Heather Kearney, who was recently named Western Carolina’s women’s basketball coach, has completed her staff with the additions of Tyler Smith as an assistant coach and Shyla Coleman as director of basketball operations.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work under Coach Heather Kearney,” Smith said. “Her legacy of creating championship cultures is special. Her vision for WCU athletics will be a driving factor for the success that is to come. I am so excited and blessed to be back in the mountains of North Carolina.”
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with Coach Kearney and the amazing staff she’s put together,” Coleman said. “I wholeheartedly believe in the vision she has for this program, and I am honored to embark on this journey with her. The university and its community has welcomed me with open arms, and I could not ask for a better place to be in this stage in my journey.”
Prior to coming to Western, Smith spent one season as an assistant at Queens after being on the staff for two years at Kansas Wesleyan, where she was responsible for the development of post players, overseeing team academic success, scouting opponents and recruiting. She also was head coach of the Kansas Wesleyan’s JV team and posted a 28-10 record.
“I am excited to welcome Tyler to our Catamount family,” Kearney said. “Tyler has a dynamic personality and is well connected on the recruiting scene in North and South Carolina, as well as the Maryland and Virginia area. She possesses the ability to relate to student-athletes and their families, which will be a huge benefit to us from a recruiting standpoint. She is excited about committing to the process of growing our WCU women’s basketball program, and we are so thankful to have her as part of our team.”
Smith played four years at UNC-Asheville and was part of the 2015-16 squad that won the Big South Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from UNC-A and a masters of business administration from Kansas Wesleyan.
Coleman spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Clemson and is scheduled to receive a masters degree in athletic leadership in August.
While a graduate assistant, Coleman coordinated recruiting visits, assisted in social media posts, organized team meals and assisted with travel plans. She also assisted the coaching staff in travel plans for recruiting, oversaw the team’s managers and assisted with team camp planning and organization.
She played four years at Southern Wesleyan and received her bachelor of science in biology in 2015.
“Shyla is one of the brightest and warmest people I have ever met,” Kearney said. “She comes to us from a well-respected Amanda Butler staff at Clemson. She will bring a different outlook and different perspective to our Catamount family. She has a diverse background, which will benefit both our staff and our student-athletes. Shyla is a high-character person with an unprecedented passion for our game and contagious positive energy that I look forward to being around day in and day out.”