April 17, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. – Tai Dillard, who spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant coach with USC in Los Angeles, Calif., has joined the Ole Miss women’s basketball coaching staff in the same position, head coach Matt Insell announced today.
“I’m excited to have Tai join the Rebel Nation,” Insell said. “Not only is she a great coach, but she’s a great person. She’s proven herself over her coaching career not only to be a great recruiter but also in the development of perimeter players. I’m ecstatic about having her work with our point guards.
She brings three years of playing experience in the WNBA and that experience is huge to have to be able to teach our players what it takes to get to that level. Having played collegiately at the University of Texas, her recruiting ties to the state of Texas are huge for us.”
While at USC during the 2012-13 season, Dillard helped coach two guards, Brianna Barrett and Ariya Crook, to All Pac-12 postseason honors.
Prior to USC, she spent five seasons as an assistant at UTSA where her primary duties included recruiting, working with the guards, scouting and organizing summer camps. During Dillard’s time at UTSA, the program made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009 after winning Southland Tournament Championships. The Roadrunners also won the Southland regular-season title in 2009.
“I’m excited to join the Ole Miss women’s basketball program with Coach Insell, Coach Schaefer and Coach Fuller,” Dillard said. “Coach Insell is a ball of energy and I really love that when talking with him. I’m excited about his plans for the program, how quickly he wants to turn the program around and I’m ready to get to work. We are ready and excited to get this program back to the NCAA Tournament status the program has been at in the past.”
While at UTSA, 11 of Dillard’s players earn All-Southland postseason awards. Her work with Monica Gibbs helped launch Gibbs to the UTSA’s all-time assists and rebounding leader, a three-time all-conference performer, the Southland Player of the Year and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Dillard’s began her coaching career at the high school level where she served as a head cross country coach and assistant basketball and track & field coach at Sam Houston High School.
A four-year letterwinner at the University of Texas for Hall of Fame head coach Jody Conradt, Dillard helped the team to a 92-42 record and four straight NCAA appearances, including a Final Four trip in her senior year from 1999-2003. As a senior, Dillard started 34 games and helped the Longhorns to an overall record of 29-6. She was a two-time Big 12 All-Academic honoree.
As a pro, Dillard played for the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars from 2003-05, appearing in 57 games. She briefly played in the National Women’s Basketball League for the Houston Stealth in 2004 and gained more experience overseas while playing in the Israeli Premier Basketball League for the Macabbi Tel Kabir from 2004-05.
Dillard, a native of San Antonio, Texas, received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2003.