LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – New Mexico State announced Jody Adams-Birch as its new women’s basketball head coach on Thursday, making her the 12th coach in program history.

Adams-Birch was officially introduced in a ceremony Friday morning in Las Cruces.

“I am so excited and grateful to be the next leader of the New Mexico St women’s basketball program. To be wanted, needed and surrounded by people of excellence is a dream come true for me,” Adams-Birch said in a statement on Thursday.

A 27-year coaching veteran, Adams-Birch comes to Las Cruces after spending the last four seasons as an assistant at Southern Illinois. As a head coach, she is best known as the winningest coach in Wichita State history (161-115) and in nine seasons led the Shockers to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances from 2013-15.

However, the end of her time at Wichita State was marred in controversy. Adams-Birch parted ways with the university in January, 2017, just days after a pair of players left the team and the university had suspended her.

The 2017 incident was the second time Adams-Birch was met with issues at Wichita State. In 2015, four players transferred and Adams-Birch was accused of being mentally and physically abusive. After an investigation, she was allowed to keep her job, with a few program changes. Adams-Birch received $250,000 in her separation agreement with the school, as well as $23,748 in unused paid leave. 

Despite those issues at Wichita State, Adams-Birch has won wherever she has gone. In addition to her success at Wichita State, she also spent one season as a head coach at Murray State, going 24-8 and leading the Racers to an NCAA Tournament berth.

As an assistant coach, she’s had stops at Auburn, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Kansas City, Derby High School and two separate stops at Southern Illinois, the first of which coincided with NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia from 2004-2007.

“I have seen her up close at Southern Illinois and Wichita State and I know she will bring an incredible hunger to win, and I can’t wait for her to start her tenure in Las Cruces,” Moccia said.

Her time at Wichita State also coincided with Chris Jans and Greg Heiar’s tenures as assistants with the Shockers’ men’s basketball programs.

“The connection Jody had in Wichita with both our current and former head men’s basketball coaches was exceptionally strong,” Moccia continued. “Chris Jans and Greg Heiar could not say enough about how good of a coach they feel she is.”

As a player, Adams-Birch played for the late, legendary Pat Summitt at Tennessee from 1990-1993. She was the starting point guard for the Volunteers’ 1991 NCAA National Championship team.

“I know I was not the author of this plan but so very grateful to be at my dream job here at New Mexico State,” Adams-Birch added. “I would like to thank Chancellor Arvizu & Athletic Director Mario Moccia for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity to empower young women of our future and help guide them through the culture we will build of winning ways.

“My heart is wrapped around us becoming family, owning the moment & the passion for growth. With this heart-driven mindset I know, this is a great start in winning the Aggie way – in the classroom, on the court and in our community. I can truly say on this day my heart is filled with joy to be an Aggie and for Las Cruces to be called our home.”