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2018 USA Women's U18 Court Coaches

Jose Fernandez and Joni Taylor Selected as Court Coaches for 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team Trials

  • Date:
    May 8, 2018

Collegiate women’s basketball coaches Jose Fernandez of the University of South Florida and Joni Taylor of the University of Georgia have been selected to serve as court coaches at the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials, which will take place May 26-28 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Fernandez and Taylor will be on hand to assist the USA U18 coaching staff of Jeff Walz (Louisville), Natasha Adair (Delaware) and Cori Close (UCLA) during trials, which will be used to determine finalists for the 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team that will compete in the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (site and dates are to be announced). Finalists for the team are expected to be announced on May 28.

“Jose and Joni will be great additions to the USA women’s U18 trials staff,” said Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington University), chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting players and coaches for USA women’s U18 and U19 teams. “They complement the U18 coaches well, and our talented group of athletes will be fortunate to have their expertise as court coaches. Jose has been a proven winner over the course of 18 years at USF, and Joni is an up and coming talent in our game.&rdquo

The head coach at the University of South Florida for 18 seasons (2000-01 to present), Fernandez will enter his first USA Basketball assignment as a court coach at the 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team Trials.

Overall at South Florida, he has compiled a 335-243 record (.580 winning percentage), including six NCAA Tournaments, and he led his team to a 2009 WNIT championship.

In 2017-18, he guided USF to a 26-8 record, which was his sixth-straight season with at least 20 wins, a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and he was named the 2018 American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

“It is truly an honor to be selected to be a part of USA basketball,” Fernandez said. “I am extremely excited to work with the U18 coaching staff and the incredible athletes that will be representing our country this summer. I believe the opportunity to coach USA basketball is one of the pinnacles in our coaching profession, and I am grateful and thankful for this opportunity.

I hope to assist the U18 coaching staff with great energy, enthusiasm and passion,” Fernandez added. “I think it’s going to be an amazing experience working with Jeff, Cori, Natasha and Joni.”

Also coaching in her first USA Basketball assignment, Taylor has been the head coach Georgia for three seasons (2015-16 to present), where she has compiled a 63-32 record (.663 winning percentage).

In 2017-18, Georgia finished 26-7 and earned two wins in the NCAA Tournament, and Taylor was named as a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year Award. The team’s 26 wins were the most wins for a Georgia squad since 2006-07.

Overall, Taylor owns 16 seasons of experience at the Division I level. She was an associate head coach at Georgia for three seasons (2012-13 to 2014-15) and an assistant coach there in 2011-12. Prior to Georgia, Taylor was an assistant coach at Louisiana State University in 2010-11, an associate head coach at Alabama from 2008-09 to 2009-10, an assistant coach and associate head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2005-06 to 2007-08 and an assistant at Troy from 2002-03 to 2004-05.

In 2016, she won Spalding Maggie Dixon National Rookie Coach of the Year and Georgia College Coach of the Year honors after compiling 21 wins in her first season at the helm.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to serve as a court coach for the USA U18 trials,” Taylor said. “I am excited to meet so many great athletes and serve alongside coaches who are truly the very best of our sport. USA Basketball has always been at the forefront of growing our game and has helped produce some of the best players in the country, so I understand the tremendous responsibility to coach these bright young women who take pride in representing us. This is a dream come true for me, and I am ready to get started.”

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