New women’s coach to change program’s trajectory

Karen Aston and Dr. Lisa Campos pose for a photo during Aston’s introductory press conference on Friday, April 2. Aston takes over as the 10th head coach in the ‘Runners’ history.

Eddie Sanchez, Staff Writer

After four years with head coach Kristen Holt at the helm, the UTSA women’s basketball team did not see a winning season. The team concluded the 2021 season with a 2-18 overall record and zero conference game wins (0-14), the first time in UTSA history where they did not win a single conference game.

On Tuesday, March 16, UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Lisa Campos announced that Holt’s contract would not be renewed. UTSA announced Monday, March 29, that they had found their 10th head coach in program history. Karen Aston will enter the program with high expectations and much to fix. However, her resume speaks for itself and looks to be ready for all challenges. The 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year brings a winning tradition shown in her career record of 285-146 [.661].

Campos stated, “Karen is a winner with a proven record of success. Her breadth of experience and ability to connect with students will position UTSA women’s basketball to compete at a high level.”

With Aston being the second-winningest coach in Texas history, averaging close to 25 wins a season, Aston appears to be prepared to change the trajectory of the program.

“I am beyond thrilled to be the coach at UTSA,” Aston stated. “I’m so excited to get back on the floor and help this program grow and to engage with the San Antonio community.”

Aston set forth some of her immediate goals for the program, “My first goal is to create an atmosphere that people want to be a part of… I want to create an environment and a culture that first of all these current players can thrive in and then people want to be a part of.”

She gave heavy credit to Dr. Campos as a driving factor in bringing her to San Antonio. “UTSA jumped forward very quickly with me in being the place where I wanted to coach next because of her vision and not only her vision for women’s basketball, but her vision for UTSA Athletics in general.”

Aston brings a familiarity of the Conference USA landscape from her coaching resume. In her early head coaching career 2007-11, Aston completed four seasons with the Charlotte 49ers, and she led the team to four consecutive postseason appearances and the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Final Four her last year with the team.

Aston then coached the University of North Texas Mean Green for one year in 2011, where she changed a 5-25 team into a 15-16 team.

Her most notable head coaching job was with the University of Texas, where Aston spent eight seasons with the Longhorns (2012-20). During her time in Austin, Aston kept a winning culture with a 184-83 (.689) record during her extensive time there. She made four consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance.

Aston is set for the long term at UTSA as her contract runs for six years with an annual base salary of $250,000 with the addition of a supplemental payment of $100,000 per year based on media and public appearances.