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TRACK & FIELD
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Kai Felton became one of the newest members of the Oregon women’s basketball coaching staff when she was hired on April 14, 2009, by head coach Paul Westhead.
Felton spends the majority of her time recruiting in California, helping bringing in Ariel Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) and Deanna Weaver (Santa Clara, Calif.), as part of the Ducks’ 2010, five-member recruiting class which also included Ashley Buis, Danielle Love and Chynna Miley.
In addition to her tireless recruiting efforts, Felton works with Oregon’s backcourt.
The Ducks, who doubled their win total during just one year while working with Westhead and his staff during 2009-10 season, were spurred by their three-guard backcourt. Senior guards Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks led the Ducks averaging 17.7 and 14.2 points per game, respectively, and were named to the Pac-10 All-Conference team. Sophomore point guard Nia Jackson averaged 10.5 points, and a team-leading 3.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
Lilley went on to sign a free agent contract with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, while Cocks is playing professionally in Poland.
“Kai has a lot of recruiting experience and her familiarity with the Pac-10 Conference as well as players on the west coast will be a huge asset for the program,” Westhead said at the time of her hire. “She is a young coach and will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the program both on and off the court.”
Felton is a familiar face out of the Pac-10 Conference, spending five years as an assistant coach at the University of Southern California. She had a hand in recruiting seven McDonald’s All-Americans in her five years with the Women of Troy, including the nation’s top recruiting class according to USA Today and the All-Star Girls Report in 2006. That class included the 2006 co-National Player of the Year, Jacki Gemelos.
On the basketball court, Felton helped develop USC’s guards, including Camille LeNoir, an All-Pac-10 second team and Pac-10 All-Tournament team selection, as well as the 2008-09 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Briana Gilbreath. Felton also worked with Shay Murphy, a first team Pac-10 selection and 15th overall pick in the WNBA draft in 2007.
During her five seasons at USC, the Women of Troy compiled a 90-64 record and finished in the top half of the conference in each of those seasons. USC advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament twice (2005 & 2006) and most recently played in the Pac-10 Tournament championship game for the first time in program history.
Felton also supervised the program’s academic progress during her tenure, recording the program’s highest GPA in the Spring of 2007.
Before joining USC, Felton spent one season at Pepperdine University, helping the Waves earn an invitation to the WNIT with a 17-12 record.
Felton also served as a volunteer assistant coach at California Polytechnic University, Ponoma (2002-03) and worked as an assistant coach (2000-02) at Springfield College (Springfield, Mass.) At Springfield, Felton was with the Pride as the program advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2002 NCAA Division III Women’s basketball Tournament. Springfield compiled a 49-9 record and claimed two NEWMAC conference championships during her time on the coaching staff, while helping develop conference players of the year in Kelly Thompson (2001) and Becky Kanupka (2002).
As a player, Felton was a standout guard at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Va. During her four years, she set nine school records, including most career three-pointers (216), most three-pointers in a season (66) and most career assists (325). She finished her career ranked No. 3 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,147 points.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2000 from Randolph-Macon and later attained her master’s in physical education/athletic administration from Springfield in 2002.