LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell announced Thursday the hiring of Christian Stefanopoulos as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator with the UK Hoops program.
Stefanopoulos spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., working primarily with the guards. Under her tutelage, senior guard Shelby Romine earned All-Patriot League First Team honors and freshman guard Megan McGurk was named to the All-Rookie Team. Freshman forward Claire DeBoer, who Stefanopoulos helped recruit to Bucknell, also was named to the All-Rookie Team along with being tabbed Patriot League Rookie of the Year, the program’s first since 2004.
In her first season with the Bison, Stefanopoulos assisted in the biggest turnaround in Bucknell women’s basketball history, helping lift the team from five wins in 2011-12 to 15 in 2012-13. This past season, the Bison finished 16-14 overall, including 11-7 in the Patriot League, marking their best conference winning percentage since the 2006-07 season. Bucknell went on to postseason play for the first time since 2007-08 when it received a bid to the 2014 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
“We are thrilled Christian is joining our UK Hoops family,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Christian has worked tirelessly to prepare for this opportunity. Her passion for Kentucky and for helping others is invaluable because she’s totally motivated by wanting to see those around her get better. She has a unique combination of passion, energy and work ethic. She will make an impact on our program through recruiting and player development as she is an incredibly talented in both of those areas. Her ability to connect with people enables her to recruit at an elite level. It’s been my experience that players have always benefited from spending time with Christian whether it was on or off the court. I’m so happy she’s a Wildcat.”
Prior to Bucknell, Stefanopoulos was an assistant coach for two seasons at Morehead State in Morehead, Ky. The Eagles compiled a 31-29 overall record during those two seasons, including a 20-14 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. In her first year at Morehead, the Eagles went 21-10 overall and finished in a tie for third in the OVC race. She also helped guide senior guard Chynna Bozeman to OVC Player of the Year honors in 2010-11.
Stefanopoulos first worked with Mitchell as a graduate assistant in 2006-07 when he was the head coach at Morehead State. She followed Mitchell to Kentucky as the Wildcats’ video coordinator in 2007-08, a position she held for three seasons.
“I am extremely excited and honored to have the opportunity to coach with Coach Mitchell and represent the University of Kentucky,” Stefanopoulos said. “It’s always been my dream to return to Kentucky and have the opportunity to compete for a national championship. Coach Mitchell has created a championship culture here based on hard work, honesty and discipline and I’m ready to take those winning tools and get to work.”
The Florence, Ky., native was a prep standout at Boone County High School where she was a 2002 McDonald’s All-America nominee. As the starting point guard, she led her team to a 27-5 overall record, the 33rd district championship and the ninth region runner-up during her senior season. She was named a first-team Northern Kentucky All-Region selection.
Stefanopoulos, 30, played collegiately at Austin Peay University (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Thomas More College (Crestview Hills, Ky.). With the Lady Govs, she won back-to-back OVC championships (2002-03 and 2003-04) therefore catapulting them into the NCAA Tournament both seasons. She also excelled in the classroom by earning a spot on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2002 and helping APSU win the OVC’s Academic Achievement Banner. She transferred to Thomas More for her final two years of eligibility where she made an immediate impact on the squad. She earned team captain honors as a senior while leading the Saints to the 2005-06 Presidents' Athletic Conference championship Co-Champions title. For her efforts, she was named second-team All-PAC.
Stefanopoulos earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Thomas More in 2006 and a master’s degree in sports administration from Morehead State in 2014.