» 2010 MAC Coach of the Year
» 142-139 at Akron (.504)
» 368-292 Overall (.557, 23 Seasons)
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The longest tenured women's basketball head coach in the Mid-American Conference, Jodi Kest returns for her 11th year leading The University of Akron women's basketball program. The all-time winningest coach in program history, she is back on the sidelines after guiding the Zips to their third-consecutive 20-win season during the 2014-15 campaign, a feat never before accomplished in the 41-year history of the program.
Kest has amassed nearly 370 victories in her coaching career, highlighted by registering at least 22 wins in back-to-back-to-back campaigns. She has guided Akron to three consecutive postseason berths (NCAA 2014, WNIT 2013 and 2015) and four overall postseason appearances in the last six years.
Under Kest's tutelage, Akron has become well-known for its uptempo style of play and has established itself as one of the top-scoring teams in the country. Kest's squad was ranked 27th nationally in scoring offense averaging 74.4 points per game. Her 2014-15 team also rated in the top 50 nationally in assists per game (19th - 16.4), assist/turnover ratio (31st - 1.10), field goal percentage (40th - .435), rebounding margin (41st - +5.5) and winning percentage (48th - .710).
Led by Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Sina King, Akron finished the 2014-15 campaign with a 22-9 ledger en route to a second-place finish in the MAC Eastern Division at 12-6. The Zips garnered their third-consecutive postseason berth being selected to participate in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where Akron traveled to Manhattan, Kan., to square off against Kansas State.
The Zips got off to the best start in program history at 10-0 en route to establishing school records for most regular season victories (22), home wins (13), best winning percentage (.710) as well as individual-game marks for most triples in a game with 13 at Central Michigan, and most combined points with 203 in a 102-101 victory at Toledo.
King became only the second Zips' player to be named the Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year, joining Rachel Tecca, who won the honor in 2013, with her selection as the league's top player in 2015. She led the conference in scoring (20.3) and rebounding (9.3) and scored in double figures all 31 games last season en route to posting a league-best 16 double-doubles.
Additionally, King named an honorable mention All-American by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) marking the second-straight year that Akron has had a player earn honorable mention All-America accolades by the WBCA. She joined Tecca (2013-14), Cheryl Bowles (1999-2000) and Pam Arnold (1986-87) as Zips who have been honored as earned honorable mention All-America recipients during their distinguished Akron careers.
Four players received all-conference accolades during the 2014-15 campaign as King was tabbed as first-team selection, junior Anita Brown and sophomore Hannah Plybon were tabbed second- and third-team selections, respectively. Freshman Kerri McMahan was recognized as an all-freshman team recipient.
Brown turned in the sixth-best single-season scoring average in program history a year ago scoring 18.8 points per contest, while Plybon connected on a school-record 97 three pointers.
The Zips turned in arguably the best season in program history during the 2013-14 campaign, earning Akron's first-ever MAC championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. Kest was named as the Ohio Coach of the Year in 2014 for her team's efforts. The Zips ranked 11th in the nation in scoring offense after averaging 82.0 points per game.
The third-seeded Zips won their first MAC Tournament title in 2014 defeating fifth-seeded Ball State, 79-68, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The victory gave Akron the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, which was Kest's first appearance on the national stage as a Division I head coach. The Zips would eventually fall on the road at Purdue in their first round game, closing out a historic season for the Blue and Gold.
The season also featured a school-record 13-game winning streak from Jan. 18 to March 5, 2014. During the last week of the regular season, it was one of 10 active double-digit winning streaks in Division I. UA shot 45.8 percent from the field and outscored its opponents by an average of 16.5 points per game during that span.
Kest has produced four of the most decorated players in Akron women's basketball history in Hanna Luburgh (2010-14), Kara Murphy (2008-11), Rachel Tecca (2009-14) and King (2010-15).
Murphy, Kest's first ever recruit at Akron, was the program's all-time leading scorer until Tecca broke her former teammate's record in 2013. Tecca was Akron's first ever MAC Player of the Year as a redshirt junior, was also a two-time Academic All-American, and the 2014 MAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. She became just the second player in MAC history to surpass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Luburgh set Akron's single-season scoring record during her senior season with 734 points. Together, Tecca and Luburgh were the highest scoring duo in the nation as seniors, and the pair went on to play professionally overseas in Iceland and Poland, respectively. King capped her career with 888 rebounds and 1,634 points, the third- and fourth-highest totals in program history, while playing in 124 career games.
Akron captured its first MAC East Division crown and made its first appearance in the conference championship game in 2013, after Kest led the team to win nine out of its last 10 regular season games. UA went on to earn an invitation to the WNIT for the first time since 1999. Akron finished the season as the seventh-highest scoring team in the nation (75.4 ppg) en route to breaking more than 10 school records as a team.
