Randy Norton enters his fourth season at the helm of the UAB women’s basketball team. Norton, a 33-year coaching veteran, was named the sixth head coach in UAB history on April 22, 2013 after serving as the associate head coach at the University of Missouri.
In 2015-16, UAB recorded the highest GPA in the fall under Norton’s staff (3.39) and its highest mark since 2006. The Blazers led the C-USA in scoring defense, as they held their opponents to 57.2 points per contest. The Blazers’ 1,774 points allowed in 2015-16 is the fourth-least allowed by a team in UAB history.
Under Norton’s guidance the Blazers helped rewrite UAB’s record books in 2015-16, in thanks to Chelsee Black, Deanna Kuzmanic and Brittany Winborne.
Seniors Chelsee Black and Brittany Windborne garnered All-Conference USA Second Team honors. Black became UAB’s 28th athlete to reach the 1,000-point mark, ending her career as the Blazers’ 16th all-time leading scorer. Winborne led the league, and ranked in the top 15 in the nation in rebounds per contest, double-doubles, offensive boards per contest, and field goal percentage. In UAB’s single season records, Winborne ranks sixth in rebounds per game (11.1), fourth in blocks (43) and fourth in rebounds (345). She also reeled in 23 boards against C-USA Tournament Champion Middle Tennessee on ASN, the second most in a single game in school history.
Freshman guard Deanna Kuzmanic, who earned a spot on the All-C-USA Freshman team, sunk 74 triples on the season, the sixth most in a single season in UAB history. The Wheeling, Ill., native made the third-most 3-pointers in the conference (74), led all C-USA freshmen in triples per contest (2.4) and was second amongst the league’s freshmen in 3-point field goal percentage (.349).
During the 2014-15 campaign, UAB saw one of its best seasons in recent years. The Blazers finished 18-13, marking the fifth consecutive winning season for the program. UAB finished with an 11-7 record in Conference USA play, the best since the 2006-07 season and just the second time since 1993-94 the Blazers have won 11 or more conference games.
After being picked to finish eight in the C-USA preseason poll, UAB finished tied for fourth as the team closed out the season 11-5 in the last 16 games. During that span, UAB also had an eight-game home win streak and finished with 11 home wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Norton built the team around defense, holding teams to just 58.2 points per game to lead the conference. He also saw his second All-C-USA First Team selection as Janae Smith earned the honor after averaging 18.7 points per game.
In his first season with the Blazers in 2013-14, Norton led the team to a 16-15 overall finish. Under his tutelage, Karisma Chapman had her best season of her already storied career at UAB. She paced the Blazers with 20.2 points per game and recorded 16 double-doubles on the season as she earned a first team all-conference selection.
Norton has coached at multiple levels throughout his career, including 14 seasons in NCAA Division I. With stops at Missouri and Illinois State, his teams have garnered two NCAA Tournament appearances, four WNIT berths, three Missouri Valley Conference Championships and two MVC tournament titles.
In three years at Missouri - two as the lead assistant and one as the associate head coach - Norton helped revive the Tigers' women's basketball program with a WNIT bid in 2013 -- the school's first postseason berth in six years.
While on the staff with head coach Robin Pingeton, Norton and the Tigers accomplished one of the best runs in school history despite playing rigorous schedules. In his first year with the program, Missouri played the seventh-toughest slate in NCAA Division I with three wins against ranked opponents, including a 80-63 win over No. 9 Tennessee on its way to a postseason berth in 2013.
Before his time in Columbia, Mo., Norton worked on Pingeton's staff at Illinois State, where their teams saw unprecedented success. In seven seasons, the Redbirds compiled an overall record of 144-76 (.655), made two NCAA Tournament appearances (2005 and 2008), three WNIT berths (2007, 2009 and 2010), three Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles (2008, 2009 and 2010) and two MVC Tournament Championships (2005 and 2008).
Illinois State's 28 wins in the 2009-10 campaign tied the school record for victories in a single season, matching the 1980-81 team. The Redbirds compiled a 28-8 record in 2009-10 and capped off three-straight conference titles.
Before Illinois State, Norton spent 14 years as the head coach of the Assumption High School's boys' basketball team in Davenport, Iowa. During his tenure with the Knights, Norton compiled a 231-91 record and claimed Iowa Coach of the Year in 1999 and seven District Coach of the Year honors. His long list of accomplishments at Assumption include two Iowa State titles, five Mississippi Athletic Conference Championships and six Iowa State High School Tournament appearances.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Iowa, Norton played both basketball and baseball for the Hawkeyes. Norton was a guard on coach Lute Olson's (former legendary Arizona coach) Iowa teams that won a 1979 Big Ten Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1980. On the diamond, Norton was a four-year letterwinner and pitcher for head coach Duane Banks.
Norton also pitched professionally for the Montreal Expos' (now Washington Nationals) organization for three seasons before moving into coaching.
An Iowa City, Iowa, native, Norton and his wife, Claire, have four children: Tom, Carly, Allie and Nick. Tom graduated from Truman State, Carly from St. Ambrose and Allie from Truman State, where all three played college basketball. Nick recently finished his sophomore year at UAB where he is the starting point guard for the Blazers.