A Spokane basketball blue blood who has won numerous Hoopfest titles, played in the WNBA and led Mead to a state championship has been hired as an assistant coach for the Gonzaga women’s basketball team.
Stacy Clinesmith, 36, will join new coach Lisa Fortier, who was hired to replace Kelly Graves. He left last month after 14 years to become head coach at Oregon.
“She has been able to transfer her knowledge of the game as a player into developing guards … which is not a skill many high-level players can ever perfect,” Fortier said. “Stacy brings tons of energy and enthusiasm, and does a tremendous job of creating relationships with recruits and in the community.”
Clinesmith most recently worked for three years as an assistant coach for Jennifer Mountain, who was fired earlier this year by West Coast Conference foe Santa Clara.
“I was really looking forward to the next adventure,” Clinesmith said. “With Lisa hiring me at Gonzaga, the next adventure is a dream come true.”
As a 5-foot-5 guard, Clinesmith led Mead to the 1996 State AAA title. She was named the State AAA MVP in her junior and senior years.
She was the Greater Spokane League MVP for two straight years in basketball and soccer. She was also a first-team All-GSL basketball player as a sophomore.
Clinesmith said she was recruited to play at Gonzaga, but the program at the time “was nowhere near where Kelly and Lisa have gotten it to this point. But I’ve always been a Zags fan.”
Clinesmith starred at UC Santa Barbara, where she was selected as an all-conference player for three years and played on teams that won four Big West tournament titles and made four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. She was named the MVP of the Big West tournament after she scored a career-high 36 points in the 2000 conference title game.
Following her collegiate career, Clinesmith was drafted in the second round of the 2000 WNBA draft.
Fortier said Clinesmith has been on her radar for a while as she sought to find the best available female coach.
“I think she’s going to recruit, coach guards and coach the offense,” Fortier said. “There will be some changes … but we will be doing the same things we’ve done for years with great success.”
Clinesmith joins previous hire Jordan Green, who most recently coached with Jon Newlee at Idaho. Fortier hopes to announce her third and final hire by Monday.
“Being able to be home with friends and family and going to work doing something I love, I’m really ecstatic,” Clinesmith said.
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