A New Tiger on Campus: Who is Katrina Merriweather? | Online features
The University of Memphis women’s basketball team has a new head coach. Seeking to turn the tide of past seasons, Katrina Merriweather is here to change the culture.
Merriweather grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she began her basketball career. She continued to play college at the University of Cincinnati, before realizing she wanted to become a varsity coach in her sophomore year.
“I have never had a bad coach. I’ve never had a trainer yell at me. I feel like it contributed to my experience as an athlete, and then I wanted to share that with other young women, ”said Merriweather.
She thanks her father for inspiring her to become a coach. But it wasn’t just her father who inspired her, other coaches and mentors have helped her along the way.
“I stand on the shoulders of hundreds of people. There isn’t one in particular that I feel like I’ve been really touched by. I feel like I’m taking a bit of everyone I’ve watched or seen, ”Merriweather said.
After serving as Wright State’s assistant from 2010 to 2016, she was promoted to Head Coach on April 19, 2016. Over the next several years, Merriweather was named Horizon League Coach of the Year three times. She gives these awards to the Wright State administration. The players also felt comfortable with the coaching staff and felt there was a supportive environment that cared about the athletes as individuals and students.
“We created an environment for these players where we were united and a family. We were ready to take the trip together and cross a wall for each other, ”said Merriweather.
After spending time at Wright State as a head coach until 2021, she was named the head coach of the University of Memphis women’s basketball team. With her, Merriweather brought a different style of training to the team.
“The leadership of the servants. We try to be the example. I am not very bossy. I believe when people know you believe in them, that’s when they realize their maximum potential, ”said Merriweather.
When she accepted the job, he came with her challenges. She entered a program that has a mix of returning players and players who have followed her through the Wright State transfer portal.
“This process will not happen overnight. The players are very coachable. But it’s up to (the players) to make this year as smooth as possible with a new coaching staff, (since) some players haven’t come to Memphis to play for the original squad, ”Merriweather said.
Behind the performances of Jemirah Shutes, Alana Davis and Madison Griggs, Merriweather has inherited a group of talented seniors. The veteran group have decided to end their eligibility as Tigers and are delighted with the new coaching staff.
“I think all the staff came optimistic for the season. As the team won just four games last season, they’ve been very positive and ready to work every day, ”said fifth-year player Alana Davis.
Two players have followed Merriweather to Memphis from Wright State. Emani Jefferson appreciates the family environment Merriweather has created at Wright State, which makes the decision to transfer easier for her.
“(Merriweather) made us feel like we were family. It was just comfortable, ”Jefferson said.