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Courtesy: UTSA Athletics

Rippetoe-Blair announces addition of Johnson, promotion of Cowgill

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SAN ANTONIO — Head women’s basketball coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair announced Wednesday the addition of Deidra Johnson and the promotion of KC Cowgill as assistant coaches. Johnson will begin her duties immediately, while Cowgill assumes her new role on Aug. 1.

“I’m very excited to add Deidra to our program and promote KC,” said Rippetoe-Blair, who will enter her 13th season at UTSA this fall. “Both have excellent backgrounds and worked extremely hard to get to this point. There is no doubt in my mind that they will make our program better as we move forward.”

Johnson comes to UTSA after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Marshall, where she also served as the recruiting coordinator last season. In addition to her duties as recruiting coordinator in 2011-12, Johnson coached the guards and the group accounted for the top six scorers on the team. The unit also hit 32 percent of its 3-point attempts, which led Conference USA, and the group helped the Thundering Herd hold their opponents to just 56.1 points per game by averaging 10.5 steals per contest.

Johnson mentored the team’s post players in her first season, including Tynikki Crook, who was named second-team all-conference after leading the circuit in scoring at 16.2 ppg.

Prior to her time at Marshall, she spent a total of three seasons at the junior college level.

Before departing after a pair of seasons at Chipola (Fla.) College, Johnson signed the No. 3 recruiting class in the country and coached 10 players that earned Division I scholarships and three that went on to play professionally, including Latoya Williams, recently of the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars. She also coached guards and helped coordinate recruiting during the 2007-08 season at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

Johnson began her collegiate career at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she was named first-team All-NJCAA Region VI and first-team All-NJCAA Bi-State East. After graduating with an associate’s degree in 2002, she continued her playing career at Oklahoma State the next two seasons. The McNeil, Ark., native earned a spot on the Big XII Commissioner’s Honor Roll and National Dean’s List before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2004.

“I’m very excited to join UTSA's staff,” Johnson said. “I feel like the future of athletics is very bright here. I admire all the success that Coach Rippetoe-Blair has had at UTSA and that certainly helped make this an attractive position.”

Rippetoe-Blair and Johnson will be joined on the bench by Cowgill, who has spent the last three seasons on the Roadrunners staff as the director of operations.

She served as an assistant coach at Western Illinois during the 2008-09 season, where she worked with the guards and assisted with recruiting, scouting and team travel. Cowgill was instrumental in working with Amanda Walker, who earned honorable mention All-Summit League honors in 2009.

She previously was an assistant coach for two seasons (2006-08) at Centenary College after a stint as an assistant at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Mo.

Cowgill was a two-year letterwinner at Missouri State from 2003-05. The two-time team captain appeared in 65 games (12 starts) and was part of the Bears squad that won the 2005 Missouri Valley Conference Championship and the Women's National Invitational Tournament. She was tabbed 2004 Missouri Valley Newcomer of the Year after helping lead Missouri State to a regular season and tournament conference championship and an NCAA appearance.

Before joining the Bears, Cowgill played her first two collegiate seasons at Nebraska, where she was named team captain in 2001-02. She played in 47 contests, including 22 starts, for the Huskers. Cowgill scored 271 points and collected 109 rebounds in her two seasons.

A 2000 graduate of Grand Island Catholic Central High School, Cowgill excelled in three sports and was named Nebraska’s Athlete of the Year in 1999-2000. During that year, she was named to Nebraska’s Super State First Team in basketball and still stands as the state’s second all-time leading scorer (2,427 points).

“I’m thrilled to get back into coaching and hit the recruiting trail once again,” Cowgill said. “I’m also very grateful to Coach Rippetoe-Blair for this opportunity and I look forward to working with the student-athletes as we continue to improve our program.”

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