Former UTEP women’s basketball coach says deciding to leave was hard

Coach Keitha Adams stands with former UTEP women's basketball players.

After making a life-changing decision, former University of Texas in El Paso women’s basketball coach Keitha Adams is now speaking out about how hard it was to decide to leave the Sun City.

“The first day was a hurricane, the second day was a tornado, and the third day was a dust bowl,” Adams said after making the decision to leave UTEP to coach in Wichita State University. “It’s been fast and furious.”

Adams has coached at UTEP for 16 years and will now take over the head coaching position at Wichita State.

“I have memories and moments here that I’m going to cherish, always,” an emotional Adams said while standing on the court at the Don Haskins Center. “I probably cried more than when I got divorced, or when a parent drops off their firstborn child at college.”

Adams said it was a tough decision for her.

“I think coach Haskins would say ‘Let’s have a shot of tequila and talk about this,’” Adams said.

One of the reasons Adams took the position at Wichita State is because she said it reminds her of UTEP.

“Well it’s where I grew up,” Adams said. “There’s some similarities like here. Great basketball, tradition and history. Going there is a basketball school as well.”

Now, Adams has been reflecting on the past.

“The first year – that was one for the record books for sure,” Adams said about her first year coaching at UTEP 16 years ago. “I’m just really proud of how we grew the program and got better. It took us awhile.”

Adams said she will never forget UTEP, and what it has done for her.

“I have two homes,” Adams said. “How many people can say they have two homes? Really El Paso became my home. But now I’m going back to my original home where things started for me.”

Adams has been with UTEP for 16 years and built the program into a perennial mid-major powerhouse. Under Adams, the Miners made two NCAA Tournament appearances and two deep runs in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The program had never been to the postseason before Adams arrived. She is also a three-time CUSA Coach of the Year.

Adams is a Kansas native and has held several coaching jobs there. Wichita State is about a half-hour drive from where she grew-up.

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