Since taking over as the head coach for the Arizona Wildcats, Adia Barnes has had to replace at least one of her assistant coaches every year except the 2020-21 season. While Barnes did not have to replace one of her three bench coaches this season, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t turnover on the staff.
She has filled three of the staff positions for the 2022-23 season. On Thursday, Barnes and the university announced the additions of a new special assistant to the head coach, a new director of basketball operations, and a new creative content specialist.
Bett Shelby, who spent the last three years as the associate head coach at West Virginia, has been hired as the special assistant to the head coach. This is a position that did not exist on Barnes’ previous staff, although Tommy Lloyd’s staff has the position for men’s basketball. It takes the place of the director of recruiting, a position that Kortney Dunbar held before she took an assistant coaching position at IUPUI.
“(Shelby) is one of the most proven coaches and recruiters in the nation,” Barnes stated in the UA press release. “No one matches Bett’s energy, determination, or work ethic. She has been a critical piece of some of the best programs in the nation. Her coaching experience, knowledge, and expertise will help us reach another level. Bett has signed top recruiting classes, numerous All-Americans, and she knows what it takes to operate and compete at the highest level. She will directly assist me in multiple aspects of the program both on and off the court.”
Shelby will already know one Wildcat. WVU transfer Esmery Martinez spent the last three years with the Mountaineers under the tutelage of Shelby. Shelby’s three years as the associate head coach in Morgantown coincided with the three years Martinez spent there.
Shelby has a total of 15 years in coaching, including stints at North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Southern Illinois, and Tennessee Tech. She started as the director of basketball operations at East Carolina.
She was the recruiting coordinator at both UNC and Maryland. During her time at Maryland, the program brought in two top-five classes. When she coached at the mid-major level, she helped bring in top mid-major classes on several occasions.
Joining Shelby is someone who spent time in McKale Center during the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have hired Kayla Scott, the Stephen F. Austin director of basketball operations, to fulfill the same role at Arizona. SFA was one of the four teams to play the opening rounds in Tucson, dropping the opening game to UNC.
Scott takes over the role that had been held by Jessika Carrington since 2017-18, Barnes’ second season back in Tucson. Carrington also found her new role with a team that was in Tucson for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. She joined head coach Courtney Banghart as the new director of operations at North Carolina during the offseason.
“Kayla is aligned with our program’s core values and culture,” Barnes said. “She understands what it takes to operate an elite program in a professional way. She is a relentless worker, creative thinker, and is extremely organized. Kayla is widely respected throughout college basketball, on the men’s and women’s side, as well as in professional soccer. I love Kayla’s servant mentality in the workplace and in the community. She developed and created successful donor, coaches, and kids’ programs. With Kayla’s skill set there is no doubt that she will be a tremendous asset for our program!”
The final hire, create content specialist Zane Barnes, is one of two who will be filling a role that didn’t exist on the Arizona women’s basketball staff before. This is a role that is also similar to one offered in men’s sports. In this case, it’s most aligned with football’s creative media manager.
Zane Barnes is a 2022 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he worked with the Bearcats’ video staff. He also worked for the Cincinnati Bengals as the game day video editor during the 2021 season.
“Zane Barnes is one of the most talented young cinematographers in the nation,” Adia Barnes said. “His work speaks for itself. For this generation, creative content is one of the most important roles in a program. Zane is talented, dynamic, driven, and he brings a creative energy to the program that I love. His skillset adds a new element to our program. Zane will develop creative content that will elevate our national social media presence, student-athlete development, branding, and he will play an important role in name, image, and likeness.”
Most of Arizona’s team has been in Tucson since early June. Freshmen Kailyn Gilbert and Lemyah Hylton were both with their national teams in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the Women’s U18 Americas Championship. Gilbert brought home a gold medal as part of Team USA. Hylton and the Canadian team took silver. Fellow freshman Paris Clark also arrived a few days later than most of her Arizona teammates.