Raegan Pebley to succeed Wiggins as head coach

Utah State head coach and 2011 WAC Coach of the Year Raegan Pebley will
replace Adrian Wiggins as the head coach of the women’s basketball
program. Wiggins left Fresno State to take over at Ole Miss on March 26.
Photo Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics

Utah State’s Raegan Pebley to be introduced today as head coach

In a 12-day turnaround, Fresno State announced the hiring of Utah State head coach Raegan Pebley to take over the women’s basketball program. She becomes the program’s ninth head coach, succeeding Adrian Wiggins, who left for a better-paying job at Ole Miss on March 26.

Pebley, 36, agreed to a five-year contract with Fresno State and will be introduced at a news conference today, with financial terms also to be disclosed.

“I love the potential Fresno State has,” Pebley told The Fresno Bee. “We’re going to play up-tempo basketball, being aggressive, fun and exciting. We’ll also keep shooting the 3.”

Pebley was the head coach at Utah State, where she built the women’s basketball program from the ground up when it was reinstated in 2003 after a 16-year hiatus.

The Aggies finished 21-10 this season, setting a program record for wins in what was the best season during Pebley’s tenure. She was one of eight coaches in the nation who was named a finalist for the 2012 WBCA National Coach of the Year award.

In her nine seasons with the Aggies, Pebley led the team to its first postseason appearances since the program had been dropped in 1987. The Utah State program made the Women’s National Invitation Tournament the past two years, including a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference this season behind the Bulldog program she now inherits.

Pebley is taking over a Fresno State women’s basketball program that won four WAC championships and made five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament under Wiggins. With that, Pebley also inherits a Bulldog roster that went 28-6 last season and will lose just two seniors in Blakely Goldberg and Veronica Wilson.

“There’s been tremendous success here, but that’s not something that scared me away,” Pebley said. “I always like to take a big bite and go after it. I love challenges.

“I know the fans have high expectations. I know the Mountain West is a tough conference and it’ll be a challenge. But I know that league very well. I expect to win championships and advance to the NCAA Tournament,” she added.

Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh said he worked hard to hire a successful Division I head coach.

“We are thrilled that Raegan will lead and build upon the success of our women’s basketball program,” Boeh said. “Throughout the search process Raegan continually displayed extraordinary combination of expertise, awareness, insight and personal character.

“Her extensive experience and accomplishments as a Division I head coach, combined with her close ties to our primary recruiting locations, makes her a perfect fit for Fresno State.”

Pebley’s success at Utah State earned her the 2011 WAC Coach of the Year award, and the 2012 Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 7 Coach of the Year award.

Before taking over at Utah State, Pebley was an assistant coach at George Mason from 1997-99 under Jim Lewis and Debbie Taneyhill.

After George Mason, Pebley was an assistant under Tom Collen at Colorado State from 1999-01, where the Rams went 48-17 in her two seasons coaching. The Rams reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and the semifinals of the WNIT in 2000.

The coaching lineage Pebley has taken has proven successful, as Collen is now coaching at Arakansas and was also one of the eight finalists for the 2012 WBCA National Coach of the Year award.

A native of Orem, Utah, Pebley played at Mountain View High School where she led her team to two state championships and was named a two-time Utah 4A Player of the Year.

Pebley went on to play at Colorado after high school, where she led the Buffaloes to a 106-24 overall record in her career, four conference championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances including an Elite 8 finish. Pebley was also named a two-time all-conference selection.

After college, Pebley was drafted into the WNBA by the Utah Starzz in the third round. She played her second and final season in the league with the Cleveland Rockers.

“All of the pieces are in place,” Pebley said. “The women have character and talent, there is strong administrative leadership, tremendous fan support, engaged alumni, the competitive Mountain West Conference, and amazing high school and club coaches in the area that I will learn from, support and lean on.”

Pebley will be introduced today and begin her first season as head coach at the same time the Bulldogs will move into the Mountain West Conference.

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