Lightning speed. That's the only rate at which Jeff Walz operates. It's also the pace at which University of Louisville women's basketball burst into the national spotlight under his tutelage as one of the most competitive and successful programs.
On June 12, 2018, it was announced that his contract with the University of Louisville had been extended through 2024-25.
In 12 seasons, the women's basketball program boasts a quite astounding resumé: nine trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, five trips to the Elite Eight, three trips to the final four and two trips to the national title game; four highly decorated All-Americans; 30 all-conference selections; and nine WNBA Draft picks.
Not to mention, Louisville possesses an impressive record under Walz of 331-100 - or an average of 27.6 victories per season. For a school that had yet to win 30 games in a season in its previous 32 years, Walz directed Louisville to a program-record 36 victories in 2017-18, 34 victories in 2008-09, 33 wins in 2013-14 and 32 wins in 2018-19.
Walz and the Cardinals also have been privy to play in the nation's finest facility in the KFC Yum! Center, a 22,000-seat state-of-the-art arena. Since opening in 2010, the Cardinals boast a 139-16 record at home. That might be in large part to the heavy support Louisville receives. Since the 2010-11 season, Louisville has ranked in the top-five nationally in attendance and averaged more than 9,350 fans per game.
After being hired as the Cardinals' head coach on March 27, 2007, the Bluegrass State native used little time to make a splash. His first year featured the program's first NCAA Sweet 16 and it culminated with Louisville earning the No. 12 ranking in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. For his efforts, Walz was named the WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year.
Prior to taking the reins at Louisville, Walz spent five seasons at Maryland, including his final season as the associate head coach in 2006-07. The season prior, he helped lead the Terrapins to a school-record 34 wins and the program's first national title.
His tenure in the collegiate ranks consists of stops previously at Minnesota, Nebraska, and Western Kentucky.
Walz received a basketball scholarship to Northern Kentucky, where he graduated from with a bachelor of science in secondary education in May of 1995. He earned his master's degree in education in August of 1997 from Western Kentucky.
Walz has four children: daughter Kaeley, son Jacob, and daughters Lola and Lucy. He married the former Lauren Lueders in September of 2012, and the couple resides in Louisville.
COACHING RESPONSIBILITY: Head Coach
YEAR AT LOUISVILLE: 13th
BIRTHDAY: October 27
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s Degree (Northern Kentucky, ’95); Master’s Degree (Western Kentucky, ’97)
HOMETOWN: Fort Thomas, Ky.
FAMILY: Wife – Lauren; Son – Jacob; Daughters – Kaeley, Lola, Lucy
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER
2007-Present: Louisville (head coach)
2006-07: Maryland (associate head coach)
2002-06: Maryland (assistant coach)
2001-02: Minnesota (assistant coach)
1997-01: Nebraska (assistant coach)
1996-97: Western Kentucky (assistant coach)
COACHING RESPONSIBILITY: Associate Head Coach
YEAR AT LOUISVILLE: 12th
BIRTHDAY: April 14
EDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree (Arizona State, '89); Master's Degree (Hawaii, '92)
HOMETOWN: Florence, Ore.
FAMILY: Husband - Geoff; Son - Parker; Daughter - Cassidy
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER
2012-Present: Louisville (associate head coach)
2007-12: Louisville (assistant coach)
2002-07: Vanderbilt (assistant coach)
2000-02: Oregon State (assistant coach)
1992-99: Oregon (assistant coach)
1991-92: Hawaii (graduate assistant coach)
1990-91: British Columbia (assistant coach)
COACHING RESPONSIBILITY: Associate Coach
YEAR AT LOUISVILLE: 7th
BIRTHDAY: October 5
EDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree (Auburn, '03)
HOMETOWN: Dalton, Ga.
FAMILY: Wife - Meghan; Daughters – Reese, Rylee, Reagan
Two-year letterman on the men’s basketball team at Southern Union State Community College
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER
2017-19: Louisville (associate coach)
2013-17: Louisville (assistant coach)
2009-13: Georgia Tech (assistant coach)
2007-09: Georgia Tech (video coordinator)
2005-07: Tulsa (assistant coach)
2003-05: Auburn (video coordinator/administrative assistant)
2000-03: Auburn (student coach)
Once listed as one of the Top 30 up-and-coming women’s basketball coaches in the country by High Post Hoops, Sam Purcell is a rising star in the coaching world. The Dalton, Ga., native has spent the past 17 years climbing the ranks from a student coach at Auburn all the way to an associate coach at Louisville, one of the top programs in the country.
During his journey, Purcell has worked under some of the greatest minds in women’s basketball, including Jeff Walz, the current Louisville head coach and USA Basketball U-20 head coach, Nell Fortner, the former Auburn head coach and current Georgia Tech head coach and 1996 Olympic head coach and Joe Ciampi, the former Auburn head coach for 25 seasons and 2005 Hall of Fame inductee.
In what is already a decorated career, Purcell has been a part of 13 teams that have participated in postseason play. His teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 11 times, making one appearance in the Final Four, two in the Elite Eight, four in the Sweet 16, and he was also a part of a WNIT Championship.
In 17 years, his teams have combined to post a 416-181 (.697) record, while posting 11 20-win seasons and three 30-win seasons. He has helped lead his teams to three regular season conference championships and two conference tournament championships.
The 2018-19 season is Purcell’s sixth at the University of Louisville. He served his first four seasons as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate coach by Walz prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
Although a lot of his work is done behind the scenes, Purcell has played a pivotal role in the success of the Cardinals. His game scouts are as descriptive and detailed as there are in the country and they have helped Louisville defeat some of the best teams in women’s basketball, including Stanford, UConn, Notre Dame, LSU, Oregon, Oregon State, Duke, and North Carolina.
