She was someone too good to pass up. Even if there were no places left on the bench, Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes felt she needed to hire Bett Shelby while the experienced assistant coach was available. So, she brought Shelby on in an administrative capacity as the special assistant to the head coach last June.
“I think it was a hard decision for her because...she’s been a longtime coach and she definitely wants to do it,” Barnes said last July. “But I felt like a lot of her strengths were kind of what we need in our office, and she’s not going to be in like a non-coaching position forever, but I thought it was a great opportunity for us to get her while we can.”
When Arizona parted ways with assistant coaches Erin Grant and Ashley Davis, there was room on the bench again. Barnes announced one of the positions would go to Shelby on Friday morning, although the position change has been listed on the Arizona Athletics website for over a week.
Regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country, we're thrilled to announce @CoachShelby as an Assistant Coach with our program!— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) April 21, 2023
https://t.co/FNJgzphF3L#MadeForIt x #LeaveALegacy pic.twitter.com/8FXthbNlWO
Shelby came from West Virginia where she met the fate of assistant coaches whose head coach retires. She was job hunting again after three years on the Mountaineers’ staff as the associate head coach.
In her second season at WVU, Shelby helped the team to a 22-win season and a second-place finish in the Big 12. It was the Mountaineers’ best regular season finish since 2014.
She has been responsible for coaching guards at most of her stops. At WVU, she coached guards Tynice Martin and Kysre Gondrezick, both of whom were drafted into the WNBA. Gondrezick was a lottery pick, going to the Indiana Fever at No. 4.
Prior to WVU, Shelby spent a year at North Carolina and three years at Maryland. She worked with guards and served as the recruiting coordinator for both programs. Maryland brought in two top 5 classes while she was on staff.
Shelby began her coaching career in 2006 as the director of operations for East Carolina immediately after concluding her playing career at Greensboro College.