Sunday, July 23, 2017

Le'Coe Willingham Named Head Women's Basketball Coach at Fort Valley State

FORT VALLEY, Georgia -- Fort Valley State University's Director of Athletics Dr. Darryl Pope has announced that Le'Coe Willingham a 10-year WNBA veteran as the Lady Wildcats next Head Women's Basketball Coach on July 17, 2017.

"It is our pleasure to welcome Coach Le'Coe Willingham to the Fort Valley State family and Wildcat Country, said Pope, "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will move our program in the right direction. She has the ability to motivate players on and off the court."

Willingham comes to Fort Valley State after serving as the women's assistant coach at Tennessee State University and served as TSU's individual post coach, defensive coordinator, and helped with recruiting. She was an integral part in Tennessee State capturing their first OVC Championship in over 20 years and earning an automatic bid to the 2014-2015 National Tournament. Under Le'Coe's leadership as defensive coordinator, the Tigers were the number one defensive team in the conference.

In 2014-2015, Willingham helped develop Chelsea Hudson, an undersized post player who achieve one of her best seasons averaging 14.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game on her way to earning BOXTOROW All-American Honors, as well as All-OVC Second Team and All-Tournament Team. Willingham also helped four other Tigers earn All-OVC honors; Rachel Allen and Brianna Morrow earned the 2015 All-OVC Tournament Team honors. Imani Davis and Jayda Johnson earned the 2016 All-OVC Second Team.

A native of Augusta, Ga., and former Hephzibah High School standout, Willingham played her last season with the Atlanta Dream in 2013. Willingham was a three-time All-SEC selection out of Auburn, but went undrafted before being signed by Connecticut, where she spent the first four years of her career (2004-07). She then spent two seasons with the Phoenix Mercury (2008-09) and two in Seattle (2010-11).

Willingham's best seasons came in Phoenix, where she averaged 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 2008, and 10.0 points and 4.2 boards in 2009. She set a franchise record for field goal percentage in 2008, by making a league-leading 57.0 percent of her shots. She helped the Mercury to a WNBA championship in 2009 and also was a key reserve for the 2010 Seattle team that defeated Atlanta in the WNBA Finals.

Prior to her stint with the Dream, Willingham was a member of the Chicago Sky where she averaged 18.5 minutes per game – sixth highest on the team. She appeared in all but one game, averaging 3.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and one assist per game.

A standout athlete at Auburn, Willingham is the program's seventh all-time scorer and sixth all-time rebounder. She is among Auburn's top ten career leaders in starts, points, field goals made, field goal percentage, free-throws made, free-throws attempted and rebounds. While attending Hephzibah High School, she won the 1998 AAAA Georgia State Women's State High Jump Title.

At the conclusion of her professional career, Willingham returned to Auburn to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Masters in Professional Counseling with an emphasis in Trauma.

Media Advisory: Fort Valley State University will host a news conference at a later date to introduce Coach Le'Co Willingham as its new woman's head basketball coach.

For questions or additional information, contact Director of Sports Information Willie K. Patterson, Jr. at 478-825-6437 (office) or


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