Being the granddaughter of the man whose name graces the court at the University of Arizona was once Julie Hairgrove’s biggest claim to fame. In Tucson, it may still be.
Hairgrove was named to the All-Star coaching staff based on the Mercury’s record through July 13. With a 14-8 record, the Mercury have the second-best record in the WNBA.
Beginning this season, the All Star coaching staffs are the coaches from the two best teams through the All-Star break, regardless of conference. The other team will be coached by staff of the Seattle Storm, who have a 15-6 record.
Through five different head coaches, Hairgrove has been on the sidelines in Phoenix. On July 28, she’ll be on the sidelines in Minneapolis, helping coach a collection of the best players in the world.
When Hairgrove was known as Julie Brase, she was a star at Catalina Foothills High School, leading her team to a state title. She went on to be an important part of the Arizona women’s basketball program during its most successful era.
In the 1998-99 and 2002-03 seasons, she led the Wildcats in 3-point percentage. She also led in free throw percentage over three seasons at Arizona.
Her senior year, she led the team in assists. She still shares the Arizona record for most assists in a game, dishing out seven in a March 2003 contest against Washington.
Her Wildcat teams were 99-53 over her five years at Arizona. In conference, they went 57-33, including a 13-5 mark her senior season. That year, they made the first of back-to-back appearances in the PAC-10 title game.
In the postseason, Hairgrove and the Wildcats went 3-4 with three NCAA appearances and one WNIT berth. The team only missed the postseason the year that she redshirted to rehab after wrist surgery.
Post-season experience didn’t end when Hairgrove left the Wildcats, though. Since joining the Mercury as an assistant coach in 2005, she has helped her team prepare for 42 of the 51 playoff games in the franchise’s history.