WNBAs Rhyne Howard, First-Round Draft Pick, Joins Florida’s Coaching Staff

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida women’s basketball program has made a major addition to its coaching staff for the 2023-24 season. Rhyne Howard, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, has joined the team as an assistant coach and director of player personnel. With ties to Florida dating back to her mother’s time at the University of Florida, Rhyne Howard’s presence brings a new level of expertise and experience to the program.

Having recently completed her WNBA season with the Atlanta Dream, Howard will be working with the Gators during the WNBA off-season. Her transition from professional player to coach offers the Gators a unique opportunity to learn from a successful pro player who has competed in their conference.

Head coach Kelly Rae Finley is excited about the addition, stating, “It has always been important to me that we surround our student-athletes with people who can help equip them with the skills necessary to succeed as professionals on and off the court … Rhyne is humble, competitive, thoughtful, and driven … She is living many of our student-athlete’s dreams. Her knowledge of the game, combined with her ability to teach and connect with them on and off the court will elevate our program.”

Howard’s impressive record in the WNBA includes being named a WNBA All-Star, WNBA Kia Rookie of the Year, and Associated Press Rookie of the Year. She also holds the distinction of being the first rookie in WNBA history to record four blocks and four three-pointers in their debut.

Before her professional career, Howard enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, where she earned numerous accolades, including two-time SEC Player of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in 2022. Her collegiate achievements make her a valuable addition to the coaching staff at Florida.

Rhyne Howard’s connection to Florida goes beyond her coaching role. Her mother, Rhvonja (R.J.) Avery, was a standout player for the Gators in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Howard expressed her pride in joining the Gators, stating, “I know it’s making her proud, I know it’s making everyone who thought I was originally going to be a Florida Gator proud.” Her deep-rooted connection to the program further solidifies her impact as a coach.

With the addition of Rhyne Howard to the coaching staff, Florida women’s basketball is poised for success in the 2023-24 season. The team looks forward to the upcoming season with renewed energy and anticipation for what lies ahead.



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