North Texas is bringing back one of its former assistant coaches to take over its struggling women's basketball program.
Karen Aston, who took Charlotte to the postseason in each of her four years as the head coach at the school, will take over in the same capacity at UNT, sources with knowledge of the situation said Monday.
Aston will be formally introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference tomorrow.
The Arkansas-Little Rock graduate will replace Shanice Stephens, who was fired after her third season on March 17.
Taking over at UNT will bring Aston back to her roots in Texas, where she spent 13 years as an assistant coach at UNT, Texas and Baylor before becoming the head coach at Charlotte. Aston is a native of Benton, Ark., and named a desire to move closer to home as one of the reasons she decided to resign from Charlotte.
"I loved my time spent here, and have some everlasting memories of Charlotte," Aston said when she left the school. "I simply found it was time to pursue other opportunities, and more importantly, get closer to family."
Aston took the 49ers to the postseason in each of her four seasons at the school. Charlotte advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT this season and played in the NCAA tournament in 2009.
Aston worked as an assistant coach at Baylor from 1994-96 and then worked at UNT from 1996-98 under Tina Slinker, the winningest coach in program history.
Aston helped recruit Jalie Mitchell and Rosalyn Reades, who led UNT to the WNIT in 2001 and 2002. Both players were later inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.
Aston went on to work as an assistant coach at Texas from 1998-2006 and served as Jody Conradt's associate head coach in her last six seasons at the school.
The 49ers had been to the postseason in five straight years before Aston arrived, including consecutive trips to the WNIT under Amanda Butler, who left for Florida after just two seasons at the school.
Aston will face a much tougher challenge at UNT, which has suffered through five straight losing seasons.
UNT's season win total has dropped in each of the last three years. The Mean Green finished 5-25 in its final season under Stephens, who posted a 25-67 record at UNT.
The Mean Green lost its only All-Sun Belt Conference selection from last season's team in Denetra Kellum, a third-team pick, who averaged 15.6 points a game.
Kellum was the only senior on UNT's roster, which could leave Aston little room to maneuver in terms of adding players. Jasmine Godbolt is expected to be the Mean Green's top returning player.
The former Sun Belt Freshman of the Year averaged 13.2 points and 7.9 rebounds a game as a sophomore last season.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.