NAU names Arizona assistant as head women’s basketball coach

Sue Darling

Sue Darling, an assistant coach at the University of Arizona for the last four seasons, has been selected as NAU’s head coach for women’s basketball.

Lisa Campos, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics, announced the selection today, pending approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.

“We are excited to have an experienced coach with deep ties in Arizona to lead our women’s basketball program,” Campos said. “Sue Darling is a high-energy, dedicated coach who wants to develop a program that will represent NAU and Flagstaff.”

Darling has 27 years’ experience coaching basketball, including roles as an assistant coach at both the UA and Arizona State University and three years as the head coach at the Air Force Academy.

“Sue Darling is a great addition to Northern Arizona University’s athletics program,” said NAU President John Haeger. “She brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm that will invigorate the women’s basketball program and engage our students, alumni and the community.”

Darling served as offensive coordinator and directed player and team development at UA under women’s basketball coach Niya Butts. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Darling also was instrumental in recruiting, scouting, marketing and community relations.

Darling said she looks forward to joining the coaching staff and working with student athletes.

“NAU is a special place and I am thrilled to be here,” Darling said. “Dr. Haeger has reinvigorated NAU athletics with his vision and commitment, and I look forward to making NAU women’s basketball a source of great pride and tradition for us all.”

As offensive coordinator for the Wildcats, Darling was responsible for offensive planning and strategy, offensive instruction and game-time decisions. During the 2010-11 season, Arizona ranked No. 28 nationally and No. 3 in the Pac-10 in scoring offense.

Darling’s experience includes leading teams at the high school, junior college, university and professional level. She served as an assistant coach for the Seattle Reign from 1996-97, a women’s professional team that was part of the now defunct American Basketball League.

Darling replaces head coach Laurie Kelly who accepted a head coaching position at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., in April.