April 29, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — UAB head women's basketball coach Randy Norton has announced the addition of Taren Martin, Ashleen Bracey and Matt Fitzpatrick to his coaching staff. Martin has been named the associate head coach, while Bracey will serve as the recruiting coordinator and Fitzpatrick will be the assistant recruiting coordinator.
The three assistant coaches all have connections to Norton. Fitzpatrick played for UAB's newly announced coach at Assumption High School, while Martin and Bracey each played for Norton at Illinois State University. The three, along with Director of Operations Laura Waldrop, complete UAB's coaching staff.
"What you can expect from our staff is that we are going to be relentless recruiters," Norton said at his introductory press conference. "We are going to hit the ground running, building relationships with every coach in Alabama, both high school and AAU programs. We are going to work our tails off to bring in the best student-athletes. That is our number one goal. We are also going to re-recruit every single player in here, along with incoming kids.
"I'm anxious to get on the floor and start developing and working these players. We have a staff of tremendous teachers of the game and because they all have worked with me they know what I want to teach and how I want it taught."
Martin joins UAB after serving as the head women's basketball coach at NCAA Division III Eureka College for the past three seasons. During her time in Eureka, Ill., Martin turned the Red Devils into one of the top programs in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. This past season, she led her team to a 16-9 record -- a year after guiding Eureka to 21 wins in 2011-12, marking just the fourth time in program history that the Red Devils have posted 20-plus victories.
In 2012, Martin garnered SLIAC Coach of the Year honors, while mentoring 2012 SLIAC Player of the Year Caty Eeten. In addition to her coaching duties, Martin was an assistant athletic director and Senior Women's Administrator at Eureka College.
As a player, Martin helped Illinois State complete one of the greatest turnarounds in program history. As a senior in 2003-04, she averaged 11.4 points, 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game, helping her team to a fifth-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference standings and a 16-13 record -- a nine-win improvement from the previous season and the team's best record since 1996-97.
Bracey, UAB's recruiting coordinator, comes to the Blazers from Ball State, where she was an assistant coach this past season. The Cardinals went 18-15 overall in 2012-13 and made it to the WNIT Final 16, before falling to Kansas State, 60-48.
Previous to her stop in Muncie, Ind., Bracey was a graduate assistant at Missouri and was an assistant coach at Eureka College in 2011. She was also a standout player as she played professionally in Athens, Greece in 2010. During her college playing career, Bracey, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest, helped Illinois State to three 20-win seasons, three MVC Championships, an NCAA berth in 2008 and two final four appearances in the post season WNIT in 2009 and 2010.
Serving as the team's assistant recruiting coordinator, Fitzpatrick comes to the Blazers from Truman State University, where he was the assistant men's basketball coach for two seasons under head coach Matt Woodley. A former NAIA All-American at St. Ambrose University, Fitzpatrick spent six seasons as an assistant boys' coach at Iowa's Davenport Central and Davenport Assumption before his time with the Bulldogs. He was also an assistant men's coach at his alma mater, St. Ambrose, during the 2004-05 season.
As a player, Fitzpatrick was a four-year standout at St. Ambrose from 2001-04. He averaged 13.3 points per game, while shooting 37 percent from behind the arc and 86 percent from the foul line on his way to being named an NAIA All-American and the Midwest Collegiate Conference Player of the Year.
Waldrop, who has been on staff for seven seasons at UAB, will stay on as the Director of Operations. A native of Prattville, Ala., Waldrop was a three-year letterwinner for the Blazers, despite being hampered by injuries throughout her career. At Prattville High School, Waldrop was a standout player, averaging 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals during her senior campaign.