Finnie first Scot to coach US college basketball

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FORMER Edinburgh Council sports development officer and Scottish national basketball team coach Donna Finnie has made basketball history by being appointed as Head Coach to an American first division college in Texas.

Finnie, a former pupil of St Augustine’s High and graduate of Heriot-Watt University, has been named as Head Coach of Houston Baptist University women’s basketball team, the HBU Huskies, who are an NCAA division one college team.

Finnie is believed to be not just the first Scot, male or female, to be made a head coach in USA college basketball, but also the first Briton and she has reached this position after only three years in Houston where she was previously the Huskies top assistant coach and recruitment co-ordinator. Announcing the appointment, the HBU Director of Athletics Steve Moniaci said: “Getting to know Donna over the last three years, I’m convinced she is the right person to lead our women’s basketball programme.”

The Huskies, who have Scot Erin McGarrachan on their books, reached the semi-finals of the Great Western Conference last season, but are now entering a new, stronger conference and with 12 players back – including all five starters – they have high hopes for their new challenge.

“I’m honoured and thankful to be able to work with this wonderful group of young women who have high goals,” said Finnie.

Finnie enjoyed success as national coach in Scotland for several women’s age group teams and, as well as being the first female Scottish coach to win a FIBA tournament, won consecutive FIBA tournaments in 2005 and 2006 with the cadette and junior women’s teams.