Hardin-Simmons athletic director John Neese has named Kendra Hassell as the 17th head coach of the women's basketball program.
Hassell comes to the Cowgirls from UT-Tyler, where she was the head coach for the past three seasons. She posted a 67-18 record in her three seasons and led the Patriots to the Elite Eight in 2016, when they went 30-2 and won the American Southwest Conference title. She was the ASC and South Region Coach of the Year in 2016.
She replaces Melanie Chonko, who was head coach of the Cowgirls for the past five seasons, posting a 44-83 career record. HSU was 6-20 this past season.
"I am excited and blessed to be back at Hardin-Simmons," said Hassell. "This university is special to me and helped form me into the person that I am today. I look forward to the opportunity and will work tirelessly to get our program back to being one of the top teams in the nation. Cowgirl basketball has a strong tradition and we are going to build on that."
Hassell has been a successful assistant coach since graduating from Hardin-Simmons. She was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State and had coaching stops at Forney High School, Charleston Southern, Fort Worth Paschal High School, Carroll and Abilene Christian.
The former Kendra Anderson is the most decorated player in the history of the Cowgirl program. She was a three-time American Southwest Conference player of the year, was given the Wade Trophy as the top player in Division III as a senior, was a two-time first-team D3hoops.com All-American and a two-time academic All-American and was named the Texas Woman of the Year by the NCAA in 2003.
She has been inducted into the American Southwest Conference, Big Country and Hardin-Simmons Athletic Hall of Fames. She was named to the D3hoops.com all-decade team. She was also a two-time ASC female athlete of the year.
As a player, she was a part of four teams that won American Southwest Conference titles and advanced to at least the Sweet 16 of four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. She helped lead the Cowgirls to a No. 1 national ranking for a good part of her senior season. The Cowgirls went 104-11 in her four years at HSU.
Hassell has a bachelor's degree in all-level physical education from HSU and she earned a master's degree in exercise science from Oklahoma State University.
Hassell is a native of Colorado City and she has a daughter, Kaylee.