Trio joins ECU Women's Basketball coaching staff

Published: Apr. 12, 2019 at 3:29 PM EDT
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Cory McNeill, Steve Pogue and Ali Heller have been named to the ECU women’s basketball coaching staff, as announced by first-year head coach Kim McNeill on Friday.

McNeill, who is the husband of Kim McNeill, will serve as associate head coach, the same position he served in for the past three years at the University of Hartford. Pogue and Heller were named assistant coaches and arrive in Greenville following two-year stints with McNeill at Hartford.

During his three years in Hartford, McNeill helped the Hawks improve their win total in each successive season, culminating in a 23-11 mark in 2018-19 and the program’s first appearance in the WNIT since 2013. The 23 wins were the highest total for a Hartford squad since the 2009-10 season.

Working primarily in developing the Hawks’ guards, Hartford’s backcourt was one of the most productive in the America East under McNeill’s guidance. That work was evident as four guards received All-Conference distinction from the league, including Sierra DaCosta, who became the program’s first Rookie of the Year winner since 2005-06.

McNeill also tutored Lindsey Abed who became the first America East First-Team All-Conference selection 2009-10, Alexia Douglas who earned the league’s 2018-19 Sixth-Man-of-the-Year Award and Jade Young who was chosen as Second-Team All-Conference.

McNeill came to Hartford after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia. At Virginia, McNeill and his wife served on Joanne Boyle’s staff, where they helped the Cavaliers to a 90-71 record and three WNIT appearances, including back-to-back berths in 2015 and 2016.

Prior to joining the staff at Virginia, McNeill served as an assistant coach at Georgetown from 2007-11. During that time, the Baltimore, Md., native helped the Hoyas to one of the nation’s most impressive turnarounds, earning back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths for the first time in program history in 2010 and 2011.

Pogue and Heller both arrived in Hartford prior to the 2017-18 season and helped the Hawks improve their win total each season. The pair were a key part in helping Hartford reach the WNIT this past season as well as reaching consecutive America East Championship title games.

Prior to arriving in Hartford, Pogue was on staff at Bridgeport. In his three seasons there, Pogue helped the Purple Knights increase their win total each year he was on staff. In addition to his coaching duties, he served as a Game Day Operations Assistant for the Purple Knights.

Before landing at Bridgeport, Pogue worked as an assistant women’s basketball coach for four seasons at Nyack College, his alma mater. As a standout, four-year member of the Nyack’s men’s basketball team, he helped the Warriors reach the 2010 NCCAA National Championship game.

Prior to arriving in Hartford, Heller joined the Sacred Heart coaching staff at the start of the 2015-16 season, Heller shared recruiting and scouting responsibilities while serving as the team’s travel, video and service coordinator. During her time with the Pioneers, she helped lead the team to back-to-back WNIT Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017.

Heller joined Sacred Heart’s staff after two seasons on the women’s basketball staff at Jacksonville State, where she assisted with the team’s backcourt. Under her leadership, the Gamecocks were among the best in the country at handling the ball in 2014-15, ranking No. 4 in Division I, committing just 11.2 turnovers per game.