Lobo WBB Announces Staff Changes
ALBQUERQUE, N.M.— The University of New Mexico women’s basketball staff will have familiar faces on the bench heading into the 2021-22 season after some reshuffling of positions as well as the addition of a former Lobo.
Kabrina Merriweather has been promoted to assistant coach, Ryan Freeman has moved over to special assistant to the head coach and Nike McClure has been hired as the director of player development.
“Kabrina and Ryan earned well-deserved promotions and are ready for this next step,” commented UNM head coach Mike Bradbury. “When we hired Kabrina, it was with the mindset that one day she would be coaching, and that has day has come. It was same thing with Ryan. He wants to be a coach, and that was what we had in mind with this move. He is now going through the proper steps where he will be successful when he becomes a coach.
“Nike was a natural fit for anything that has to do with the players and player development. Her personality and enthusiasm are infectious for everybody that she’s around and it’s great that we were able to get her to come back.”
Merriweather and Freeman transition to new roles with Lobos
Merriweather previously held the role of director of operations during the 2020-21 season in her initial season with the Lobos. In her role, Merriweather played a vital part in the ever-changing season, handling the logistics, including travel for the team.
“I am so grateful and honored to be serving UNM Women’s Basketball for another season, now as an assistant coach,” Merriweather stated. “Coach Bradbury has given me the opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait to get started with this staff and these young ladies working toward more successes.”
Merriweather brings eight years of professional experience around basketball to her new role with the Lobos, including serving as a coach for AAU powerhouse The Family Inc. in her native Indianapolis, Ind.
In addition, prior to joining the Lobos, Merriweather was a teacher and basketball coach at Tindley High School in Indianapolis for four years. During her time there, she was responsible for developing practice itineraries and training sessions, recording and analyzing statistics and handling the breakdown of film.
Beyond her experience on the bench, Merriweather played collegiately at Florida A&M University and Georgia Southwestern State University.
As a former forward in college, Merriweather will work primarily with the post players.
Merriweather earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education in 2015, and is the sister of current Memphis women’s basketball head coach, Katrina Merriweather.
On the staff going on four years, Freeman previously held the role of video coordinator and will transition into being special assistant to the head coach, overseeing the day-to-day logistics of Lobo basketball.
“I am incredibly excited to start my new role with Coach Bradbury’s staff here at UNM,” Freeman said. “Growing up in New Mexico, it was beyond my wildest dreams that I would be able to do what I love every day here at The Pit.
“I know that this is the best opportunity for an aspiring coach like myself to continue to learn and develop.”
Before he was the video coordinator, Freeman served as a graduate assistant for the team, working with the video coordinator and director of basketball operations. Freeman also created content for social media and recruiting purposes and cut and edited film from games and practices.
Former Lobo returns to bench
Although the newest member of the coaching staff, McClure will have plenty of knowledge and experience to pass on to current and future Lobos both as a former player under Bradbury and as the new director of player development.
“Coming back to Albuquerque was a no-brainer,” McClure stated. “I am feeling humbled to join a staff with individuals who have the basketball minds of juggernauts. Having played for Mike Bradbury two years ago, I have a strong sense of loyalty to him and this program.
“Now I will take much pride in becoming a custodian of this institution. I hope to serve this team well while sharing and growing my knowledge of the game. I cannot wait to see familiar faces in The Pit… there is no place like home.”
Well known to Lobo fans, McClure was named to the Mountain West All-Defensive Team during the 2018-19 season after leading the conference with 67 blocked shots and an average of 2.2 a game, while adding 6.8 rebounds per game. McClure’s 67 blocks ranks fifth all-time in single-season blocks at UNM.
Furthermore, McClure accounted for nine of UNM’s 14 team blocks against Oklahoma on Nov. 28, 2018, with the 14 tying the second-highest total in program history. McClure’s nine blocks ranked third all-time in single-game blocks for an individual.
After graduating from UNM, McClure went on to play overseas in Portugal for CAB Madeira as well as the Anorthosis Basketball Club in Cyprus, where she averaged 16.3 ppg, 17.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.2 spg, 2.3 bpg.
Bradbury enters his sixth season, with the Lobos coming off of a Mountain West regular season championship, the first outright in program history and the first regular season title since the 2004-05 season. In addition to Freeman, McClure and Merriweather, the Lobo coaching staff is rounded out by assistant coaches Symone Denham and Valerie King, who are entering their fifth and sixth seasons on the bench, respectively.