(04/30/2007)
Drury University, Springfield Missouri, has named Steve Harold, the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year last season at Glenville State, as the new head coach of the Lady Panthers' basketball program, school officials announced Friday.

Harold, 42, had a 262-107 record in 12 seasons at Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia. That includes a 33-3 mark - the best mark in school history - and an NCAA-II Elite Eight appearance this past season, when the Lady Pioneers fell to UC San Diego in the quarterfinals to complete their sixth straight NCAA Tournament trip.

Harold's Lady Pioneers were a combined 63-6 the last two seasons and have posted 20 wins or more in each of the past eight seasons, winning West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 to go with three WVIAC tournament titles.

Harold will begin his duties immediately with the Lady Panthers, who finished 25-9 last season and also advanced to the NCAA-II Elite Eight. "In this business, Drury is the premiere job in the country in my opinion," Harold said Friday. "It's a wonderful opportunity. I couldn't be more excited about coming to Drury and getting the chance to work with a wonderful group of girls.

"On my (interview) visit there, it just felt right with all the great people there ... and I just have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. (Edsel) Matthews. I knew after Monday night's visit, Drury is where I wanted to be."

Harold replaces Nyla Milleson, who resigned after posting a 185-36 record in seven seasons at DU to accept the head coaching position at NCAA Division I Missouri State.

Harold said he and Milleson had become coaching friends of the years through their work on several national committees with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

"I have tremendous respect for Nyla Milleson and what she's done to build the program at Drury," Harold said. "I understand the standard she has set, and I hope to continue what she's done and maybe elevate the program even more."

Drury athletic director Dr. Edsel Matthews said Harold was chosen from a group of applicants that exceeded 50 in number.

"We believe Steve Harold is the perfect choice to carry on and build upon the great tradition that has become Lady Panthers basketball," Matthews said.

"We had a tremendous field of applicants from a variety of levels to choose from. But Steve's combination of experience and success at the Division II level, his personality, and his passion for developing a winning program set him apart from the rest.

"He had a great visit with our girls when he was here and really bonded with the Drury community."

In addition to NCAA-II East Region titles won in 2002 and 2007, Harold's Glenville State squad was a regional runner-up in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

His '01-02 squad finished 29-4 and reached the D-II national semifinals for the first time in school history. The Lady Pioneers also have finished no worse than No. 14 in the final USA Today/ESPN WBCA NCAA II national poll in five of the past six seasons, coming in at No. 6 in 2006-07.

Harold's Lady Pioneer teams also finished annually among the WVIAC's best in overall grade point average. He also served as athletic director at Glenville State, his alma mater.

Harold resigned both positions last week, citing his belief that the time had come for a new challenge.

"This has been home ... I grew up here, and it's been a wonderful experience for me," Harold said. "I can't say enough about Glenville and the opportunity it afforded me. We had tremendous success, but like anything, I look at this as an opportunity to further my career."

Among his many accomplishments, his Lady Pioneers put together a 64-game home winning streak from 1999-2004, third longest in D-II history. Harold also has had 31 players named to all-conference teams and has coached four NCAA-II All-America selections.

In addition to claiming the WBCA's national Coach of the Year honor this past season, he's been the East Region Coach of the Year the past two years and the WVIAC Coach of the Year three times.

He regularly serves as a guest speaker at several local, regional and national coaching conventions and clinics, his past topics at recent WBCA national conventions ranging from "Controlling Parental Involvement In Your Basketball Program" to "Scouting From Video Tape" to "Developing The Post Player."

Harold describes his preferred style of play as "a motion offense with a plethora of set plays, a lot of screens, and we like to play up-tempo offensively. Defensively, we'll play a real aggressive, in-your-face, man-to-man defense."

The Glenville native received his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Business Education in 1987 from Glenville State and his Masters of Science Degree in Physical Education and Health from Radford University in 1990.

He began his coaching career as an assistant to the men's basketball team at GSC before moving to the women's side as an assistant in 1993. He was promoted to head women's basketball coach in March of 1995. Harold also spent three years as the men's track and field coach at Glenville State, reviving the program to win three league titles (1992, 1993 and 1995) and earning the conference coach of the year distinction each time.

Harold and wife Renee have two daughters - 14-year-old Katie and nine-year-old Allie. He said the family will move to the Springfield area at the conclusion of their school year in Glenville, W. Va. Meanwhile, Harold said he was seeking avenues to get to the Drury campus immediately and go to work on building his first Lady Panthers' squad and preparing for summer camps afterward.

"At Glenville, we talked about wanting to compete for national championships," Harold said. "I believe at Drury, if you do your job right, you'll have that opportunity each and every year."

Harold will inherit a Lady Panther squad that lost just one senior off the Elite Eight qualifier, but also has dropped two more players since the end of the season.

Sophomore forward Lauren Gregory made a decision a few weeks ago to transfer, and sophomore guard Greta Wiersch will effectively retire from college basketball after numerous injuries over the course of her career have made it difficult to continue without risking further physical damage.

Harold plans to be in attendance at the Lady Panthers' Basketball Banquet, set for May 6 at the Findlay Student Center on the DU campus.


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