Fernandez completes coaching staff, adds Dickson
USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has filled out his coaching staff, hiring longtime Florida International assistant Desma Thomas Bateast as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator and bringing in former Bulls great Jessica Dickson as an administrative assistant.
Thomas Bateast, 39, spent seven years on FIU's staff, recruiting an All-American and the nation's leading scorer out of USF's backyard in guard Jerica Coley of St. Pete Catholic. She was inducted into the University of Miami's Sports Hall of Fame last year, having played basketball for the Hurricanes from 1992-97.
"It's an opportunity to coach at a higher level, with a dynamic andenergetic coach," said Thomas Bateast, who took a job last month as head coach at NAIA St. Thomas University in Miami, but left to join USF's staff, calling it "an easy but tough decision."
She'll replace Carrie Banks, who left this month to join the staff at Northwestern; Dickson, USF's all-time leading scorer and a recent Hall of Fame enshrinee with a retired jersey in the Sun Dome rafters, takes over for Miya McCurdy, who took a job at Ohio State.
Thomas Bateast played at Miami and twice was named the the All-Big East third team, scoring 1,284 points to rank 11th on the Hurricanes' all-time scoring list. She remains Miami's career leader in 3-pointers made and attempted, and holds the school record for free throws made (18) and attempted (22) in a single game.
She said she expects to work with USF's perimeter players and will work on Fernandez's staff with associate head coach Jeff Osterman and associate coach Michele Woods-Baxter; Jessica Cooley returns as director of basketball operations, and Dickson, who had worked in the Muma Center this past season, joins Cayll Smith as administrative assistants on the staff.
The Bulls also on Friday made official the signing of Spanish guard Ariadna Pujol, a top international recruit who committed to USF as the seventh member of Fernandez's incoming class. She's competing as a 17-year-old on Spain's national under-19 team this summer and will join the Bulls with the start of fall classes. The other six newcomers started classes with the Summer B semester earlier this month.