CCU’s Williams rounds out coaching staff with two hires

John Swickrath and Sha’Rae Mitchell have joined the Coastal Carolina women’s basketball coaching staff, announced first year head coach Jaida Williams. Swickrath will serve as the Chanticleers’ offensive coordinator with Mitchell filling the defensive coordinator role.

“Sha’Rae is one of those special people that when you meet her, you will never forget her,” said Williams. “She is passionate about her work and the game of basketball. Sha’Rae will work with our point guards as well as serve as our defensive coordinator.

“We are thrilled to have John join our staff here at Coastal. John brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff as a former head coach on both the men’s and women’s side.  John will work as our post development coach as well as our offensive coordinator.”

Swickrath comes to the Chanticleers after spending the 2012-13 season as an assistant coach on Lee Buchanan’s staff at Eastern Illinois. Swickrath helped the Panthers to a 20-12 overall record along with a 12-4 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference and the league’s regular season championship. Moreover, he played an instrumental role in Eastern Illinois’ upset win at Missouri in the opening round of the WNIT.

Prior to Eastern Illinois, Swickrath served as the head women’s basketball coach at Brescia University (Ky.) from 2008-12. At Brescia, he posted a 66-62 overall record including a 60-44 record in his final three seasons. After recording a 9-23 mark in his first year rebuilding a team that only won two games the previous season, he posted back-to-back winning campaigns highlighted by a 21-win season in 2010-11.

Swickrath also inherited a team with a 2.20 grade point average and saw that increase to a 3.30 grade point average at the time of his resignation to accept the position at EIU. Additionally, he was also the assistant athletics director for sports information during his tenure in Owensboro, Ky.

Prior to Brescia, Swickrath was the head men’s basketball coach at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va., from 2003-08. During the 2003-04 season, he led the Hornets to the program’s most wins since the 1996-97 season while defeating conference rival Roanoke College in Salem, Va., for the first time in 18 years. Swickrath was also an assistant coach at Lynchburg for one season (2002-03) before being promoted to head coach – he was one of the youngest head coaches at the NCAA Division III level at the time of his promotion at the age of 25.

Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Swickrath was an elementary physical education teacher from 2002-04 in the Lynchburg City Schools system. In 2003, he served as the camp director for the Hornets Hoops Basketball Camps.

The Spencerville, Ohio, native was a three-sport athlete at Denison University (1996-2001) participating in baseball, basketball and football. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Denison in 2001 before obtaining a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan in 2005.

Mitchell joins the Chanticleer staff after spending the previous two seasons as a coaching specialist and video coordinator at UCLA. She also served as UCLA’s camp director and assisted with coordinating the scout team. While Mitchell was in Los Angeles, the Bruins complied a 40-24 overall record and a 23-13 mark in PAC-12 play. The 2012-13 UCLA team finished the season with a 26-8 record (14-4 PAC-12) and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to UCLA, Mitchell spent the 2010-11 season as a coaching intern on Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee Tara VanDerveer’s staff at Stanford. While learning from VanDerveer, the Cardinal ranked as high as No. 4 in the country and won the PAC-12 regular season and tournament championship. Furthermore, Stanford garnered a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Final Four.

Mitchell received her introduction to coaching as an assistant with the Santa Barbara Blazers of the Amateur Athletic Union. She served on the Blazers’ staff from April 2007 through June 2010.

Mitchell also served as the head girls’ basketball coach at Providence Hall High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., for the 2009-10 season.

Mitchell was a standout student-athlete at UC Santa Barbara from 2004-09. She was a three-time team captain and earned honorable mention All-Big West and Big West All-Tournament team honors in 2008. Moreover, she was tabbed the Gauchos’ Phil Womble Courage Award Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2009.

Mitchell, a Sacramento, Calif., native earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and black studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2009. She married her husband Noah in 2009.

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