While others may have better statistics, arguably no Lady Razorback has had the impact upon the Arkansas women’s basketball program as Amber Nicholas Shirey. An all-SWC and academic all-American player in the late 1980s and early 1990s, she is the first former Lady’Back to become a full-time coaching staff member at Arkansas. As a result, she played a critical hand in recruiting and coaching the athletes who replaced her in the record books.
It seems fitting that the player to hold the Arkansas record for assists would have the best winning percentage in her career (over 75%) of any Lady’Back. In the process, her teams won 86 games, two SWC titles and made three NCAA appearances. Thanks in part to her 538 assists, her post players led the SWC in scoring twice.
She ended her career second in steals and one of only two players to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds, steals and assists. Shirey can rightly lay claim to a stake in the 86 games won during her four years as she played in all 117 games and started a school-record 87 consecutive games. The 1991 SWC Tournament MVP, Shirey also was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship recipient.
Her legacy to the program continued as an assistant coach, working with guards like former SEC three-point accuracy champion Kimberly Wilson, former four-time AP all-American Christy Smith and three-point record holder Wendi Willits. She had the privilege to coach the woman who finished off her assist record, Amy Wright.
She married Fayetteville High softball coach Jason Shirey in 1999, and the Shireys have one son.