Three of Kest's starting five were all-conference performers, including Tecca (first team), Sina King (third team) and Luburgh (third team). Kest also mentored junior point guard Kacie Cassell, the 2013 national leader in assists per game.
Following the milestone season, Kest was rewarded with a five-year contract extension that will keep her at Akron through the 2017-18 season.
During her nine seasons, Kest has seen 18 of her student-athletes earn All-MAC recognition, eight make the All-Freshman Team, two earn Sixth Player of the Year honors, and two named Player of the Year and WBCA All-Region. Additionally, she has coached 17 Academic All-MAC selections, including a record three in 2012-13 as Tecca, King and Luburgh all earned the distinction.
In 2011, she coached two All-MAC selections in King and Taylor Ruper. Ruper enjoyed a lights-out year from behind the arc, becoming Akron's all-time leader in 3-pointers made. Ruper would finish her career in 2013 with a school record 269 3-pointers.
Four Zips received conference honors for their play during the 2010-11 campaign. Tecca highlighted the group, as she became just the third player in program history at the time to make the All-MAC First Team. Murphy, Akron's lone senior that year, earned Honorable Mention honors to join Cheryl Bowles (1998-01) as the only two Zips to garner all-conference recognition all four years of their career.
Akron placed a representative on the All-Freshman Team for the sixth-straight season in Carly Young in 2011. Also, junior Jasmine Mushington was named Co-Sixth Player of the Year. Keeping it in the Zips family, Tecca was the recipient of the award in 2009-10.
Kest, who arrived on the campus of UA in 2006, has successfully turned the women's basketball program around and continues to lead her team to unprecedented heights. She has guided the Zips to 46 victories over the last two seasons after the team won just 24 games in the six years combined prior to her arrival in Akron.
In 2010, Kest became the first UA women's coach to receive Coach of the Year accolades from the MAC and just the second Akron basketball coach (men's or women's) at the time to do so, following Dan Hipsher, who was presented the award for the men's team in 1997-98.
Kest enjoyed an impressive inaugural campaign in 2006-07 that saw the Zips double their win total from the previous year, experience their longest winning streak since 1996 and place two players on All Mid-American Conference postseason teams. A one-point victory over Lehigh in December of '06 jump started a six-game win streak for the Zips en route to their first double-digit win season since 1999-2000.
Prior to coming to Akron, Kest guided the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi program to a 73-40 (.646) record (16-12 in 2005-06) in four years, tallying a winning mark in each season and being named Independent Coach of the Year three times (2003, '04 and '05). Also, under Kest's tutelage, guard Terra Andrews was named Division I Independent Player of the year in three consecutive seasons from 2003-06. With the Islanders, Kest posted the 200th win of her career and left the school with the most wins in program history.
The highlight of her tenure came during the 2004-05 campaign when the Islanders won a school-record 23 games (23-7), and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. The team received votes in the top 25 poll that season as well. From 2004-2006, TAMU-CC defeated such teams as Indiana, West Virginia, Nevada, Fresno State and Kent State.
Kest served as head coach at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., for six seasons (1996-97 through 2001-02) prior to her stop in Corpus Christi. During that time, she developed a two-time Division II All-American, 10 all-conference players, a pair of freshmen of the year and five all-defensive first team honorees.
In 2001-02, the Golden Knights won the GLIAC South championship, advanced to the Division II national tournament and were ranked as high as sixth in the nation. Overall, Kest built a 105-64 (.621) mark with the Golden Knights, and guided the program to three-consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearances and three-straight 20-win seasons.
Under Kest's leadership, Gannon center Kristin Roseberry developed into one of the best players in the nation, earning All-American honors in 2000 and 2001. Roseberry was named GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 1999 before guard Jen Gwin earned that distinction in 2002. Kest left the school with the most victories in program history.
Kest cut her teeth as a head coach at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., from 1986-1990 (48-49/.494), rebuilding the struggling Division III program. After posting a 17-29 combined mark in her first two years at the helm, the 1988-89 campaign brought major improvements as the team qualified for the Middle Atlantic Conference playoffs for the first time in program history with a 16-10 record. She was tabbed as the league's coach of the year that season.
The ninth head coach in Akron program history, Kest served as an assistant coach at a number of Division I schools, logging time at Maine (1990-92), Cleveland State (1992-93), Nevada (1993-95) and Cal Poly (1995-96).
A 1984 graduate of Slippery Rock, with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, Kest was a two-sport standout in basketball and tennis. The three-time basketball team captain garnered All-American honors on the hardwood her final two seasons.
She led the "Rock" in scoring in three successive seasons, averaging 13.6 points in 1981-82; 17.8 points in 1982-83, and 19.8 points in 1983-84. She finished her collegiate career with 1,289 points and 540 rebounds, and was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 1986, she received a master of science in education from Northwest Missouri State, where she served as graduate assistant coach from 1984-86.