Union has added two new assistant coaches to women’s athletics, hiring Lauren Avant as the assistant women’s basketball coach and Brooke Thomas as the assistant softball coach.
Avant is a 2014 graduate of Rhodes College (Tenn.) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a pre-medicine concentration.
During her freshman year, Avant played NCAA Division I basketball at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. due to injury.
While this is Avant’s first full-time assistant coaching job, she has coached and assisted with several middle and high school club basketball programs in Memphis. She has also worked in the Memphis area with strength and conditioning programs to help train athletes.
In her current position as assistant coach, Avant’s duties include assisting head coach, Mark Campbell in practice and on game days. Avant is also responsible for organizing travel, recruiting and scouting.
“Lauren is very gifted in leadership,” Campbell said. “There are very few 22-year-olds that can be put into leadership so young and be seen both as an authority figure and apart of the team.”
Campbell added, “We are very fortunate to have her.”
Avant works closely with the athletes in their preseason and postseason individual development. She says she also tries to assist the girls mentally, academically, socially and spiritually.
Avant says that she is grateful for the opportunity to serve this program, department and university. “I am extremely blessed to live out my dreams everyday with such wonderful people,” Avant said.
Union women’s athletics also welcomed Brooke Thomas, a recent Union alumnus.
Thomas is a 2013 Union graduate with a degree in athletic training. In August 2013 she began the accelerated nursing program at Union and plans to graduate in December of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.
This is also Thomas’ first coaching position. She began her softball career at Union as a catcher before transitioning to pitcher.
“I finished out my softball career as pitcher here at Union,” Thomas said. “It was by far one of the best experiences that I have had and I am proud that I have the opportunity be apart of the program again.”
Thomas’ position will require her to work with the team’s pitching staff and catchers. She will also be responsible for assisting with recruitment.
“During this experience I have already learned so much that I didn’t realize while I was playing,” Thomas said. “I hope to continue to gain more knowledge about the game from a coaching perspective.”
Thomas said she has enjoyed the time spent at Union over the last few years and is excited to take on this new position.
“It is a blessing to be apart of such a great community,” Thomas said.
After completion of her nursing degree, Thomas plans to pursue a Master’s in Health Administration and would like to continue school to get her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.