Fahey announces Malone, Kirkland, Cochran as assistant coaches


Photo courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Illinois Women’s head basketball coach Nancy Fahey retained two assistants under former head coach Matt Bollant. Fahey also brought along an assistant from her previous head coaching job at Washington University.

By Tatiania Perry, Assistant sports editor

Illinois women’s basketball head coach, Nancy Fahey has hired her assistants two weeks after being hired.

Lakale Malone and Tianna Kirkland will retain their positions as assistant coaches for Illinois. The two have been with the team for five seasons.

Steve Cochran will join Fahey from Washington University.

“Our staff has a great combination of coaching experience and expertise,” Fahey said in a press release.

Malone has 18 years of coaching experience, 15 of those in Power Five conferences.

Malone has primarily worked with guards in her time with the Illini. In her first year, she helped the team to a No. 5 national ranking in steals per game.

Malone lead the team to break the school record for three-pointers made in four of five of her seasons as well as ranking them among the top three-point shooting teams in the country.

Prior to Illinois, Malone worked as an assistant coach at Texas, helping the Longhorns bring in multiple top-25 signing classes including four McDonald’s All-Americans. She helped Texas advance to five NCAA tournament appearances.

Malone also served as an assistant coach at Nebraska from 2003 to 2007, helping take the Huskers to four postseason appearances.

Kirkland has been the program’s recruiting coordinator for  six seasons. She has helped bring in top-25 classes for the Illini, including two high school All-Americans.

In the past three seasons, Illinois has had an All-Big Ten Freshman honoree, further highlighting Kirkland’s recruiting skills.

Before Illinois, Kirkland spent five years at Michigan, where she also helped in recruiting. She worked as an assistant coach with Eastern Michigan and Butler University, too.

“Coach Malone and Coach Kirkland’s coaching abilities at the Division I level are the best in the business,” Fahey said in press release. “Their familiarity with the Illini program is a big plus; I am glad to have them on board. Coach Cochran and I have worked closely with each other for several years; he is an outstanding post and game coach.”

With 20 years of coaching experience, including four as a head coach, the St. Louis native will be a welcomed addition to the staff.

Cochran has been all over the country, making stops at Maryville University where he helped the team receive a NCAA tournament bid. He has head coaching experience at Jefferson College and Concordia University Texas until he landed at Washington University, coaching under Fahey.

“I am excited about the coaching team we have brought together,” Fahey said in a press release.

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