FAYETTEVILLE – Tari Cummings joins the University of Arkansas women’s basketball staffas an assistant coach and the team’s recruiting coordinator, head coach Tom Collen announced today.
She replaces Zenarae Antoine who was named head coach at Texas State earlier this month.
Cummings will coordinate the Razorback recruiting efforts, work with the forwards and serve as the team’s liaison with the academic department at Arkansas.
"We are really excited about Tari joining our staff," Collen said. "I feel excited to add what I believe is a future star in the coaching profession. Tari brings a wide variety of qualities that I needed for this position. First, she will be a great role model and mentor for our players. She has experienced a great deal in life at such a young age, ranging from being a single mom, to fighting through injuries most of her career at Arkansas Fort Smith and Oklahoma State."
Cummings comes to Arkansas by way of the University of Houston where she spent two seasons working with the Cougars as the team’s recruiting coordinator.
Cummings came to Houston after two seasons at the University of Cincinnati where she served in the same capacity. Prior to her time at UC, Cummings spent four seasons at Arkansas-Fort Smith under long-time head coach Louis Whorton, where she helped the Lions to three NJCAA National Tournament appearances, including a pair of final fours and a consolation championship. She mentored three NJCAA All-Americans during her tenure at UA-Fort Smith.
"During her four years at Arkansas-Fort Smith Tari forged tremendous relationships with the high school and AAU coaches within the state of Arkansas," Collen said. "Every coach I spoke with confirmed it would be a great hire.
"I really like her recruiting ties to her home state, Oklahoma, as well as the relationships she has developed in Texas and southern Louisiana from working at the University of Houston the past two seasons as well," Collen continued. "Their success at Houston this season making the NCAA tournament was not an accident. I know when she has a chance to settle in and reach out to the Arkansas fans and community, our fans will fall in love with her engaging personality as well."
She played collegially at UA-Fort Smith (then Westark College), where she earned All-American honors in 1999 and helped the Lions place seventh in the NJCAA National Tournament in 1997-98. She finished with 1,262 career points, ranking third in the program’s history. She went on to play two seasons at Oklahoma State University, where she was an All-Big 12 performer in 2001-02, averaging 13.1 points per contest and leading the Cowgirls with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Cummings earned her Associate of Arts degree from Westark College in 1999 and received a B.S. in sociology from Oklahoma State in 2003. She is native of Pocola, Okla., and has an eight-year-old daughter, Tiya.
"It’s always hard to lose someone off your staff, but as I told our players, change can be a good thing and I think this will prove to be another step forward for our program," Collen said.
The Razorbacks are wrapping up individual work outs and finals over the next two weeks before the summer break begins.