 and was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team in 1996. In 1998, Ezell was a candidate for the Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the top point guard in the country and was named to the inaugural WBCA/Honda All-Star Game for the nation's top 20 players. She also was invited to the WNBA Rookie Combine in Chicago.
Additionally, Ezell became the first female two-sport athlete at Alabama in over a decade when she joined the Tide softball team. A two-time Golden Glove recipient and two-year starter at third base and shortstop, Ezell started at third base for UA's first SEC Tournament Championship team in 1998.
Ezell earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Alabama in 1999 and a master's degree in education administration from the University of Nebraska in 2005. A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Ezell was a prep standout at Franklin High School. She was a three-time District MVP, tallying over 2,000 points and 600 assists in her career.