Loyola University (Maryland) has hired Corin “Tiny” Adams, a former star for Morgan State’s women’s team who excelled as a professional overseas, as the second female assistant in Division I men’s basketball, coach Tavaras Hardy told ESPN on Thursday.
She joins Edniesha Curry, an assistant for Maine’s squad, as the only women to have that role in the Division I men’s ranks.
Adams, who holds the Morgan State record for career points, has been the video coordinator for her alma mater’s men’s program since 2017. She said she’s excited for the groundbreaking opportunity.
“I’m definitely humbled and grateful for the opportunity,” Adams told ESPN. “I’m having a hard time finding the right words.”
Hardy, the third-year head coach at Loyola (Md.), said he hired Adams because she’s “the right fit.” The New York native’s East Coast ties, Hardy said, will enhance the program on the recruiting trail in the Patriot League.
Hardy said Adams is a reflection of his vision of a diversified team. Ivo Simovic, another assistant with the program, is from Serbia.
Hardy said Adams will have the same responsibilities as the other coaches on his staff.
“As a coach, I never put any coach in a box,” Hardy said. “She’ll be asked to do everything.”
After her professional career overseas ended in 2017, Adams decided to pursue the coaching route.
She said her youthful years on the court were spent battling young men, so she’s always felt comfortable coaching and training them after playing in Puerto Rico, Portugal, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Sweden and the Czech Republic in her lengthy professional career.
Nicknamed “Tiny” by her varsity coach, who stopped practice to announce her arrival after she soared toward the end of a varsity tryout, opening doors isn’t foreign to Adams. Her book, “Tiny Setbacks, Major Comebacks: From Brooklyn to Europe,” highlights some of the challenges she’s endured throughout her career.
“I don’t know if I would call it pressure,” Adams said. “But I do feel a responsibility for doing what I need to do.”
Adams said she frequented clinics and reached out to others in the industry to network within coaching circles. At one clinic, she learned that coaches preferred handwritten notes over emails, so she started to attach notes to copies of her book whenever she would meet coaches.
Earlier this year, Hardy was cleaning out his home office when he found the copy of the book and the handwritten note Adams had given him during a previous meeting and decided to consider hiring her.
Hardy said he received only positive feedback about Adams from those who’d worked with her in the past.
Still, she is just the second female assistant in Division I men’s basketball. Prior to Thursday’s announcement, men’s college basketball had the same number of female assistants as it did 30 years ago when Rick Pitino made Bernadette Mattox the first female assistant in men’s college basketball history in 1990.
Earlier this year, Tamara Moore became the first female head coach of a men’s program at any level when she was hired at Mesabi Range College in Virginia, Minnesota.
Women still face an uphill battle within the ranks of both men’s and women’s college basketball when it comes to hiring. Nearly 40% percent of the head coaches in women’s college basketball are men.
“I think so much in this business, like everything in life, people tend to hire who they’re comfortable with,” Hardy said. “We as men have to get comfortable working with women.”
Adams said she’s focused on growing as a coach and contributing to a growing program under Hardy. Her dream is to become a head coach of a men’s program.
And she hopes her effort might lead to more history in a future where women’s coaches in men’s basketball are common.
“It’s about the comfortability level,” Adams said. “Once more and more people see that women are equally capable as men to coach basketball, then more schools will be willing to take that chance.”