As just the fourth Texas Women's Basketball head coach in program history, Karen Aston returns to the institution where she originally carved her reputation as an energetic leader and relentless recruiter.
Aston, an eight-year assistant to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt, was instrumental in the Longhorns' trip to the 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four and a pair of "Sweet 16" appearances in 2002 and 2004.
She comes back to the Longhorns now with five years of experience reviving the women's basketball programs at Charlotte and the University of North Texas.
Aston tripled the Mean Green's victory total in one season, as UNT went 15-16 during the 2011-12 season under her direction after winning just five games the previous year. At Charlotte, Aston led the program to record-breaking heights, with 86 victories in four seasons, including a school-record 27 wins in 2010-11.
Aston led the 49ers to four-straight postseason appearances and the 2009 Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship en route to the school's second ever NCAA Tournament appearance. In her final season at Charlotte, Aston's squad advanced to the WNIT Final Four.
While on Conradt's Texas staff from 1998-2006, Aston saw the Longhorns post a 173-83 (.676) record during that span, with seven NCAA Tournament appearances, two trips to the "Sweet 16" and a march to the 2003 Final Four. The Longhorns also captured the 2003 Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, and UT shared the 2004 Big 12 regular season title. Aston was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach in July of 2000 after serving as UT's assistant coach for two seasons.
Aston spearheaded UT's signing of 25 nationally-recognized recruits, including seven McDonald's High School All-Americans and seven WBCA/Nike All-Americans. Two of those high school All-Americans - Tiffany Jackson and Erika Arriaran - were named National High School Players of the Year. All eight of the recruiting classes Aston attracted were nationally ranked, including the No. 1 class in the nation in 2005-06.
Aston originally came to Austin from the University of North Texas, where she served as an assistant coach for two seasons (1996-98). Prior to joining the North Texas staff, Aston was an assistant coach at Baylor for two seasons (1994-96).
Following Aston's stint on the Forty Acres, she was named associate head coach at Baylor during the 2006-07 season. With Aston on board, the Lady Bears won 26 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Aston was recognized as one of the top high school women's coaches in the south. She coached five years at Vilonia High School (1988-93) in Vilonia, Ark., and one year at Fort Smith Northside (1993-94) in Fort Smith, Ark. She guided Fort Smith Northside to a 24-10 record and a fifth-place finish in Class 4A. For her efforts, she was named the Arkansas Northwest Region Coach of the Year.
While at Vilonia, Aston was not only the head basketball coach but also the head cross country and track coach. In 1992-93, she was named the Arkansas Basketball Coach of the Year after leading Vilonia to a 36-1 record and a Class 2A State Championship. Aston's cross country teams also claimed back-to-back state titles in 1991 and 1992.
A native of Benton, Ark., Aston was a two-time first-team all-state selection at Bryant High School. She capped her high school career by leading Bryant to the 1982 Arkansas Class 4A State Championship. Aston earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in physical education from Arkansas-Little Rock in 1987. She played two seasons of basketball at UALR after transferring from Ouachita Baptist.