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New women's basketball coach named

April 22, 2003

The man who in two years turned a perennial losing Alabama-Huntsville program into a winner has been named new head womens basketball coach at Austin Peay.

Andy Blackston replaces Susie Gardner, who was named head coach at Arkansas after leading the Lady Govs to a 27-4 record and three straight NCAA tourney appearances.
April 22, 2003

The man who in two years turned a perennial losing Alabama-Huntsville program into a winner has been named new head women's basketball coach at Austin Peay.

Andy Blackston replaces Susie Gardner, who was named head coach at Arkansas after leading the Lady Govs to a 27-4 record and three straight NCAA tourney appearances.

"Obviously, it is an honor to be a part of, to be in charge of this program,” Blackston said. “They have accomplished some outstanding things. They have really set the standard. I am excited about accepting this challenge with the plan of building on what has been established. We want to keep this program on the national level, with the hopes of taking it even further.”

“Andy has all the qualities and characteristics we were looking for in a new women's basketball coach,” APSU Athletics Director Dave Loos said. “He has an excellent knowledge of the game. More importantly, I think he is a great teacher of the game of basketball. I also believe he will be a positive role model for our student-athletes.

"In addition, he has a proven recruiting success in our region, especially in the state. I think he will have a good rapport with our players and quickly earn their respect. While he is a very good basketball coach who will have the total student-athlete uppermost in his mind, he will look out for their academic success and help them grow as people.

“We think we found the person who will lead this program to continued success.”

A Clarksville native, Blackston led the 2002-03 Lady Chargers to their first Gulf South Conference appearance since 1997 in going 17-10 overall. The 17 wins tied for the most victories in the program's 16 seasons as a Division II programthe 11-5 conference marks the best in school history. In fact, Blackston, who was GSC East “Coach of the Year” this season, led the Lady Chargers to two of the school's four winning seasons at Division II. In 2001-02, he directed UAH to a 14-12 mark, the program's first winning mark since 1996-97.

The 28-year-old Blackston joined Alabama-Huntsville in 1999-2000 as a men's assistant coach, working under Lennie Acuff. But after two years, he was asked to rebuild the long-suffering women's program.

"The UAH athletic director, Jim Harris, offered me the opportunity to coach the women's program,” Blackston said. “The program had really struggledhad five losing seasons in a rowand it was an opportunity for me to be a head coach. It turned out to be a real blessing for me. Coaching women fits my personality.

"I was fortunate to have young people who bought into system mentally, physically and emotionally. It was a great feeling for them and me to be a part of a rebuilding program. We didn't exactly accomplish everything we wantedcoaches are usually never satisfiedbut we took some nice steps.”

Before his arrival at UAH, Blackston was a graduate assistant with the men's program at Austin Peay, where he earned a master's degree in sports administration.


The former Northeast High School standout played four years for NAIA legendary coach Don Meyer at Lipscomb in Nashville. Blackston was team captain and point guard for the 1995-96 NAIA Final Four team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.0 assists per game as a senior. He dished out more than 500 assists during his career. A three-time NAIA Academic All-America while at Lipscomb, Blackston also received the James R. Byers Award for leadership.

A superb point guard at Northeast High School, Blackston was selected all-district, all-area and honorable mention all-state in 1993 after averaging 18 points and 6.0 assists per game.

Blackston, who becomes the program's ninth coach since 1971, is married to the former Stacy Glenn of Jonesboro, Ark. They are expecting their first child in July.