Kemp announces hiring of three new assistant coaches for 2006-07
Kemp announces hiring of three new assistant coaches for 2006-07
Wednesday, August 23, 2006


            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (August 23, 2006) - ETSU head women's basketball coach Karen Kemp announced Wednesday the hiring of three new assistant coaches.  Eric White, Matt Smith III and DeShawne Blocker will join Kemp's staff for the 2006-07 season.


"After only a short time together as a staff, I can already see the chemistry and know that we will compliment each other well," Kemp said.


Eric White began his coaching career at the University of Montevallo (1992-96), followed by stints at East Central Community College (1996), the University of Tennessee at Martin (1996-2000), Middle Tennessee State University (2000-02) and Shelbyville Central High School (2002-03). A native of Boaz, Ala.., White has a combined 14 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and high school level. This season will mark his ninth at the Division I level, where he most recently was an assistant at Austin Peay State University (2003-2006) under former coach Andy Blackston. 


White has coached on two teams which won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships. He was part of the 2003-04 Austin Peay team that won both the OVC regular season and tournament championship, as well as the 1998-99 Tennessee-Martin team which garnered a regular season championship. During the 2002-03 season, he assisted at Shelbyville Central High School, which won the Tennessee State Championship.


While at the University of Montevallo, White began his coaching career as a student assistant coach and helped lead the Falcons to four NAIA Tournament appearances. White graduated from the University of Montevallo in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science and earned a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2000.


"I'm extremely happy to have Eric join my staff," Kemp said. "He brings a lot of experience having coached at several universities within the state. He has developed many recruiting contacts throughout the state and the Southeast. Eric's main responsibility will be as recruiting coordinator."


Matt Smith III brings 10 years of experience as a coaching professional and proven leader.  He has spent the last two seasons as the assistant women's basketball coach at Lees-McRae College. 


While at Lees-McRae, Smith was responsible for developing post players, which resulted in the conference freshman of the year in 2005 and the 10th leading scorer on the Division II level. As a Certified Speed, Agility and Quickness trainer, he was able to implement a 12-month strength and conditioning program, a nutritional program and a speed, agility, quickness and ACL prevention program with at Lees-McRae. Smith was also in charge of monitoring the team's academic performance and helped the team obtain an overall 3.5 GPA.


Since 1989, Smith has been part of the Virginia Army National Guard. As an Executive Officer, he helped manage all administrative and logistical support for over 500 soldiers and is responsible for ensuring proper staff coordination for a staff of 50 people. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems, from Longwood University in 1988.


"I knew after only one day in the office that Matt was the perfect choice for my staff," Kemp said. "He will be an integral part of developing our freshman and he has a vast knowledge in the training area. Along with the development of players he will be in charge of team travel."


For the final position on staff, Kemp went back to a former player that enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in ETSU women's basketball history. Former standout DeShawne Blocker will begin her coaching debut under Coach Kemp this season. 


"DeShawne was part of the women's basketball team when I arrived in 1994," Kemp said. "She was a big part of our success then, and I expect the same thing in 2006 and many years to come. She has that spirit that naturally wins you over. By being one of the top rebounders and scorers in ETSU history, I know she will help develop the post players and we will become a much better rebounding team."


Blocker was one of the toughest rebounders in Lady Buccaneer history, and also earned a place in the NCAA record books during her career at ETSU. She led the NCAA during the 1993-94 campaign, in both rebounds for a season (450) and rebounds per game (17.6). Blocker, the third-highest scorer in ETSU history with 2,086 points, posted the highest rebounding game in the NCAA during both the 1993 and 1994 seasons, with 25 and 28 boards. 


She was a two-time SoCon Player of the Year, also tabbed SoCon Freshman of the Year in 1992, as well as SoCon Tournament MVP and SoCon Athlete of the Year in 1995. One of the most heralded players in Lady Buc history, Blocker was a US Basketball Association honorable mention All-American in 1994 and 1995. After three years of playing professionally in Spain, Greece, Austria and Finland, Blocker then became employed as an exceptional children's teacher for the Wakulla Country Board of Education. 


The Lady Bucs will open the 2006-07 campaign on the road November 10, against North Carolina, a 2006 Final Four participant.