Former players pick up new roles on women’s basketball staff
When Todd Buchanan was announced as the women’s head basketball coach, one of his plans was to have former players rejoin the team by working for the program.
With the addition of Chandi Jones and Brittany Mason — members of two of the greatest women’s basketball teams in UH history — to his support staff, Buchanan’s plan has now come to fruition.
After rejoining the team in 2011, both former players will move to different positions this season.
“To be honest, it’s a dream come true for me. That was my vision — that was my goal,” Buchanan said. “And for it to happen so soon really speaks volumes to where we were and where we’ve been and obviously where we are now.”
Buchanan served as the assistant head coach during Jones’s tenure at UH — so he saw her grow into a player who was named the Conference USA female athlete of the decade — and wanted her to return.
During a party for his selection as head coach, Buchanan expressed to Jones his interest in having her return to the program when she was done playing professional ball.
Jones, the leading scorer in UH women’s basketball history, operated as the team’s video coordinator for the 2011-2012 season. She now serves as the administrative coordinator.
She said she notices she is helping to make a difference in her position.
“I just look at it as far as just being able to be around the kids, the girls,” Jones said. “Just being around them and being a mentor for them and being there for them through their growing pains at a particular time in their life.”
Mason never left UH.
After garnering a bachelor’s degree in health in 2010 she enrolled in graduate school and became the team’s first graduate assistant.
She was the team’s graduate assistant during the 2011-12 season and its video coordinator for the 2012-13 season.
Mason, who competed in 119 career games and ranks ninth in the University’s record book for minutes played, was promoted to the director of operations after Rusty Laverentz took an assistant coaching position at Central Arkansas.
“I’m learning a lot. I want to learn, I’m eager to learn. As far as dreams go, I do want to get into the coaching world and be an assistant coach on the collegiate level and see how that works out for me.”
Outside of being good basketball players, Buchanan said Mason and Jones are also incredible women. They both understand his do’s and dont’s and his wants regarding how the game of basketball should be played. Buchanan said they serve as great mentors for the players and a great resource for them to look up to.
He had always hoped they would come back.
“I don’t know that words could speak loud enough of the assets that they’ve been and all the intangibles that they bring to our staff,” Buchanan said. “As you go through this and you’ve done this for as long as I’ve done it, you always have that magic couple of players that you hope and pray that they’ll get the opportunity, whether it be here or somewhere else so that they can do what they love and do what they’re going to be really good at.”