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Neighbors returns to Lady’Back basketball

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Neighbors returns to Lady’Back basketball

FAYETTEVILLE – University of Colorado assistant coach Mike Neighbors returns to the University of Arkansas as an assistant coach for the Lady Razorback basketball team, head coach Susie Gardner announced today. “Mike brings a lot of positive energy to his work and there is a tremendous passion,” Gardner said. “He’s the right fit for our program. Our current staff really clicked with him during the interview process.” Neighbors returns to his alma mater after spending one season as an assistant with the Buffaloes and four seasons as an assistant coach at Tulsa. “I’m thrilled about returning to my alma mater, but what really makes this special is what’s building at Arkansas,” Neighbors said. “The chance to be a part of what’s going on right now with the women’s basketball team is a tremendous opportunity. I want to thank Coach Gardner and the administration for the chance to be a part of it. “Every step along the way in my career was to prepare me for this day,” Neighbors continued. “I am so thankful for the experiences and the assistance I’ve received from my players and my peers. It is special to be a part of the staff of your alma mater, and there was not a single hesitation when I got the chance to come home.” Gardner brings Neighbors on board to join current assistants Amber Shirey and Johnnie Harris. “How a staff works together is very important, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with Amber the past three seasons and Johnnie for the past two,” Gardner said. “Both of them bring invaluable assets to the program, and they compliment each other. I really think we now have the staff in place to take this program where I’ve envisioned it can go. It gives me a new energy as a head coach to know we’ve got such a great mix of strengths in our staff.”“The chance to sit on the same bench with a pair of coaches that I’ve had so much respect for in the past is a little overwhelming,” Neighbors said. “I’ve known Johnnie and Amber for years. In fact, I sat side-by-side with Amber at graduation, and to come full circle to the Arkansas staff is awesome. I’ve been associated with Johnnie at almost every step of my career. When I was a high school coach back at Cabot and we shared ideas when she was at UALR. I think there’s a tremendous mutual respect among the staff.” Neighbors moves into the assistant coaching position held last season by Khadija J. Head, who resumes her duties as the staff’s director of basketball operations after one year of on-the-court coaching. “Khadija couldn’t have done a better job last year, and we can’t function as a staff without her,” Gardner said. “She will continue to help us with on-campus recruiting.” He was the coordinator for scouting and scheduling at Colorado last season for head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller. In the previous seasons with McConnell-Miller at Tulsa, Neighbors was one of the primary recruiters for the Golden Hurricane. Neighbors’ work led Tulsa to a pair of nationally-ranked recruiting classes, a 69-52 mark during his four years as an assistant and the first two postseason appearances in school history. “Priority one is recruiting the state of Arkansas for our team, and each of our coaches has a specific area of the state where they are strong,” Gardner said. “Then each of them have their areas outside of the state across the nation where they can work to bring the players that fit what we want to achieve at Arkansas.” “One of the reasons I’m excited about returning is also to be a part of what’s going on in the high school ranks,” Neighbors said. “The high school coaches in this state have done an incredible job over the past decade in elevating Arkansas girls basketball to the national recruiting level.” Aside from earning his bachelor’s degree at Arkansas in 1993, Neighbors started his collegiate basketball career as the director of basketball operations for the Lady Razorbacks from 1999-2001. A highly successful high school coach in the state of Arkansas, Neighbors led Cabot High to a 19-9 record in 1998-99. Previously he turned Bentonville High from a 1-24 team into the 1997 Class AAAAA state runner-up.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)