Adia Barnes will have two new assistant coaches next season, but one is a familiar face.
The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team has hired April Phillips and Erin Grant to replace Tamisha Augustin and Jackie Nared, who left for Mississippi State and Oregon, respectively. (The Nared news isn’t official yet.)
Phillips was on Arizona’s staff in 2018-19 when the Wildcats won the WNIT before she left for Cal. She is regarded as one of the top recruiters on the West Coast, helping the Golden Bears haul in a top-10 recruiting class in 2020 and a very strong class in 2021. Before her stints at Cal and Arizona, Phillips was the associate head coach at Loyola Marymount for three seasons.
“When we needed to hire another assistant coach, April was the first person that came to mind,” Barnes said in a statement. “I know her, I trust her, and we have a very good relationship. April and I both chose Arizona twice and we are thrilled to have her back a second time. She is the best recruiter on the west coast and one of the best in the country, but she is much more than just a recruiter. April is a very talented coach with a great basketball mind, and she is going to take us to another level.”
Said Phillips: “I’m excited to return to Arizona. Since our WNIT Championship run, coach Barnes and her staff have done an amazing job of continuing to elevate this program. I am thrilled to work with this powerful staff to sustain success, continue building and most importantly mentor the current and future young women that we will coach.”
Grant is joining the Wildcats from USC, where she has been an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator since 2019-20.
Grant was an All-American at Texas Tech and played professionally in the WNBA and overseas. She began her coaching career as an assistant at UT Arlington and had stints at Memphis, New Mexico and Texas Tech before landing at USC.
Grant is a member of the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame as the only Texas high school player to win four straight state championships, leading Mansfield High to titles every year from 1999 to 2002.
“Erin is a fantastic addition to our staff,” Barnes said in a statement. “Her player development stands out to me, she is a great recruiter, and overall a very talented coach. Not only was Erin an All-American and a professional, she is one of the best players to come out of the state of Texas, and her experiences on and off the court will be incredibly valuable for our program. Who she is and what she stands for directly aligns with our family at Arizona, and I can’t wait to get started with her because the future is extremely bright.”
This will mark the second time in three years that Barnes will have two new assistant coaches. So it goes when you are successful and other programs are willing to pony up to grab their own piece of it.
“Right now we have a tremendous amount of momentum at Arizona, and I knew we needed to hire the best coaches in the country,” Barnes said. “After running a national search, I knew that April Phillips and Erin Grant were the best women for the job. I love working with coaches that are former players because they will bring different experiences, and both April and Erin will bring that to the table. I believe we have the best staff in the Pac-12 that will take us to the next level to bring home a National Championship.”