A seven-time national champion as a player and coach, Vanderbilt named Shea Ralph the sixth head coach in women’s basketball history on April 13, 2021. Ralph took over after spending the previous 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Connecticut under Geno Auriemma from 2008 to 2021.
A 2001 graduate of UConn, Ralph helped guide the Huskies to 12 Final Four appearances while winning the national championship six times, including four consecutive titles from 2013-16. An instrumental figure in player development with the Huskies, she has tutored greats like Paige Bueckers, who became the first individual to ever win the Naismith Trophy, Associated Press Player of the Year, USBWA National Player of the Year, the Lieberman Award and the Wooden Award as a freshman after the 2020-21 season.
Ralph has also worked with 21 WNBA draft picks, including nine top-five picks and three No. 1 overall selections – Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart.
Prior to returning to UConn, Ralph spent five seasons at Pittsburgh from 2003-08. With the Panthers, she was key in the program’s unprecedented success, helping the Panthers go from single-digit wins to at least 22 victories each of her last three seasons while advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history in 2008.
As a student-athlete at UConn, Ralph finished her career with 1,678 points to rank eighth-best in UConn’s storied record book. She also graduated from UConn ranked among the program’s top-10 career leaders in assists (456), steals (252) and field goal percentage (.579).
Following the 1999-2000 season, Ralph earned All-America and BIG EAST Player of the Year honors while captaining UConn’s national championship. She was also named the recipient of the Honda Award – presented to the top female athlete in 12 collegiate sports – named as the Sports Illustrated for Women Player of the Year and was selected as the most valuable player at the 2000 NCAA Final Four.
After her collegiate career, Ralph was selected in the 2001 WNBA Draft by the Utah Starzz, but was unable to compete due to a knee injury.
Ralph and her husband, Tom Garrick, have one daughter, Maysen. Garrick has served as the head coach of the UMass Lowell women’s basketball program since 2018 and previously spent time at Vanderbilt as an assistant with the program from 2009-15.