ECU set to introduce Kim McNeill as new women’s coach

ECU Pirates

 Kim McNeill, who led Hartford to consecutive America East Conference Championship Game appearances and three-straight winning seasons, has agreed to contract terms to become head women’s basketball coach at East Carolina University according to an announcement Thursday by director of athletics Jon Gilbert.

McNeill’s appointment is subject to final approval by the ECU Board of Trustees.

The Bassett, Va., native owns a 59-38 (.608) record in three seasons directing the Hawks, producing a winning record in all three campaigns. McNeill will follow Heather Macy as the 10th head coach in program history and will directly succeed interim coaches Chad Killinger and Nicole Mealing, who guided the Pirates through the recently completed 2018-19 campaign.

McNeill will be introduced to the public at a press conference at 3 p.m., Friday on Barnhill Court inside the Smith-Williams Center.

Coming off a successful three-year tenure at Hartford, McNeill led the Hawks back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. The Hawks made history when they became the first-ever No. 6 seed to reach the America East title contest in 2018 before returning as finalists in 2019. McNeill’s last game on the Hartford bench was a first-round setback to Providence in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Defense has been a hallmark for McNeill’s teams as the 2018-19 Hawks finished the year second in the NCAA in steals per game (13.0), turnovers forced (24.5) and turnover margin (9.35). It was the third-straight season that UHART had ranked in the top-10 in both steals and turnover margin.

Offensively, McNeill helped rewrite the school record books. In each of her final two seasons, the Hawks dished out more than 400 assists including a school-record 441 in 2017-18. Its 66.8 scoring average topped all America East squads in 2016-17 and set a new program standard. In addition, Hartford led the America East in three-point shooting percentage (.345) and had the fewest turnovers in program history during McNeill’s debut campaign. 

McNeill mentored 12 America East All-Conference selections, including 2018 America East Scholar-Athlete Lindsey Abed and 2017 Rookie-of-the-Year Sierra DaCosta.

Prior to accepting the Hawks’ top women’s basketball position, McNeill spent 16 seasons as an assistant coach at the Division I level. She distinguished herself as an effective and successful recruiter and coach while working in some of the NCAA’s top conferences, including the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Atlantic-10.

McNeill came to Hartford after spending five seasons on Joanna Boyle’s staff at the University of Virginia, starting as an assistant coach before being elevated to associate head coach in 2013. She helped pilot the program to three WNIT appearances, including back-to-back berth in 2014-15 and 2015-6. The Cavaliers posted a 90-71 record during her five-year stint, which included the program’s first 25-win season since 1999-00 (in 2011-12).

Virginia was the third stop in which McNeill had worked alongside Boyle, having previously served as an assistant on her staff at the University of Richmond (2004-05) and at the University of California (2005-07). Prior to rejoining Boyle’s staff at Virginia, she spent four seasons under Andy Landers at the University of Georgia from 2007 to 2011.

McNeill started her career at James Madison where she worked for three overall seasons (2000-01 and 2002-04). Between the two stints at JMU, she served as an assistant at Howard University for one year.

McNeill was a three-year letterwinner and co-captain at Richmond, where she received her bachelor’s degree in sport science in 2000.

On the court, she was named to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Defensive Team as a senior. Prior to transferring to Richmond, she earned 1996 Big South Conference Rookie-of-the-Year honors at Radford.

McNeill and her husband, Cory McNeill, are the parents of twins, Cayden and Gabrielle.

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