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Cincinnati Lucks Out: Bearcats Hire Michelle Clark-Heard as new Women’s Basketball Head Coach

After dismissing the accomplished Jamelle Elliott, Cincinnati has hired another excellent women’s basketball coach

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NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Western Kentucky Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Athletic Director Mike Bohn has made an excellent choice for the Bearcats’ new women’s basketball coach.

The announcement of Michelle Clark-Heard’s hiring should be greeted by UC fans with enthusiasm. Clark-Heard has coached Western Kentucky to 4 NCAA Tournaments in her 6 seasons there. She won more than three-quarters of the games she coached for the Hilltoppers. She also brings a great familiarity with Cincinnati athletics, having served as a Bearcats assistant from 2002 through 2005.

The hiring of Michelle Clark-Heard has been greeted by many as an upgrade, a sentiment that is quite understandable considering her impressive resume.

I hesitate to accept this assertion. Over the past two seasons, the Bearcats women’s basketball program improved considerably. After several seasons of trial and error, Jamelle Elliott’s program had broken through, earning their first WNIT bid in years and posting their best record since 2002-2003. Elliott has built a winning culture within a conference that features heavyweights UConn, USF, and UCF. The competition that Clark-Heard will face in the AAC will be significantly more robust than what she faced in Conference USA.

There was no evident reason to destabilize the Bearcats’ women’s program by bringing in a new head coach. AD Bohn found a solution to a situation that was not a problem.

Regardless of the circumstances of her hire, Clark-Heard has the opportunity to build on what Elliott has built. The Bearcats’ roster is laden with talent and ready to compete once again in 2018-2019 for a post-season bid.

I hope for the best and have full confidence that the Bearcats’ new coach can build on what has been accomplished in recent seasons at the University of Cincinnati.

Thank you for your patronage of Down the Drive, your home for off-season coverage of UC women’s basketball.