CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia women’s basketball head coach Tina Thompson announced on Monday (May 13) the addition of Walter Pitts and UVA alumna Monica Wright to her coaching staff.
“With the addition of Walter and Monica, we have grown in the best way,” Thompson said. “I am truly excited about these two, their energy and work ethic are just what we need. Welcome to the Hoo Family Walter and Monica!”
Pitts comes to Virginia after spending last season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Jackson State. During his tenure with the Tigers, he helped develop two All-SWAC players and the Newcomer of the Year, Kaisah Lucky. His professional coaching career has also included being the lead assistant for the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League, an assistant for the Texas Southern men’s basketball team and an assistant coach for UNC Greensboro’s women’s team. Pitts played collegiately at Alabama, receiving the Guy Lee Turner Defensive Award twice. He helped lead the Crimson Tide to a 1992 NIT bid and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1993. He went on to play professionally for four years in South America.
“I’m so very excited to add Coach Walter Pitts to our coaching roster,” Thompson said. “What appealed to me most about Coach Pitts was his energetic personality! He has a love for the game that is not measurable, being in the gym and developing kids is his passion. Most people that know him well would call him a ‘gym rat’ of sorts. He really enjoys the development side of the game, which is also the part of the game I enjoy. He is committed to getting our kids better through mental and physical work. Our kids are workers by nature, so to have another member of our staff that mirrors their intentions is a welcomed addition. Coach Pitts has a wealth of knowledge in the game of basketball, as a player and a coach at different levels. He will bring a diverse perspective to our staff and a big personality. I am very much looking forward to him bringing all that knowledge to the Hoo Family enhancing our ability to grow.”
Wright graduated as the Cavaliers’ all-time leading scorer with 2,540 points, which ranks third in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The three-time All-American was honored as the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 23.7 points per game (ranked seventh nationally) and 3.7 steals per game (second in the NCAA).
After playing at UVA, Wright was the second overall pick in the 2010 WNBA draft. Playing for the Minnesota Lynx, she was named to the 2010 WNBA All-Rookie Team averaging 11.1 points per game in her first season in the league. She won WNBA titles with the Lynx in 2011 and 2013. During Minnesota’s 3-0 sweep of the Atlanta Dream in the 2013 WNBA Finals, Wright averaged 11.7 points and 1.7 steals per game. Wright, who also spent time with the Seattle Storm during her five WNBA seasons, served as secretary/treasurer for the WNBA Players Association during the 2015 season.
Wright spent last season as an assistant coach at Liberty after working at Incarnate Word in 2017-18 as the women’s basketball team’s director of student-athlete development.
“The hiring of Coach Monica Wright for me was a no-brainer! She embodies all that is necessary to be a successful student athlete at UVA,” Thompson said. “Not many have done it better than Monica. She knows a side of the university that no one else on our staff knows and has accomplished the very things our girls aspire to. It is important to me that our kids have examples of what is possible, that they can see, touch and talk to everyday. That way they will know if they are committed to the work, anything is possible. Monica is also a bright young coach, she has that thing that stars are made of. Her body of work as a player is an example of that. Her energy and work ethic is one that our kids will take to immediately. Monica absolutely loves everything that is UVA, she bleeds Virginia orange and blue. Like I said, a no-brainer.”
Pitts and Wright will be filling vacancies on the coaching staff left by the departures of La’Keshia Frett Meredith and Jama Sharp, who will not be returning for the 2019-20 season.