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Appalachian State Hires Sharp to Lead Women’s Basketball Program

Alaura Sharp, who led Presbyterian College to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and win last month, has been named the ninth head coach in App State women’s basketball history, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday.

App State will hold a press conference on Friday, April 12 on the fifth floor of the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex to introduce Sharp. The press conference is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Lunch will be provided for media members, staff, students and fans who would like to attend.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alaura to the App State family,” Gillin said. “She is a proven leader who has recruited and developed student-athletes at a high level. Her vision for the program aligns with our core values of academic integrity, competitive excellence, social responsibility and a world-class experience. We are excited about the future of App State Women’s Basketball.”

Fans can support the program by putting down a deposit on 2024-25 season tickets today.

Last month, Sharp guided Presbyterian to its first NCAA Tournament berth in program history, which turned into its first NCAA Tournament victory when the Blue Hose defeated Sacred Heart 49-42 in the First Four. Presbyterian then fell to No. 1 South Carolina, but not before Sharp led her squad to a program-record 21 wins.

Before serving the last six seasons as head coach at Presbyterian, Sharp was an assistant for two years each at Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss, where she helped her teams earn a postseason bid all four seasons. She was also a successful head coach at the junior college level at Garden City (Kan.) Community College and Lamar (Colo.) Community College.

“I’m honored to be named the head women’s basketball coach at App State,” Sharp said. “It is exciting to join an athletic department that has so much momentum and success. I look forward to building relationships with the players and growing this program. The Sun Belt is loaded with great coaches and talented players that I am excited to be a part of.

“I want to thank the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Everts, Doug Gillin and the rest of the administration for believing in me. I am excited to get to work.”

In addition to earning the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth and setting the wins record, Sharp’s 2023-24 Blue Hose team claimed the program’s first Big South Tournament title and became the first No. 5 seed to ever win the Big South women’s tournament when they trounced Radford 60-37 in the championship game on ESPN2.

Coaching at the smallest Division I school in the country, Sharp led Presbyterian to steady improvements throughout her first five seasons leading up to the breakout sixth campaign. Her 2020-21 team turned in the program’s first winning record (11-10) in five years, while her 2022-23 squad captured their best league finish (tied for fourth) in seven years.

Under Sharp’s tutelage, center Bryanna Brady became the program’s first two-time All-Big South honoree, while guard Tilda Sjökvist also earned All-Big South accolades in 2023-24. Sjökvist was named the 2024 Big South Tournament MVP, while Brady and Mara Neira joined her on the All-Tournament Team.

Sharp’s teams are known for defensive tenacity and efficient offense, as evidenced by PC leading the Big South and ranking 56th nationally in scoring defense in 2023-24, while also topping the league in assists per outing. A season earlier, the Blue Hose ranked top 65 nationally in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made per game, while Brady led the league and was 24th in the nation in field-goal percentage.

In two seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisiana Tech, she helped the Lady Techsters make their first postseason appearance in six seasons with a WNIT berth in 2016-17, followed by a 19-win season in 2017-18 and a second consecutive WNIT appearance.

Sharp spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Southern Miss, where she helped the Golden Eagles reach back-to-back Conference USA Tournament championship games and make a pair of WNIT trips. The 2014-15 team advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals, and Southern Miss won a total of 52 games in Sharp’s two seasons on staff.

From 2009-13, Sharp spent four seasons as head coach at Garden City Community College, where she compiled an 83-45 record, defeated 11 nationally ranked teams, and turned the Broncbusters into a top contender each year in the tough Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and Region VI.

Sharp guided GCCC to its best record in school history at 29-4 and a No. 13 ranking in the NJCAA polls in 2012-13 and mentored an All-American in Tamara Jones from Prosser, Wash., in her last two years. She was awarded the KJCCC Coach of the Year in her first season in 2009-10, while her teams advanced to the semifinals of the Region VI Tournament in 2012 and 2013.

She spent the 2008-09 season as head coach at Lamar Community College in Colorado after a two-year stint as an assistant at Adams State University.

A native of Fredonia, Kansas, Sharp was a second-team All-KJCCC selection and NJCAA Academic All-American at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College while averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds as a sophomore. She finished her collegiate career at Southwest Minnesota State, where she led her team in steals at 3.5 per game.

Sharp graduated magna cum laude from SMSU in 2006, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a sports management concentration and a minor in coaching.