Joy Hollingsworth heads the list of recent coaching hires by Seattle Public Schools.
She is taking over the highly successful girls basketball program at Cleveland, where Stephenie Wheeler-Smith led teams to three Class 3A state championships over the past five years.
Wheeler-Smith resigned in May to become the Director of Operations for the University of Oregon women’s basketball team. She and assistant coach Derrick Wheeler-Smith, her husband, led the Eagles to their first state crown in 2010, just their second season after taking over a struggling program, then guided them to back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.
Eric McCurdy, the school district’s executive director of athletics, quickly targeted Hollingsworth as the new head coach.
“That’s huge,” he said. “I personally recruited her hard. That’s my first recruit.”
Hollingsworth was a star player at Seattle Prep, leading the Panthers to the 2002 state title, and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. She went on to enjoy success at the University of San Francisco and the University of Arizona, then played professionally in Greece for a season.
She was an assistant coach at Seattle Prep in 2009 before joining the women’s basketball staff at Seattle University under Joan Bonvicini, her former coach at Arizona.
After three seasons, Hollingsworth left last to take a position with the A PLUS Youth Program, which specializes in youth development through academics and athletics.
“We’re so excited about Joy,” McCurdy said. “The No. 1 reason we’re so excited is because she’s a phenomenal coach. We’ve watched her at Prep, from the Xs and Os standpoint, the technical knowledge of the game. And she’s outstanding at relating to the student-athlete.”
Other Seattle Public Schools coaching changes
Jasen Thomas, who guided the Franklin girls basketball team to the 3A state championship game in 2012, is now the head girls coach at Roosevelt.
“He decided he needed a new challenge,” McCurdy said.
The district is in the process of hiring a new girls coaches at Franklin and Rainier Beach, where Angela Bethea has resigned.
— Kynlyn Jackson has been promoted from assistant to head boys basketball coach at Ingraham, taking over for Marques Chinn.
— Jason Courter succeeds Chris Weakley as head boys basketball coach at Nathan Hale.
— Topher Kincaid is the new head girls soccer coach at Ingraham.
— Keith Piccirilli has taken over the boys soccer program at Nathan Hale.
— Brenda Tomtan-Brayman is Roosevelt’s new girls swim coach.