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The University of St. Thomas Athletic Director Todd Smith announces Jae Cross as the new Women's Head basketball coach.
Cross joins the Celts after seven seasons at Rice University, the last two serving as the Associate Head Coach. While at Rice, Cross helped the Owls to two postseason appearances, advancing to the WNIT in 2011 and the Women's Basketball Invitational in 2012. Six Rice players have earned All-C-USA honors, and three players have been tabbed Freshman All-C-USA since her arrival on campus in 2008.
"Timing can be very important in athletics. I believe we had perfect timing in our search for the new head women's basketball coach. I am thrilled to announce that Jae Cross will join our UST Athletics family at this time," said Coach Smith, "Our women's program is ready to take the next step in their growth and I could not be more happy Coach Cross has agreed to become our 2nd ever head women's basketball coach."
Cross has had an impressive basketball career not only as a coach but as a player herself. Cross played professionally for the WNBA's Detroit Shock and San Antonio Silver Stars. She also was a member of the Australian national team for 12 years and won a bronze medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship. The Australians claimed a pair of Oceania Gold Medals in 2003 and 2005 en route to qualifying for the Olympics. Inducted into her home town of Canberra's Sports Hall of Fame, Cross began her playing career at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 1993. She received the R.E. Stauton Award in 1994, which is given to the women's basketball most outstanding player. She then played for the Adelaide Lightning of the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL). The Lightning won a trio of national championships in 1995, 1996 and 1998.
"She had a terrific career as a player and after spending the last seven years at Rice as an assistant coach she is ready to run her own program. It is a blessing that Coach Cross will be the leader of our program and I believe great things are in store for the Celts," said Smith
Eager to be at the helm of the UST Women's Basketball program, Cross will be taking over in time for the women's trip to Barcelona Spain this June.
"I would like to thank President Dr. Robert Ivany, Coach Todd Smith, Ms. Patricia McKinley, and the committee at the University of St. Thomas for this amazing opportunity. This institution has a prestigious reputation academically and has a strong commitment to grow in all areas. Those are just a couple of things that attracted me to this position. After meeting the team and many people on campus I knew this was a perfect fit for me," said Cross. "Coach Ricks left a good foundation for a bright future after starting this program four years ago and I am extremely excited to continue to grow this program and work with the young women that are here at St. Thomas," Jae Cross.
Jae and her husband, Tom Cross, live in Houston with their four daughters, Jenisha, Taylor, Cale, and Haylee.
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