The University of North Texas at Dallas has hired Plano Senior High School girls state championship coach Rodney Belcher to lead its new women’s basketball program.
Belcher guided Plano to its first girls basketball state championship in 2018, and earned multiple coach of the year honors, including awards from the National Federation of State High Schools, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and the Dallas Morning News.
After amassing a 168-44 record in six seasons leading the Lady Wildcats, Belcher will take the reins of a first-year collegiate program. The UNT Dallas Trailblazers are set to begin play this fall as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
“Rodney has been successful everywhere he's been,” UNT Dallas athletic director Jack Allday said. “He has a special ability to connect with and develop student-athletes. He has impeccable character and he can flat-out coach. He’s the total package.”
Belcher led Plano to the playoffs in each of his six seasons as head coach. His 2019 team advanced to the regional quarterfinals, while this year’s team reached the Class 6A Region II final despite losing their star player early in the season.
Belcher served the previous eight years as an assistant coach for the Plano girls basketball team. He leaves the school after 14 years with a 326-128 record.
“I could not pass up an opportunity to have an impact and help to change the lives of young people in a positive way,” Belcher said. “I am looking forward to beginning the recruiting process and building a women’s basketball program that will represent UNT Dallas, our fans and our community with class, character and hard work.”
Belcher started his career coaching boys high school basketball, including stops at Plano Vines High School (1990-93), Plano Senior High School (1993-94), Bryan Adams High School (1994-98) and McKinney High School (2000-01). Following stints as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico and Baylor, he transitioned to coaching high school girls basketball as the head coach at Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque (2003-06). He joined Plano as an assistant girls high school basketball coach in 2006.
“We are thrilled to hire a coach with such a consistent track record of developing talent and winning with teams that demonstrate teamwork and grit,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said. “We are confident that Rodney Belcher will build a program that will compete with class and vie for championships for years to come.”
Belcher graduated from the University of North Texas in 1987, and earned a Master’s degree in Education Administration from UNT in 1990. He played at Waco High School, McLennan Community College and North Texas.
“Coach Belcher has shown an excellent ability to connect with his students,” UNT Dallas Provost Betty Stewart said. “I am certain he will bring out the best in our student-athletes, both on the field of competition, and in the classroom.”
(Photo courtesy Michael Ainsworth/Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News)