Lynn University Director of Athletics Devin Crosby has hit the ground running in his opening week on the job with his first major announcement of Julia Huddleston as the new head women’s basketball coach. Huddleston becomes the seventh women’s basketball head coach in school history and inherits a program which has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in two of the last five seasons.
“Julia has a national reputation as a relationship-based recruiter, a mentor of young women and possessing a highly intelligent basketball mind,” Crosby said. “Most importantly, Coach Huddleston represents our Lynn attributes of Spirit, Service and Strength. We are grateful to have Julia lead our women’s basketball program.”
The Fighting Knights are coming off a season in which they posted just a 7-18 overall record and 1-15 mark in Sunshine State Conference play. It was only three years ago, though, the Blue & White won the Sunshine State Conference regular season title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time.
“I would like to thank President Ross, Devin Crosby and the entire administration for believing in my ability to lead these young women. I am elated to represent Lynn University and return to my roots in the Sunshine State Conference,” Huddleston said. “The Lynn University athletic department has a rich history full of successful coaches, student-athletes and championship programs. It will be an honor to wear the Blue and White while competing alongside all of these amazing coaches and student-athletes. I am eager to get started and connect with the entire community of Boca Raton, our alumni and the Fighting Knights family.”
Huddleston arrives as a first-time head coach after having served on Jackie Carson’s staff at Furman University for the past five years. In her first year with the Paladins, she helped double a win total from a program which had only won seven games the previous season. Over the course of her time, Huddleston helped lead Furman to a 78-77 overall record and oversaw the development of Whitney Bunn, a 2015 All-Southern Conference First Team honoree who ranked fifth in the nation in assists among Division I players.
“The entire Furman Women’s Basketball family is extremely excited for Julia as she becomes the new head women’s basketball coach at Lynn University,” said Carson, who made Huddleston her first hire as head coach of the Paladins in 2010. “Julia is ready to lead Lynn to the top of their conference. I am extremely grateful for everything Julia has brought to our program. She was a great assistant and will be an even better head coach. Congratulations to Lynn for securing a rising star in our profession and first class coach and person. We will definitely miss her at Furman!”
Prior to her time with the Paladins, Huddleston spent seven seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as an assistant coach, coordinated recruiting and directed guard development, individual workouts and student-athlete conditioning.
During her tenure at VCU, Huddleston played a key role in the Rams’ ascent within the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). In her first season in Richmond, VCU posted a 14-14 mark and four years later registered a program record 26 wins (26-8) en route to the school’s first-ever postseason appearance and second round finish in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
The following year (2008-09) the Rams racked up a 26-7 campaign, including a 15-3 CAA slate, and made the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance via an at-large bid.
In her final year there VCU topped the 20-win mark for a third consecutive season, going 22-13 and advancing into the third round of the WNIT.
Prior to going to VCU, she worked the 2002-03 season as a graduate assistant coach at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., where she was part of a highly successful women’s program that went 27-4 and claimed both Ohio Valley regular season and tournament titles on the way to the NCAA Tournament.
She spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Georgia Metros AAU squad that finished third in the 2002 AAU national tournament after a fifth place finish the previous year. While there she helped tutor three AAU All-Americans.
A 2002 graduate of Eckerd (Fla.) College with a degree in human development, Huddleston served as captain of the Tritons’ women’s basketball team for three seasons and was the recipient of Eckerd’s National Student Athlete Day Award as a junior and Jim Harley Heart of Eckerd Athletics Award her senior year. She is tied for seventh in Tritons’ history for games played (107) and is ninth in assists (227) and helped Eckerd to a 16-win season as a junior, tying the school record for wins in a season.
The Atlanta, Ga., native also holds a M.S. in sports administration from Austin Peay.