Roden tabbed as new Lady Statesmen head coach
Jun 13, 2014 | 4342 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new era in Delta State University women's basketball is set to begin on Monday, as director of athletics Ronnie Mayers announced the hiring of Craig Roden as the 11th head coach of the Lady Statesmen. 

Roden, who comes to DSU from the University of West Alabama, will be introduced to the campus and community at 10 a.m. Monday inside the Simmons Room at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House.  

 "We are excited to welcome Craig Roden to our coaching staff," Mayers said. "Coach Roden brings a wealth of experience to the program and a commitment to excellence our Lady Statesmen student-athletes deserve."

 Roden has coached at every level of collegiate basketball, including the last 18 years in the Gulf South Conference. He coached at the University of West Alabama for the past four season. Prior to his stint at West Alabama, he coached at the University of West Georgia for 14 seasons. He brings a career 496-448 record to DSU, including a 300-273 mark in GSC play. His 300 GSC victories are the second highest total of any coach in league history; trailing legendary former Lady Statesman head coach Lloyd Clark's 495.

 Roden's 18 seasons as a head coach in the GSC have led to tremendous individual success on the court for his players, as seven have been named All-American and 21 selected to all-conference honors. He has also coached four GSC Players of the Year, two NCAA Division II South Region Players of the Year and a finalist for Daktronics DII National Player of the Year.

 Academic success has also followed Roden wherever he has coached, graduating 19 student-athletes during his tenure at UWA.  While at West Georgia, 28 student-athletes earned their degrees, including 17 first-time college graduates in their family.   

 Roden comes to DSU from his second tenure at West Alabama, helping return the Lady Tigers to ranks of yearly contenders, playing for the league title in two of the last three seasons. In his first season back at his alma mater, Roden led UWA to an 18-9 record, a nine win improvement from the previous season. 

 The Lady Tigers also earned postseason accolades with three players being named to the All-GSC Team, headlined by Player of the Year Mystee Dale. Latashia Greer and LaShandra McCoy also nabbed all-conference honors. Dale captured All-American honors from the Division II Bulletin, Daktronics and Women's Basketball Coaches Association, while Greer was named to the Division II Bulletin all-America list.

 The 2012 Lady Tigers, hampered by injuries throughout the season, put together a memorable run to the GSC championship, capped by back-to-back victories over nationally ranked Delta State (63-54) and Alabama-Huntsville, 86-74, in the title game.  The GSC title gave UWA just its third NCAA Tournament berth in the program's history.

 Following the tournament run, Nikkia Jordan was named Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by all-conference selections Brittany Weathers and Daniele Cole.

 In 2013, UWA was again hit injuries during the regular season before making a run in the league's postseason dance. The Lady Tigers defeated West Georgia and North Alabama before falling the championship game to Alabama-Huntsville.  Jordan and Weathers repeated as all-conference selections following their senior seasons. 

 Prior to his most recent stop as head coach at West Alabama, Roden served as an assistant coach at UWA from 1978-1980 and was head coach from 1984-1987.

Roden returned to the GSC in 1996 at West Georgia. In his last three seasons at UWG, the Wolves posted a 56-29 record. The 2007-08 season was Roden's best in Carrollton, with the Wolves going 25-5, the school's best record since the early 1990s, winning the GSC East Division title and advancing to the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament.

Roden's list of coaching accolades is also impressive. The Atlanta Tipoff Club named him Georgia's Women's College Basketball Coach of the Year following the 2007-08 season. The honor covered every women's program in the state, regardless of size or classification.  In 2009, Roden was named the WBCA South Region Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the WBCA's National Coach of the Year. He also captured three GSC East Division Coach of the Year honors in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

 

Prior to Roden's return to NCAA Division II, the Guntersville, Alabama native made four stops ranging from junior college to Division I. He served as head coach at Crowder Community College, Snead State Community College (1980-84), the University of Texas at El Paso (1987-90), and Connors State College (1990-92).

 Roden is a 1978 graduate of UWA, receiving a bachelor's degree in physical education, with a minor in history.  He completed his master's in health, physical education and recreation from UWA in 1980. 

He is married to the former Debra Griffin of Birmingham, Alabama. The Rodens are the parents of three grown children; Tyler, who is a high school basketball coach in Orlando, Florida; Andrew, a police officer in Huntsville, Alabama; and daughter Maggi, who recently graduated from UWA.