LEXINGTON, Ky. – After spending the last four years as an assistant coach at Kansas, Kyra Elzy (pronounced KY-rah EL-zee) has joined the Kentucky women’s basketball coaching staff, Coach Matthew Mitchell has announced.
Elzy, a native of LaGrange, Ky., returns to the Bluegrass as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator. She also will assist in all aspects of the Wildcats' program, working specifically with the guards.
“I’m ecstatic to have Kyra join the UK family,” Mitchell said. “She is a tremendous addition to our program as she has the experience, the personality and the work ethic to attract the best players in the country to be student-athletes at Kentucky. Our program will continue moving forward in a positive direction with Kyra on staff.”
As the recruiting coordinator at Kansas, Elzy helped the Jayhawks land its first top 20 signing class in 2007 under head coach Bonnie Henrickson. She also helped KU earn two post-season bids in her four seasons. This past year, KU finished 17-16 overall, 4-12 in the Big 12 Conference and advanced to the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to come back to my home state and coach at the University of Kentucky,” Elzy said. “I’m also very excited to work with Matthew Mitchell and the rest of this staff. Returning to the Southeastern Conference is home to me after playing five years in the SEC and I’m ready to get started.”
Prior to Kansas, Elzy coached at Western Kentucky for two seasons under head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. She coordinated the recruiting efforts for the Lady Toppers and also worked with the guards and handled individual workouts. The Lady Toppers posted 20+ wins both of her seasons at WKU and in 2002-03 WKU won the Sun Belt Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Elzy helped coach Sun Belt Player of the Year Shala Reese and Newcomer of the Year Tiffany Porter-Talbert. In 2003-04, WKU was the Sun Belt runner-up and advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
Before coaching, Elzy spent one year as an administrative assistant under Henrickson at Virginia Tech. She was responsible for team travel, scheduling community service events, and working with the women’s basketball summer camps.
As a student-athlete, Elzy tutored under the nation’s all-time winningest coach in Hall of Famer Pat Summitt at Tennessee. The four-year letterwinner, who actually spent five seasons in a Lady Vol uniform after missing the 1998-99 season with an injury, was a member of two national championship teams (1997 & 1998) and a national runner-up squad (2000). During her time in Knoxville, she played in 126 games and earned the Holly Warlick Defensive Player of the Year award in 1997 and the Unsung Hero Award in 1998.
Elzy became just the fifth freshman in Tennessee history to start her first game as a Lady Vol when she started at guard in the 1996-97 season opener against Austin Peay. She also earned another distinction during her playing career, becoming the first Tennessee player to earn her master’s degree while still playing.
Also excelling in the classroom, Elzy was named to the 2000 and 2001 SEC All-Academic teams. She was a three-time Lady Vol Academic Achiever, a distinction given to student-athletes that maintain a 3.0 grade point average for the year and earned Tennessee’s Dean’s List honors each semester while in graduate school.
The 29-year-old is a 1996 graduate of Oldham County High School where she guided the Lady Colonels to four district championships, two regional titles and a state semifinals appearance during her prep career.
Elzy holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in cultural studies in education with an emphasis in sports psychology from Tennessee.