Lynne Roberts, the 2014-15 West Coast Conference Co-Coach of the Year, has been named the new head women's basketball coach at the University of Utah, Director of Athletics Chris Hill announced Monday.
"There was strong interest in our women's basketball position and we had some extremely good candidates," said Hill. "We felt that Lynne Roberts had all of the attributes we were looking for and we are excited to welcome her as our new head coach. Lynne is well respected in the profession, not only for her winning track record, but also for her recruiting skills, emphasis on student-athlete welfare and desire to actively engage the community. Lynne appreciates our long tradition of women's basketball success and is excited at the challenges ahead as we strive to become a leader in the Pac-12."
Roberts comes to Utah after nine seasons as the head coach at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., where she was a two-time conference coach of the year (2012-13 Big West and 2014-15 West Coast Co-Coach of the Year). She led the Tigers to postseason appearances in each of the last four seasons, a program-long streak, after taking over a team that qualified for the postseason just once in school history before her arrival.
"I am extremely humbled and excited for the opportunity to coach at the University of Utah," Roberts said. "I am very appreciative of President Pershing, Chris Hill and Senior Women's Administrator Nona Richardson for the chance to work with this group of tremendous young women."
Roberts' 221-177 career record includes an 86-31 mark in four seasons at NCAA Division II Chico State from 2002-06. She inherited a Pacific team that had won just 11 games combined the previous two seasons. Faced with a major rebuilding project, she went 51-99 her first five years, before flipping the columns with an 84-45 record over the last four seasons. The Tigers were 21-10 this past season and played in the WNIT.
"Coming to Utah gives me an opportunity to be a part of a very special community and be a member of an incredible tradition. My highest priorities are spending time and developing relationships with the players on this team, getting to know our former players, and recruiting future Utes," said Roberts.
Roberts led Pacific through its jump to the West Coast Conference in the 2013-14 campaign when the Tigers finished 18-14 overall and placed third in the league with a 12-6 mark.
The year prior as members of the Big West Conference, Roberts' 2012-13 team achieved the best record in school history, finishing 27-8 and winning the program's first Big West regular-season title, while receiving votes in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls for the first time as well. That team advanced to the third round of the WNIT, and she was named the Big West Coach of the Year.
Roberts guided Pacific to the WNIT for the first time in 2011-12, when the Tigers won the program's first-ever postseason game, a 77-62 win over Arizona State in the first round.
"Leaving Pacific was a difficult decision for me, as I have absolutely loved coaching there for the past nine years," Roberts said. "I am incredibly indebted to the leadership I received at Pacific and for all the tremendous players I had the privilege to coach. They all have taught me so much and I am forever grateful."
Under Roberts' tutelage, Pacific student-athletes earned 25 All-Big West team honors, five All-Big West Freshman Team honors and the 2010 Sixth Woman of the Year award. The Tigers earned six All-WCC selections, a WCC All-Freshman pick, and the 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year with Roberts at the helm.
Prior to Pacific, Roberts spent four seasons as the head at Chico State where she compiled an 86-31 overall record. During her final season, the Wildcats were 28-4 in 2005-06 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four. She was named the WBCA West Region Coach of the Year in 2004-05 and was the California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Roberts began her coaching career as an assistant at her alma mater, Seattle Pacific University, from 1997-2001.
During her playing career at SPU, Roberts was named to the NCAA West Regional all-tournament team as a senior co-captain. She was second team all-conference her junior year. The Redding, Calif., native graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in history and added a master's degree from SPU in athletic administration 2000.
Roberts takes over a Utah team that returns five players with considerable starting experience, including point guard Danielle Rodriguez (who finished fourth in the Pac-12 in assist-to-turnover ratio in 2014-15), center Emily Potter (a 2013-14 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honoree) and wing Tanaeya Boclair (honorable mention Pac-12 All-Freshman Team in 2014-15).