All-time UNC great Ivory Latta joins Tar Heel coaching staff

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 08:44 PM

North Carolina’s all-time leading women’s basketball scorer is rejoining the program.

Ivory Latta, who scored 2,285 points from 2003-07, will be UNC’s next assistant coach, the team announced Friday.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ivory back,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said in a statement. “She was one of the most popular players we’ve ever had and I am sure that fans will be excited to see her back in Carmichael. As a professional in the WNBA and overseas, she has only expanded her knowledge of the game and I think she will be a great asset as both a coach and a recruiter.”

Latta, who is averaging 15.5 points and 4.2 assists a game for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, will continue her professional career. Charlotte Smith, who is now the head coach at Elon, also played in the WNBA while serving as an assistant coach at UNC.

“This is the perfect next step for me to prepare for life after my playing career is over, and it will be an honor to join Coach Hatchell and her amazing staff,” Latta said. “The chance to help give back some of what was given to me when I was a player is an incredible opportunity and I feel truly blessed.”

The McConnells, S.C. native was UNC’s first three-time all-America selection and the second Tar Heel to earn consensus National Player of the Year honors, following Smith. Latta is the only player to win three straight ACC Tournament MVP awards and she led the Tar Heels to their last Final Four appearances, in ’06 and ’07.

Besides having the most career points, Latta also holds UNC’s career records for 3-point percentage (.389) and free throw percentage (.840), and her 345 3-pointers are the most in ACC history.

Latta is replacing Trisha Stafford-Odom, who came over from Duke in 2011. In May, Stafford-Odom was named the head coach at Concordia University Irvine, an NAIA school close to Stafford-Odom’s hometown of Los Angles.

Hatchell’s other two assistants are recruiting director Tracey Williams-Johnson, who has spent 14 years at UNC, and associate head coach Andrew Calder, who has been on Hatchell’s staff since she was hired in 1986.