Lady Bears hire Amaka Agugua-Hamilton as head coach

SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State University has selected Amaka Agugua-Hamilton to be its eighth head women’s basketball coach. Agugua-Hamilton will be formally introduced at a 3 p.m. press conference on Wednesday, April 17, in the Prime Overtime Club inside JQH Arena, and was unanimously approved by the Missouri State University Board of Governors early Wednesday morning after and an extensive national search.

The first African-American female head coach for any sport at Missouri State, Agugua-Hamilton, 36, is an 18-year veteran of Division I women’s basketball, including four seasons as a player at Hofstra and four coaching stops, most recently on the staff Michigan State for the past six seasons, the last four as Associate Head Coach.

“I am excited to welcome Coach Mox to Missouri State University and know she will build on the good work that has gone on before to create an even stronger women’s basketball program at the University,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “I commend Kyle Moats and the search committee for their good work.”

During an impressive six-year stint at Michigan State, Coach Mox helped the Spartans to four seasons with at least 21 wins, four NCAA Tournaments, one WNIT bid, and the 2014 Big Ten regular season title. She was integral in signing four consecutive top-35 recruiting classes, most recently the seventh-ranked group in the nation, and recruited and coached 26 all-conference players and a pair of top-10 WNBA draft choices. She also earned four victories as interim head coach in 2017, and aided the Spartans to an overall 125-72 record and 58-44 Big Ten mark in six years.

“Coach Mox has everything we were looking for in a coach,” said Kyle Moats, MSU’s director of athletics. “She is a player’s coach, detailed-oriented, disciplined, high integrity, community-oriented, and is completely invested in the student-athlete – wanting to make them great people first and great basketball players second.”

A native of Herndon, Va., Agugua-Hamilton is a 2005 graduate of Hofstra University, where she averaged 10.2 points and 6.0 rebounds over a 95-game career. She is the Pride’s career field goal percentage leader at .551, and graduated with the top three single-season field goal percentage marks in school history. A four-year team captain, she was a second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association pick in 2004, and helped Hofstra to a WNIT berth in 2006, the school’s first ever postseason appearance.

Prior to Michigan State, Agugua-Hamilton was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Old Dominion for two seasons, helping the Monarchs to an eight-win improvement and WNIT berth her second year in 2012-13. She recruited and coached eight all-CAA selections and one WNBA draft pick while at ODU.

Before her time at ODU, Agugua-Hamilton worked at Indiana for two seasons (2009-11) as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, and at Virginia Commonwealth for three years, as a graduate assistant (2006-07) and assistant coach (2007-09). She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from Hofstra in 2005 and received her master’s degree in sports leadership and administration from VCU in 2007.

Agugua-Hamilton married Billy Hamilton in 2017. The couple has a son, Eze, born in April 2018. She replaces Kellie Harper, who was hired as the head coach at her alma mater, Tennessee, following the 2018-19 season.

The Lady Bears lose only one senior from a 2018-19 squad that finished 25-10 overall, ranked 24th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in program history.

Agugua-Hamilton’s contract, which was also approved by the Board of Governors, is a five-year agreement through April 16, 2024, with a base salary of $240,000. Additional achievement incentives for NCAA and WNIT appearances, conference championships, coaching honors, attendance average and APR standards are also included in the agreement.