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Charleston Southern names Clarisse Garcia Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Charleston Southern hired Auburn assistant Clarisse Garcia as the new women's head coach on...
Charleston Southern hired Auburn assistant Clarisse Garcia as the new women's head coach on Monday(Charleston Southern Athletics)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced Clarisse Garcia has been named the new head women’s basketball coach on Monday afternoon.

Garcia becomes the 16th head women’s basketball coach in program history. She takes over the Buccaneers after coaching stops at Auburn, Wake Forest, Alabama, Palm Beach Atlantic, and Stetson.

“I am very excited to welcome Clarisse Garcia to lead our women’s basketball program,” Barber said. “Her head coaching experience, along with her experience as a player at Villanova and coaching at three Power 5 schools, are important ingredients in building our program to the Championship level. Coach Garcia embraces the mission of our university and understands the importance of relational coaching. This is a big day for Charleston Southern University and the young women that participate in our basketball program now as well as though who will in the future.””

Garcia comes to the Buccaneers after spending the last five seasons at Auburn University, including serving as the program’s interim head coach following the 2020-21 season. Over her time with the Tigers, Auburn advanced to the NCAA tournament twice while multiple players garnered national and conference recognition.

Garcia looks forward to making her mark on the CSU women’s basketball program and appreciates the opportunity and vision provided at Charleston Southern.

“The moment I stepped foot on campus, I immediately felt aligned at my core to the faith focus in both University President Dr. Dondi Costin’s mantra of ‘with God’s help, the best is yet to come’ and Athletics Director Jeff Barber’s emphasis on doing little things every day to lead and serve in excellence,” Garcia said. “I am sincerely grateful to both of these visionary men, as well as the entire search committee, for choosing me to lead this exceptional group of young ladies with passion and intentionality.”

She continued, “I do believe the best is on the horizon for this program with the way we will recruit to compete for championships on the court, as well as care deeply off the court about our academic success, personal faith growth, and community involvement. I am excited to get started and meet our CSU family and Buc Nation!”

Garcia spent five seasons (2016-21) with the Auburn women’s basketball team serving as the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator among other duties. Over her tenure at Auburn, the Tigers posted two top-25 recruiting classes according to espnW HoopGurlz (No. 13 in 2018, No. 25 in 2019), while 11 players received conference postseason accolades.

Garcia’s first season at Auburn saw the Tigers advance to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 17-15 overall record. Her second season saw Auburn finish with a 14-15 overall record, but she was instrumental in landing the nation’s No. 12-ranked recruiting class that enrolled at Auburn for the 2018-19 school year. The 2018-19 season saw the Tigers return to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons while posting a 22-10 overall record (9-7 SEC), the best finish for Auburn in a decade.

Prior to her time at Auburn, she spent four seasons as an assistant at Wake Forest. At Wake Forest, Garcia’s teams steadily improved, going from a 13-win season in her first year to a 17-win season in 2016 that resulted in a berth in the Women’s NIT, the best finish for the Demon Deacons since 2012.

She served as an assistant at Alabama for one year, spending the 2011-12 season on the bench. During her time Alabama, she was primarily responsible for recruiting, player development, the elite camp and scouting.

Prior to Alabama, she was the head coach at NCAA Division II Palm Beach Atlantic for two seasons. Under Garcia’s watch, Sailfish student-athletes set several program bests including the all-time three-point scoring leader and single-season three-point scoring leader, the all-time leading rebounder, and the all-time blocking leader. She also had two student-athletes named to the Independent Collegiate Athletic Association (ICAA) second team and another two named to the All-ICAA third team.

In addition to their success on the court, Garcia’s teams excelled in the classroom as she oversaw an increase in the team’s overall GPA from below a 3.0 to 3.2. Throughout her tenure, she had two student-athletes with 4.0 GPAs, attaining President’s List status, two qualifying for the Provost’s List (3.5-3.9) and six on the Athletics Director’s List (3.0-3.4).

Prior to Palm Beach Atlantic, Garcia spent one season as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Stetson University. While there, she recruited and signed a nationally-ranked student-athlete and helped coach the team to an appearance in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.

Garcia began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa. In her two seasons with the Griffins, she assisted in the mentoring and development of student-athletes both on and off the court.

In her final season at Seton Hill, Garcia helped coach the team to a fourth-place finish in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WVIAC) Conference tournament, in addition to helping the Griffins rank third nationally for team GPA in NCAA Division II. Garcia was named the 2009 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association/Women’s Sports Foundation graduate assistant of the year.

Garcia was an accomplished player at Villanova University. During her four-year career (2003-07) with the Wildcats women’s basketball team, she was a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic team member as well as a three-time member of the Villanova dean’s list. She served as team captain her senior season and helped the Wildcats advance to the NCAA Tournament in 2004, as well as the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in 2005 and 2006.

A native of Hopewell, Pa., Garcia also has been involved in several camps and clinics including the Prohoops Camp at the Final Four, Leadership Through Basketball Camps in Morocco, University of Pittsburgh Summer Camps, Harry Perretta Basketball Clinics, Nike Basketball Camps and the Philadelphia Big 5 Clinics.