Brian Neal is the 7th Women's Basketball Head Coach in program history
Nov. 7, 2013
CINCINNATI - Xavier Director of Athletics Greg Christopher has named Brian Neal head coach of Xavier University's women's basketball team, making him the seventh head coach in program history. Neal had been operating as the interim head coach since Oct. 9, when former head coach Amy Waugh stepped down after a two-year tenure with the Musketeers.
"I am extremely excited and humbled to be the next women's basketball coach at Xavier," Neal said. "I am very proud to represent the Xavier Musketeers and we will work hard to return the program to national prominence. It is an awesome opportunity to coach for a program that is rich in both tradition and success. Xavier is a great academic institution and a very special place - from the moment you step foot on campus, you can feel the energy and excitement of X Nation. I want to thank Father Graham and Greg Christopher for giving me the opportunity to lead this program into the future. I look forward to working with everyone at XU in making our program grow."
Neal, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant with Xavier, will be in his first season as a Division I head coach when the Musketeers open the season on the road at Ohio on Nov. 10. Prior to joining Xavier, Neal was head coach of Thomas More's women's program for seven years. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Neal has also served as an assistant coach at NKU and Wilmington.
"This transition has made it clear Brian is the right person for Xavier Women's Basketball," said Christopher. "Brian is a winner with tremendous success as a head coach and his steady hand has been an important part of the rebuilding process. Our goal is to return Xavier Women's Basketball to national excellence. In conversations with a variety of people throughout women's basketball, it was clear we had the right leader already on staff. We're excited to let Brian and the team run hard toward building a BIG EAST championship caliber program."
Neal posted a 171-31 (.847) overall record in seven seasons at the helm of the Thomas More women's basketball program. He recorded six consecutive 20-win seasons at TMC and guided the Saints to five consecutive Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) championships. Neal is a four-time recipient of the PAC Coach of the Year Award (2006, 08, 10, 11) and was twice named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year (2008 and 11).
The Saints made five straight NCAA Championship appearances under Neal. During the 2010-11 season TMC earned the school's first-ever No. 1 ranking, posted program's second undefeated regular season in four years and advanced to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Division III Championship for the second time in three seasons and fourth overall. In March of 2011 Neal was named the Russell Athletics/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region Six Division III Coach of the Year.
Before taking over the reins at Thomas More, Neal was an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky University, his alma mater, for six seasons under head coach Nancy Winstel. While there, the Norse compiled a six-year win/loss record of 156-36 (.813), advancing to the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship each season with the school's first-ever national championship coming in 2000. NKU also made four appearances in the Elite Eight and two in the national championship game, with the last coming in 2003. In addition, the Norse also won four Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) regular-season titles and two GLVC tournament championships.
Prior to his stint at NKU, Neal began his coaching career with six seasons at the Division III level as an assistant at Wilmington College from 1992-98. With the Quakers, he was an assistant under head coach Jerry Scheve for a team that posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns in his final two seasons.
Neal graduated from Northern Kentucky University in May of 1991 with a bachelor's degree in journalism with an English minor. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in sport administration at Xavier.
Neal and his wife, Amy, reside in Taylor Mill, Ky., with their four children, Allison, Madison, Emma and Maxwell.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT NEAL:
"Brian is a winner with tremendous success as a head coach and his steady hand has been an important part of the rebuilding process. In conversations with leaders throughout women's basketball, it was clear we had the right leader already on staff. We're excited to let Brian and the team run hard toward building a BIG EAST championship caliber program."
- Greg Christopher, Xavier University Director of Athletics
"Brian is both a student of the game and an excellent teacher. He has been a successful head coach and he will do great things at Xavier."
- Karl Smesko, Florida Gulf Coast Women's Basketball Head Coach
"I'm just so happy and proud of Brian. He is definitely one of the good guys. He's put the time and work into this and definitely deserves this great opportunity. I personally think he will do a great job and Xavier is very fortunate to have him."
- Nancy Winstel, Former Northern Kentucky Women's Basketball Head Coach
- Brian Neal named as the seventh head coach in Xavier women's basketball history.