By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
YOLETT McPhee-McCuin continues to achieve new milestones and make history for Bahamian basketball.
Ross Bjork, Ole Miss Rebels vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, officially announced McPhee-McCuin's addition as the head coach of the women's basketball programme for the 2017-18 season.
"I am extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be the women's basketball coach at the University of Mississippi," McPhee-McCuin said.
"Once I stepped on campus, there was no doubt in my mind that Ole Miss had the potential to be a force to be reckoned with -- not only in the SEC, but nationally as well. I'd like to thank Chancellor Vitter and Ross for their complete vote of confidence in me, and I look forward to getting started."
The Rebels ended last season with a 12-19 record and a second round loss in the SEC Tournament.
The daughter of legendary Bahamian coach Gladstone "Moon" McPhee and educator Daisy McPhee, she became the ninth head coach in Rebels history. McPhee-McCuin will be publicly introduced during a press conference at Ole Miss on Friday.
She completed an historic tenure with the Jacksonville Dolphins where the program accomplished several new feats.
In her final game at JU, the Dolphins saw their season come to an end in the opening round of the WNIT when they were eliminated with a first round loss to the University of Central Florida Knights.
It was the second consecutive season, the Jaguars came up just short in a bid for the NCAA Tournament but earned a berth to the WNIT.
It capped a season where the Dolphins set a new single season program record with 24 wins. In the 2016-17 season, the Dolphins tied the previous record of 23 which tied the old school mark for most wins in a season set back in the 2007-08 season. In the 2015-16 campaign, McPhee-McCuin led the Dolphins to a 22-11 record, the A-Sun tournament title and their first NCAA Tournament championship berth in school history.
McPhee-McCuin made the Dolphins a dominant team in the Atlantic Sun Conference and finished with a 94-63 record (50-24 in ASUN play) and three postseason appearances.
She became the first Bahamian head coach in an NCAA Division I basketball programme when she was announced as the Dolphins head coach in April 2013.
Prior to her time at Jacksonville, McPhee-McCuin was an assistant at Clemson from 2011-13, where she was recognized as one of the top assistants in the nation by National Women's Basketball Insider. While with the Tigers, McPhee-McCuin solidified her reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country, spearheading the No. 16 class in the nation in her final year at Clemson, which included five McDonalds All-America nominees.
Before her stint at Clemson, McPhee-McCuin was on staff at Pittsburgh for two seasons in 2009 and 2010. She was part of a pair of postseason appearances with Panthers, who rose to No. 14 in the national rankings and advanced to a Sweet 16.
Her coaching career also includes stops at Portland, Frank Phillips College and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where she earned her master's degree in physical education with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
McPhee-McCuin received her bachelor's in business management and administration from Rhode Island in 2004, playing in 56 games over her junior and senior years at URI and helping the Rams advance to the 2003 A-10 title game. She played her first two seasons at Miami-Dade Community College.
She achieved another first in 2013 when she was named the Bahamas' women's national basketball team head coach, and McPhee-McCuin immediately set out on her path to seek Olympic qualification for the country at the Tokyo games in 2020.
Most recently, the team turned in a fifth place finish at the 2017 Women's Centrobasket Championships. Under McPhee-McCuin's leadership, the Bahamas finished with the gold medal at the 2015 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championship and automatically qualified for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Columbia.
When the Bahamas Basketball Federation chose to revamp its national team programme and its coaching staff, its intention was to bring greater focus and organisation in the sport for the country on the international stage.
"Yolett McPhee-McCuin was born to teach and coach," Bjork said. "As the daughter of legendary Bahamian basketball coach Gladstone Moon' McPhee and her mother a teacher,Coach Yo' has coaching and leadership running through her DNA. Throughout our search process, it became clear to us: Coach McCuin is a star in the making, and we better secure her leadership before another program does.
"With her perspective as a collegiate point guard, we know she sees the big picture of what it takes to be successful in the SEC and on the national stage. Coach McCuin's leadership, style of play, recruiting prowess, energy and passion is exactly what we need right now in order to re-establish Ole Miss Women's Basketball back to competing for and winning championships. We want to welcome Yolett, Kelly, Yasmine and Yuri to the Ole Miss family."