PISCATAWAY, NJ – Michelle Edwards has been promoted to the position of assistant coach and Sue Wicks has been named the coordinator of basketball operations, Rutgers women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer has announced.
Edwards spent the last year as the Scarlet Knights’ coordinator of basketball operations, and for two seasons (2002-2004) served as the color analyst for RU women’s basketball games on the Rutgers Radio Network.
“It is my extreme pleasure to add Michelle to our staff,” said Stringer. “She has a tremendous gift for imparting her outstanding knowledge of the game. She was one of the top five players to ever come out of Boston, and was the National Player of the Year at Iowa and the franchise player with the (WNBA’s Cleveland) Rockers, so she is obviously one of the greatest players ever, without question. She understands the game from all angles, on the college and professional levels, is very knowledgeable about my system and is a great teacher of the game. I am just so happy to invite her to join the coaching staff.”
Edwards played for Stringer at Iowa (1984-88), leading the Hawkeyes to back-to-back NCAA Tournament regional finals (1987-88) and posting career totals of 1,821 points (third at Iowa all time), 482 rebounds (16th), 431 assists (second) and 235 steals (third). As a senior, she was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, a Kodak and Naismith All-American and the Champion National Player of the Year. A 2000 Iowa Hall-of-Fame inductee, she is the only female Hawkeye to have her jersey retired, and she was selected as one of Iowa’s “Top 50 Athletes of the Century” as well the Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Decade (1980-89).
“It is an honor and a privilege to start my coaching career at Rutgers, a university with such proud academic and athletic traditions, as well as one of the nation’s finest staffs in C. Vivian Stringer, Jolette Law and Carlene Mitchell,” said Edwards. “I knew from day one that this was the place to be, and I’m very anxious to take on the new challenges associated with this position.”
Edwards, who won a bronze medal at the 1991 Pan-American Games under Stringer’s tutelage, played professionally in Italy from 1988-97, earning three Italian League All-Star Game MVP awards. She then came back to the States when the WNBA was formed, and was the second allocation from the original group of 16 “franchise” players. Edwards played a total of five seasons (1997-2001) for the Cleveland Rockers and Seattle Storm, averaging 7.6 points and 2.8 assists per game. While a member of the WNBA, she was very active in the community, working with several Cleveland charities as well as the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program.
Following the end of her professional playing career, Edwards served as a youth basketball advisor/community relations representative for the YMCA in New York City. She also added to her broadcasting resume, serving as the Fox Sports Net color analyst for Cleveland Rockers games during the 2003 season. A native of Boston, MA, Edwards graduated from Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1989. She also was a teammate of current Rutgers associate head coach Jolette Law, who played with Edwards at Iowa during the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons.
Wicks (1984-88) remains the most highly-decorated player in RU history, garnering three Kodak All-America awards and earning 1988 national player-of-the-year recognition from Naismith, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the Women’s Basketball News Service and Street & Smith’s. A member of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and one of only two Knights to have her jersey retired, Wicks still owns the RU career records for points (2,655), rebounds (1,357), scoring average (21.2 ppg), rebounding average (10.9 rpg), field goals made (1,091) and attempted (2,099), free throws made (473) and attempted (641), and blocked shots (293).
“I am just so excited to add Sue to our staff,” said Stringer. “I have admired her for quite some time, and really appreciate her love for Rutgers and her willingness to share her experiences with our players. She is a great role model, and is the epitome of what it means to be a successful student-athlete because she worked hard to live her dreams. She knows how to produce results as a member of a team, and she never shirked the responsibilities associated with being in a position of leadership. I know that she will bring that same drive to this position, so I could not have made a better choice than bringing Sue back to Rutgers. This truly is a great day for Rutgers women’s basketball.”
As a senior, Wicks established single-season records for points (793), field goals made (319), free throws made (155) and scoring average (25.6 ppg), while as a junior she set the rebounding (404) and blocked shots (97) records. A three-time Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year (1986-88), she led Rutgers to a 105-21 (.833) record, two Atlantic 10 Tournament titles (1986-87) and three NCAA Tournament bids (1986-88), including two Elite Eight finishes (1986-87). For her postseason exploits, Wicks was named the MVP of the 1986 and 1988 Atlantic 10 Tournaments, the co-MVP in 1987, and a member of the 1986 and 1987 NCAA All-East Regional Teams.
“I am thrilled to death to be back at Rutgers,” said Wicks. “I’ve had a great connection with the university over the years, and the fans always continued to support me, whether I was playing overseas or with the Liberty. Of course, to come back home is very exciting. I get to learn from a Hall of Fame coach in C. Vivian Stringer, which is an opportunity I almost feel like I should pay for. Rutgers has a great group of young players, including probably the best backcourt in the country, so I am looking forward to many years of success. Hopefully, we can bring a national championship to Rutgers.”
A gold medalist at the 1987 Pan-American Games, Wicks spent more than 15 years playing professionally overseas. When the WNBA was formed in 1997, she was the first-round selection of her hometown New York Liberty, where she played for six seasons before announcing her retirement in April of 2003. Wicks played more than 3,900 minutes during her career, winning four Eastern Conference titles while averaging 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The Liberty’s all-time leader in blocked shots (155) and rebounds (788), the Center Moriches, NY, native was named a 2000 WNBA All-Star and was presented the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award at the conclusion of the 2000 season.
“I truly believe that we have assembled the finest staff in the country,” Stringer stated. “There is an excellent gathering of knowledge from all levels, from international to the WNBA to the college level, and a nice blend of youth and maturity. This will be a very hard-working staff and one that strives to be the very best in everything they do.”
Last season, the Scarlet Knights (21-12, 10-6 BIG EAST) advanced to their sixth NCAA Championship in the last seven years and finished as the runners-up at the 2004 BIG EAST Championship. Stringer, who will begin her 10th year at the helm of the Rutgers program next fall just five wins shy of her 700th victory, will spend the summer serving as an assistant coach for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team in Athens. The 2004-2005 Scarlet Knights already are being recognized as a team to watch nationally, garnering a spot in the Sports Illustrated Preseason Top 10.