MALIBU, Calif. — Pepperdine women’s basketball head coach Ryan Weisenberg has hired former WNBA star DeLisha Milton-Jones as an assistant coach on the Waves’ staff.
The Riceboro native comes to Pepperdine after a decorated professional playing career, which she wrapped up with her 17th season in the WNBA last year. She joins Josh Pace and Darron Larsen as assistants on the Waves’ bench.
“We are really excited to add coach DeLisha to the Pepperdine family,” Weisenberg said. “She brings an infectious enthusiasm and her work ethic is second to none. Her experience as a two-time WNBA champion and her Olympic success is going to benefit our players both on and off the court. DeLisha is the type of strong woman we want leading our student-athletes into the future.”
The WNBA legend, who will be in her first season as a collegiate coach, has won two Olympic gold medals and set the WNBA career record for games played last season with 499. She was drafted into the league in 1999 after playing one year in the ABL. Milton-Jones also ended her career with the ninth most points scored in WNBA history, compiling 5,571 points during her nearly two decades in the league. She left the WNBA with the sixth most rebounds (2,574), fifth most steals (619) and 15th most blocks (339).
She was named to three WNBA All-Star teams and helped the Los Angeles Sparks win back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. It was with those championship squads in Los Angeles that Weisenberg and Milton-Jones first connected, as the now Pepperdine head coach was on staff with the Sparks from 2000 to 2005. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds over her 17-season WNBA career.
“Taking the position as assistant coach here at Pepperdine is an honor that gives me great pleasure,” said Milton-Jones. “I look forward to the opportunities for success that are ahead of us as a program. Coach Weisenberg and his staff are a unique group of coaches that have had success all across the globe. I am very excited to add to the excellence that is already within this program.”
Milton-Jones also played a host of games with the United States national team, winning her gold medals at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. She also won a pair of FIBA World Championships with Team USA (1998 and 2002) and a 2007 Tournament of the America’s title.
Prior to her professional play, Milton-Jones posted a brilliant collegiate career at Florida, winning 1997 SEC Player of the Year as a senior and taking home the Wade Trophy as the top player in the nation that season. She was a first-team All-American and a two-time All-SEC honoree, leading the Gators to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
Milton-Jones also played overseas, competing in Russia, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey and South Korea. She is a two-time Euro League champion and ranked third for most points scored in Euro League history. Milton-Jones played 16 years abroad, in which she was named the best foreign player twice and league MVP for numerous countries.
“The same tenacity I played with as a player and the leadership I displayed while playing are the main characteristics of excellence I want to bring with me to Pepperdine,” said Milton-Jones. “I have an intense love of the game that I truly want to become contagious within this program.”
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Roland.