LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell has announced Ukari Figgs, the Assistant Athletics Director for women’s basketball, has accepted an assembly engineering specialist position at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Ky., and has resigned her position with the Wildcats.
Figgs, who was entering her third year with the Wildcats, played a key role in the success of the UK Hoops team during her two seasons. She was responsible for scheduling, team travel, supervising all non-coaching personnel, management of the budget, facility coordinator, overseeing the student managers and the team’s NIKE account.
“Stepping away from this position at UK was a very difficult decision for me because I am so appreciative of the opportunity that Matthew Mitchell and Mitch Barnhart have given me,” Figgs said. “I love working at the University of Kentucky, the college I grew up cheering for, and I was so happy to be given the chance to return to college athletics. However, circumstances surrounding my family in the past few months have put things in perspective for me as far as my priorities and where my time and energy needs to be devoted. I will continue supporting UK Athletics and this UK Hoops team as a member of the Big Blue Nation. I’m looking forward to watching this great group of young ladies now as a season ticket holder.”
“We thank Ukari for her tremendous contribution to the success of UK Hoops,” Mitchell said. “Personally, I understand the importance of keeping your priorities aligned. I totally support her desire to spend more time with her family. I’m really happy she’s staying in the area and she will remain connected to our program. She will always be a part of the UK Hoops family.”
Figgs, a native of Georgetown, Ky., graduated from Purdue with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1999, and spent over five years as a production engineer for Toyota prior to entering the coaching ranks at her alma mater in 2009.
Figgs played point guard for Purdue from 1995 to 1999, and led the Boilermakers to an NCAA National Championship in her senior season. The 5-foot-9 co-captain was named the 1999 Final Four Most Outstanding Player after recording game-highs of 24 points in the semifinal win over Louisiana Tech and 18 points against Duke in the championship game. As a senior, Figgs averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists and was named first team All-Big Ten as well as Associated Press and Kodak honorable mention All-American.
Drafted in the third round as the 28th overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks, Figgs also played five seasons in the WNBA. She was with the Sparks for three seasons, including one culminating in a WNBA Championship in 2001. Figgs played one season for the Portland Fire before they disbanded and was picked up by the Houston Comets in the 2003 Dispersal Draft. She played one season in Houston before retiring from basketball. For her five-year WNBA career, Figgs averaged 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
She led the Scott County High School girls' basketball team to a state title in 1995 and was named Kentucky Miss Basketball as a senior after averaging 18.6 points, 7.1 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game for the Cardinals. Because of her prep success, she was one of 11 members chosen to be inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame Class of 2014 set for April 27, 2014.