ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone has announced the school has hired Waynesville native and Florida assistant coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick as the new head coach of the women's basketball program. She was introduced at an afternoon press conference at the Mountain Suites Room of Kimmel Arena at the Wilma Sherrill Center.
Kirkpatrick will join the Bulldog program after serving as an assistant to Amanda Butler at the University of Florida for the past five years. She has helped lead the Gator program to five consecutive post-season berths, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The former Tuscola HS standout succeeds Betsy Blose who was reassigned following the Bulldogs 7-23 season last year.
"I am extremely excited to welcome back Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick to Western North Carolina," declared Cone. "We believe Brenda is the perfect choice to lead the women's basketball program at UNC Asheville.
"When we began to look at the applicants for this position, we were determined to find a Champion in Athletics and a Leader in Life," added Cone. "Brenda fits our vision perfectly. She has been a champion both as a player and a coach and has coached at four outstanding institutions."
"Being entrusted with the head women's basketball position at UNC Asheville with the combination of stellar academics and successful athletics is such an honor. I am so grateful to Chancellor Ponder and Janet Cone for choosing me as the next leader of this program," stated Kirkpatrick. "I am also grateful to head coach Amanda Butler and my entire Florida family for helping me prepare for the work ahead.
"Returning to Western North Carolina after being away for 16 years is a very special moment for me," Kirkpatrick added. "Under Janet Cone's leadership and inspired by her energy, Asheville continues to make strides in all facets of its athletics programs. I am particularly impressed by the high-quality of student athletes that call UNC Asheville home and their outstanding graduation rate. It demonstrates a high level of commitment from the athletic department as well as the university to prepare our student-athletes for the next step in life after their athletic careers are completed.
"The city of Asheville is one of the most beautiful and unique places on the east coast, and I cannot wait to be a part of this community," she also said. "I look forward to working hard to return Asheville women's basketball to the top of the Big South, while making this program something this university, our athletic department and the entire city of Asheville will be very proud of."
Before going to Florida, Kirkpatrick worked at Charlotte for two years when Butler was the head coach of the program. During their two years together in Charlotte, the 49ers compiled 40 wins, captured a share of the 2006 Atlantic 10 regular-season championship and earned a pair of postseason berths.
Kirkpatrick broke into the coaching ranks for the 2002-03 season at Georgia Tech under then-head coach Agnus Berenato, helping the Yellow Jackets win 20 games and earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history. Berenato departed following that record-setting campaign for the University of Pittsburgh, while Kirkpatrick remained on staff in Atlanta for 2003-04 before heading to Jacksonville.
A successful collegiate playing tenure afforded Kirkpatrick the opportunity to play professionally in France for Nantes-Reze 44 during the 2001-02 season before launching her coaching career.
Kirkpatrick earned a bachelor's of arts in history and sociology in 2000 and a master of arts in education in 2001 from Wake Forest University. She enjoyed an outstanding career in Winston-Salem, where the two-time captain averaged 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest during her four-year career. As a senior in 2000-01, the six-foot forward garnered honorable mention All-ACC honors after contributing 10 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. During her time as a Demon Deacon, Kirkpatrick was a first-team academic all-district selection and a four-year member of the ACC Student-Athlete Honor Roll. Despite having to take a medical redshirt (ACL) for the 1996-97 season that delayed her collegiate debut, Kirkpatrick did not miss a game during her four-year career, appearing in all 111 contests and earning 57 starts.
The daughter of Weaver and Brenda Kirkpatrick, she is most often referred to as 'Coach Mock' or 'Mock,' which is her middle name, also her mother's maiden name.
A native of Waynesville, Mock graduated from Tuscola High School in 1996 as a decorated student and athlete. While maintaining a 4.2 grade point average, she lettered in softball and volleyball in addition to her stellar hoops career, where she was an honorable mention All-America selection by Street & Smith and USA Today in 1995 and 1996, while setting two state records for free throws: most in a game (25-of-25) and most consecutive (39), totaling 51 points in the game she hit 25 free throws. Kirkpatrick was the Asheville Citizen-Times Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons. She played for John Best at Tuscola in basketball.
What People Are Saying About Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick
"I'm so excited and proud for Brenda to have received this opportunity, she's earned it. For me personally, she added to my value as a head coach to have had an assistant like her. She worked very, very hard to recruit the type of student-athlete that Jeremy Foley and all of Gator Nation expects and did a fantastic job of developing those people into the type of players who compete and win at the highest level while doing so with a really high level of energy and integrity. I'm happy that her work has been noticed. UNC Asheville is getting a good one in Brenda."
Head Coach, University of Florida
"Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick is one of the top recruiters in the southeast! She is a tireless worker and a winner! Brenda is a bright young star in this profession and will be a great head coach."
Head Coach, Georgia Tech
"Intelligent, loyal, passionate, a motivator, a leader, a teacher, sincere, honest, team-oriented, and a tireless worker - these are just a few of the qualities the UNC Asheville community will come to know about their new women's basketball coach, Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. She had all those qualities, and more, as a student-athlete at Wake Forest University. Brenda is the right coach at the right time for UNC Asheville."
Brenda's college coach at Wake Forest and now the ACC Supervisor of Officials