Lexington, KY – Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has announced the hiring of former Tennessee standout Shalon Pillow (pronounced Shu-LON) to its coaching staff. Pillow will be responsible for the post players.
The Addyston, Ohio native, comes to Kentucky after spending one season as an assistant coach at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., and three seasons at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.
“Shalon is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” Mitchell said. “I’ve known her since her college playing days at Tennessee and I have followed her coaching career with a lot of interest because I’ve thought so much of her and her family. It was very important to get someone that could help us build on the momentum in our post game. After visiting with Shalon, it was clear that she has a passion for teaching post players. Couple that with her knowledge at the position and I think she will be great with the progression of our post players. She has the personality and ability to recruit that we were looking for as well. She connects so well with people and she is a perfect fit for our program.”
At Hofstra, Pillow coached the post players and helped the Pride compile a 16-14 record, which ranked as one of the top turnarounds in women's college basketball last season. Hofstra's 11-game improvement from the 2007-08 season ranked fourth-best nationally. At USF, Pillow was the director of basketball operations for one season before being promoted to assistant coach during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. She was responsible for scouting opponents and individual player development, and also assisted in the evaluation of potential student-athletes. She was also in charge of the team's academic program and helped organize coaches' clinics.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Mitchell and work in the Southeastern Conference after playing at Tennessee,” Pillow said. “The sky is the limit for UK and that is one of the biggest reasons I decided to come. Watching from afar, it has been great to see Kentucky’s growth over the last few years. They are beating teams like Tennessee and it wasn’t like that when I was playing in the SEC. UK’s reputation is totally different now and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Prior to her coaching stints at Hofstra and USF, Pillow was Camp Director and Event Operator for the Ohio Girls Basketball Report (OGBR), where she was responsible for directing the largest 8-10th grade summer camp in the Midwest. She also directed the Top 64 Showcase, and handled pre- and post-camp evaluations. In addition to her position with the OGBR, Pillow served as a guest services representative at the Argosy Hotel in Lawrenceburg, Ind., from 2003-05, where she assisted in the facility’s marketing and promotions.
Pillow, a 6-3 center, was a four-year letterwinner (1998-2002) at Tennessee under legendary coach Pat Summitt. She played in 108 career games and helped the Lady Vols advance to four National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournaments, including two Final Four appearances. In her collegiate career, the Lady Vols recorded a remarkable 124-5 record and a 53-3 slate in the SEC. She graduated from UT in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in general psychology and a minor in communications.
Following graduation, Pillow played for the Tennessee Fury of the National Women's Basketball League during its inaugural season and appeared in 20 games. She also served as an assistant coach with the varsity team at Taylor High School in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2003 to 2004 and worked the Lady Vol’s summer camps from 1998 through 2001.
The 28-year-old was a highly decorated player coming out of Taylor High School, earning Nike and Parade Magazine All-America honors after averaging 22.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.1 blocks and 3.0 steals per game as a senior. She was also tabbed by the USA Today as one of the top 20 scholastic players in America and was a finalist for the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award.