Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:20 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:20:22 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:23 PM EDT2013-05-22 01:23:02 GMT
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First-year head coach Chanda Rigby and the Troy women's basketball program announced the hiring of Jennifer Graf and Kayla Ard as assistant coaches on Tuesday.
Graf comes to Troy after eight seasons as the head coach at Northwestern State while Ard spent the last two seasons as Rigby's assistant coach at Pensacola State. Both played for Rigby at Loranger High School in Louisiana and each won a State Championship under her direction.
"I'm very excited about having some of my former players come to Troy to help me accomplish the goals we have set here," said Rigby. "Both Coach Ard and Coach Graf helped me win championships as players and we plan to continue that here at Troy."
Jennifer Graf (Northwestern State, 2000)
Jennifer Graf comes to Troy as an assistant coach after spending the last eight seasons as the head coach at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La. Graf has spent the last 16 seasons overall with the Lady Demons, including four years as a player and four as an assistant coach.
Graf was named the Lady Demon's head coach on Sept. 1, 2004, becoming the youngest NCAA Division I head coach at the age of 26. In her eight seasons at the helm of the Northwestern State program, Graf posted a 106-131 career record, giving her the third most wins in program history.
She led her first team as head coach to a 17-12 record, a third place finish in the Southland Conference standings and a berth in the Southland Tournament semifinals. Graf sent two more teams to the tournament semifinals during her eight-year tenure.
In Graf's eight seasons at the helm of the Lady Demons, 24 of her 25 seniors received their degrees, including 2005 Southland Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Amanda Bennett. Graf also coached the LSWA Louisiana Newcomer of the Year last season, Jordi James.
During her time at Northwestern State, the Lady Demons produced 19 All-Southland selections and 15 All-Louisiana selections overall, including two Southland Conference Freshmen of the Year, Chassidy Jones and Demetria White.
Prior to being named the Lady Demons' head coach, Graf spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Lady Demons posting an 86-32 mark over those four years. In her final season as an assistant coach (2003-04), Northwestern State went 24-7, winning the Southland Regular Season and Tournament Championships, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Graf was also a four-year letterwinner for the Lady Demons at guard from 1996-2000. As a player, Graf played in 110 games for Northwestern State, winning 74, starting 48 times, including 30 games in her senior season. She was an All-Conference selection her senior season, a three-time Academic All-Southland Conference selection and won the Fellowship of Christian Athletes "Lady Demon of the Year" award as a senior.
The Lady Demons won over 20 games in both her junior and senior seasons, including a Southland Conference Championship and a WNIT appearance during her junior year in 1998-99.
A native of Loranger, La., Graf led Loranger High School to a State Championship her senior season and was named the Louisiana Class 2A Most Valuable Player under the direction of current Troy head coach Chanda Rigby.
Graf earned her Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from Northwestern State University in 2000. She received her Master's of Education in Sports Administration from Northwestern State in 2002.
Kayla Ard (Southeastern Louisiana, 2006)
Kayla Ard comes to Troy as an assistant coach after filling the same role at Pensacola State College for two seasons. Both of Ard's seasons at Pensacola State came with current Troy head Chanda Rigby at the helm, and both ended in the trips to National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Final Four.
In 2010-11, Ard helped the Pirates to an undefeated (32-0) regular season that included 20 consecutive weeks at No.1 in the national polls. The Pirates followed that up in 2011-12 with the first back-to-back state titles and Final Four appearances in school history.
Ard served as the Pirates recruiting coordinator in both seasons, signing three eventual WBCA All-Americans while her players earned a total of 13 All-Panhandle Conference selections. Each team finished in the nation's top 10 in scoring while multiple players moved on to Division I scholarships in the Big East, SEC, Pac-12, Sun Belt and Colonial Athletic conferences.
A native of Hammond, La., Ard was highly recruited out of Loranger High School after averaging over 26.0 points a game, achieving All-District three consecutive years and leading her team to three final four appearances, including a State Championship in 2000 under the direction of Rigby.
Ard's collegiate career began on the junior college level at Chipola Junior College. After playing one season there, she transferred to Southeastern Louisiana where she played from 2004 to 2006, including an All-Southland Conference selection in 2005.
She began her coaching career with AAU powerhouse Domino's Basketball out of New Orleans, La., where she was an assistant coach for three seasons, including a seventh place finish in the National Tournament.
Ard spent one season as a coach at Hammond High School in Louisiana and one summer as the head coach of the Hammond Tornadoes AAU organization.
After coaching in Hammond, La., Ard was chosen to perform the lead role in a national Gatorade Commercial, titled "Toll", as an all-star basketball player, which aired from 2008-2009.
Ard earned her Bachelor's degree in General Studies from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2006 with concentrations in applied behavioral science and psychology. She is also on track to receive her Master's degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix in December 2012.