Palmer replaces longtime coach Lynne Agee, who retired in March after 30 years at the helm for the Spartans.
“We are pleased that Wendy Palmer has accepted our offer to be the women’s basketball coach at UNCG,” said Kim Record, director of athletics. “She brings an exciting blend of experience, both as a college and professional player and as a coach in the CAA, SEC and ACC. Having grown up in the state of North Carolina, she is familiar with the Southern Conference and UNCG’s history and has a vision for continuing our tradition of excellence in women’s basketball.”
Palmer, a Timberlake, N.C., native, comes to UNCG after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater.
“This position is a tremendous opportunity, and I am thrilled that Chancellor (Linda) Brady and Kim Record have chosen me to lead the women’s basketball program,” Palmer said. “I am happy to come back home and am honored to be a part of such a rich legacy of excellence in academics and women’s basketball. This is an extraordinary opportunity with unique challenges; I bring my passion, experience, knowledge and energy to help the Spartans compete for championships. My staff and I will work hard and smart to make the UNCG family proud on and off the court.”
While on staff at Virginia, Palmer helped recruit and sign a class ranked in the top 15 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz and coached All-American and national Defensive Player of the Year Monica Wright. During Palmer’s tenure on the sidelines, Virginia made one NCAA appearance and a WNIT quarterfinals appearance.
Palmer was an assistant for two years at Kentucky prior to returning to Virginia. There, she coached All-American Victoria Dunlap, who was taken 11th in the recent WNBA Draft.
While still playing professionally, Palmer began her coaching career at Virginia Commonwealth. In her two years there, Palmer coached 2006 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year Quanitra Hollingsworth and Krystal Vaughn, who both went on to play professionally in the WNBA and in Europe.
Palmer enjoyed outstanding playing careers on both the professional and amateur levels. A WNBA All-Star for the Detroit Shock in 2001, Palmer was also the WNBA’s Co-Most Improved Player with the Connecticut Sun in 2004. She was selected in the 1997 Elite Draft by the Utah Starzz in preparation for the WNBA’s inaugural year of competition and was a second-team All-WNBA selection that season after being traded to the Shock. Palmer also played for the Orlando Miracle, San Antonio Stars and Seattle Storm in her WNBA career. The Shock’s Community Relations Player Representative from 1999-2001, Palmer was the recipient of the Black Legends of Professional Basketball John Isaacs Service Award.
Palmer also played professionally in Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, Italy and Russia, earning another all-star bid in Italy.
On the collegiate level, Palmer was a two-time Kodak All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year for the Cavaliers, earning those honors in 1995 and 1996. A three-time All-ACC selection, she is still the Cavs’ career rebounding leader and is fourth on Virginia’s all-time scoring list. Palmer was the first woman in school history and just the second player overall to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds at Virginia. Cavalier legend Ralph Sampson was the other.
“UNCG hit a home run with the selection of Wendy Palmer to lead their women’s basketball program,” said Ryan, who mentored Palmer as a player and again as a member of her staff. “Wendy comes to Greensboro with a wealth of experiences at every level of the game. Her team will be hard-working, fundamentally sound and fun to watch. Wendy will put Greensboro in the hunt for championships quickly as she helps each player develop to reach her potential both on and off the court. It’s an exciting time for the UNCG program. Wendy is the ultimate professional who will communicate effectively with players from a broad range of backgrounds. Her love for the game will be infectious and generate great enthusiasm for the entire university.”
Palmer is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association.
She will assume her duties on Thursday.
By Phil Perry