One of the brightest young coaching minds in the Southeastern Conference, Marlene Stollings was recently elevated to Associate Coach at Ole Miss prior to the 2010-11 season.
She is responsible for the Rebels' overall offense as well as oversight of recruiting, scouting and coordination of individual guard development entering her fourth season on Head Coach Renee Ladner's staff.
Stollings was recognized by Nike in 2010 as one of the top assistants in the country and received an invitation to attend its prestigious Villa 7 Consortium, an accomplishment reserved for a small group of the country's elite assistant basketball coaches.
She has also established herself as a passionate and accomplished national recruiter and turned heads with the signing of arguably the best Ole Miss recruiting class in nearly 30 years in 2010. Mississippi native Valencia McFarland, who is ranked as the No. 14 point guard in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz, highlights a class that also includes highly touted players from Ohio, Tennessee and Arkansas.
In addition to her coaching and recruiting abilities, Stollings is known nationally for her exceptional gift of developing talent, which has helped Ole Miss feature one of the top guard corps in the country in each of her three seasons with the team.
She mentored former Ole Miss guard Bianca Thomas into a 2010 first-round draft pick of the WNBA's Los Angles Sparks.
Under Stollings' tutelage, Thomas put together a record-breaking season in 2009-10 on her way to ranking 10th in the NCAA and first the SEC in scoring by averaging 20.9 points per game en route to an All-SEC first-team selection for the second consecutive season. Thomas became the first Rebel since Jennifer Gillom in 1986 to lead the SEC in scoring and finished her career sixth all-time at Ole Miss in scoring.
Thomas was also one of the nation's top long distance shooters and ended the season ranked 10th in the nation with 3.1 three-pointers per game. She set a new Ole Miss single-season record with 100 three-pointers and left Oxford ranked second all-time in school history in career treys.
Shantell Black had a third straight strong year under the direction of Stollings and finished the 2009-10 season sixth in the SEC with 4.2 assists per game. Black left Ole Miss fourth on the Rebels' all-time assist list with 522.
Stollings also helped Black become one of the top long-distance shooters in the league last season, as Black finished eighth in the conference with a 37.1 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Rebel point guard Kayla Melson also flourished under Stollings in 2009-10 and finished the season first in the SEC and 10th in the NCAA with 5.9 assists per game. Melson put together four games of at least 10 assists and turned in just the third triple-double in school history when she finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the season opener.
Melson also developed into one of the league's top scoring threats and ended the year 19th in the SEC with 12.2 points per game. Melson more than doubled her scoring output from her sophomore year when she tallied 5.7 points per game.
Stollings brought a rich background to Ole Miss with extensive experience as both a player and a coach at the Division I level. Her 10 years of progressive coaching and recruiting experience includes the A-10 and Sun Belt Conferences as well as the Horizon League and now the SEC.
Stollings came to Oxford after completing a two-year stint (2005-07) at Saint Louis University. Her first recruiting class as co-recruiting coordinator for Saint Louis was arguably the best in school history. The 2005 class included Miss Illinois Basketball and two All-State performers from Ohio.
She brings proven experience in rebuilding programs having done so not only at Saint Louis University, but also at WrightState and New Mexico State. Prior to SLU, Stollings was an assistant coach at Wright State for the 2003-04 season. The Raiders won a postseason game for just the second time in school history that year and finished with a winning home record for the first time in eight seasons. Stollings coached one All-Conference team selection as well as an All-Newcomer squad member.
In December 2002, Stollings was appointed interim head coach at New Mexico State and guided the team to a 9-3 record. The Aggies claimed first place in the Sun Belt West Division for the first time in school history and had two players named to the All-Conference team.
The Aggies led the country in 3-point field goals made that season at 8.8 per game and set an NCAA record with 21 treys in one game which still ranks No. 1 in NCAA history.
Stollings began her coaching career spending one year at Jacksonville University in Florida. The Dolphins set school records that year for overall and conference wins along with the team's best conference finish.
As a collegiate player, Stollings earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors at Ohio after finishing eighth in the nation and leading the league in scoring at 22.9 points per game her senior year. She served as team captain for the Bobcats and earned Kodak All-American honorable mention honors in 1998. Stollings remains in the Ohio record books with 10 three-point baskets and 41 points scored in a single game.
Off the court, she earned the Ohio University Alumni Scholar Athlete Citation and Dean's list honors. She graduated with both a B.B.A. in marketing and a B.S. in sport industry from Ohio University in 1998. Stollings began her collegiate playing career at Ohio State University and was a two-time scholar athlete for the Buckeyes.
Following her collegiate playing career, Stollings played one season professionally for Club ABB Baden in Switzerland. She was later invited to the WNBA Utah Starzz training camp in 1999, and also played for the NWBL Mobile Majesty. While playing professionally in Europe, Stollings coached a men's club team to an undefeated season.
Stollings had an outstanding prep career at Beaver-Eastern High School in Pike County, Ohio. Considered one of the finest scorers to ever play in the basketball rich state of Ohio, she finished as the leading scorer in the history of Ohio high school basketball (both boys and girls) with 3,514 points. This point total still remains the highest in Ohio history. The 1993 Ohio Miss Basketball was also presented a resolution by both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives for her academic and athletic achievement.
Stollings was a two-time Division III Player of the Year and four-time conference Player of the Year. She earned Kodak All-American honors her senior season. Her name currently appears over 30 times in the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) record books. In her honor, February 19 was declared Marlene Stollings Day in Pike County, Ohio.
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