In addition to his meticulous game scouts, Purcell also focuses much of his time with game planning, player development and recruiting. He also prides himself on his ability to develop relationships with his players. He understands the importance of being there for a student-athlete whenever his guidance is needed to ensure them that they are successful in the classroom, as well as the basketball court.
In his six-plus seasons on Walz’s staff, Purcell has helped lead the Cardinals to an impressive 183-35 (.839) record, which is the best six-year stretch in program history. He has helped guide the Cardinals to a Final Four appearance in 2018, an elite eight in 2014 and 2019 and five trips to the Sweet 16.
He played a critical role in guiding Louisville to a program-best 36-3 record in 2017-18. That season, the Cardinals opened the year with a 20-0 record, which marked the best start in program history, and following a 100-67 win over Notre Dame, they moved up to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, which marks the highest rating in program history. Louisville won both the ACC regular season and conference championships, and then in four NCAA Tournament games, they defeated opponents by an average of 27.5 points to advance to the program’s third Final Four.
In addition to team accomplishments, Purcell has had success coaching both guards and post players.
At Tulsa, he played an integral role in developing post player Jillian Robbins, who went on to attain All-America honorable mention accolades, along with being named Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
At Georgia Tech, he worked closely with guards and had several players earn postseason accolades. Alex Montgomery was named All-ACC First Team, Sixth Player of the Year, ACC All-Defensive Team, and was then the 10th pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft. Tyaunna Marshall was named Associated Press and WBCA All-American honorable mention, All-ACC First Team, ACC All-Defensive Team, ACC All-Freshman Team and Third Team Freshman All-American by the Full Court Press.
While at Louisville, his focus has been on guard play and he had tremendous success with Shoni Schimmel during her senior year. She earned several All-American honors and was the eighth overall pick by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Draft. He also worked closely with Asia Durr, the second overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty, who was named WBCA All-American as a junior and a senior and twice was named ACC Player of the Year.
Purcell has shown the ability to recruit across the globe and has a remarkable talent to connect with elite prospects. On two occasions, with two different teams, he has helped programs land the top recruit in the country. Most recently, it was Durr, who committed to Louisville in 2015, and Kaela Davis signed with Georgia Tech in 2013.
All six signing classes that Purcell has helped recruit at Louisville have been ranked in the top 15 by ESPN, including the No. 1 class in 2015, No. 4 class in 2017, No. 6 class in 2016 and No. 8 class in 2014.
He was elected to serve on the 2019-2020 WBCA Assistant Coaches Committee.
Purcell has a passion for giving back, volunteering in the community and speaking at numerous events, including the FCA and fundraising efforts. He also enjoys sharing his experiences and giving advice to young coaches at the WBCA roundtable at the Final Four.
Purcell is a graduate of Auburn University, 2003.
He and his wife, Meghan, have three daughters, Reese, Rylee, and Reagan.
COACHING RESPONSIBILITY: Assistant Coach
YEAR AT LOUISVILLE: 1st
EDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree (Georgia Southwestern State, '11), Master's Degree (America Public University, '17)
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, Ga.
Played at Georgia Southwestern State University, where she received the Peach Belt Conference Scholar Athlete award in 2010, served as team captain, and was named to the Athletic Director Honor Roll and Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll.
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER
2013-19: Georgia Tech (assistant coach, video coordinator, graduate manager)
Prior to joining the staff at Louisville, Pineda spent six seasons at Georgia Tech, serving the final two seasons as an assistant coach. In her six seasons, she helped lead the Yellow Jackets to five 20-win seasons, one NCAA Tournament appearance, four appearances in the WNIT, including a trip to the 2017 WNIT championship.
In 2017-18, her first season as an assistant coach, she helped lead Georgia Tech to a 20-14 record and an appearance in the WNIT quarterfinals. She also assisted in recruiting the 2018 signing class which ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Prior to being promoted to assistant coach, Pineda spent the 2013-14 season as video coordinator intern at Georgia Tech. That season, the Yellow Jackets went 21-12 and played in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2014-15, she served as an assistant coach with the FBC Southeast Elite basketball program, where she helped develop some of the best players in the country.
Pineda completed master’s work from America Public University in June 2017, receiving a master’s of sports administration.
She played basketball, while earning a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing from Georgia Southwestern State University in 2011. While a Lady Hurricane, Pineda received the Peach Belt Conference Scholar Athlete award in 2010, served as team captain, and was named to the Athletic Director Honor Roll and Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll.
She also participated in the 2010-11 “So You Want To Be A Coach” program.
Kate Tucker, entering her 12th year at the University of Louisville, is in her sixth season as the women's basketball director of operations. She is primarily tasked with coordinating the team's travel and equipment needs in addition to team camps.
Tucker joined the Cardinals' staff after serving four years in the compliance office as the compliance coordinator. Tucker primarily assisted Louisville's student-athletes with financial aid needs in addition to coordinating all of their housing arrangements.
While with the compliance office, she oversaw the student-athlete opportunity fund, which includes insurance needs for student-athletes, along with monitoring student-athlete employment. The staff sponsor for SAAC (student-athlete advisory committee), Tucker's job also encompassed assisting with game-day operations, helping with rules education and interpretations
Prior to that position, Tucker worked from 2009-11 in the athletic ticket office, where she managed student tickets for football and men's and women's basketball. On game days, she assisted with ticket management.
Tucker first started working in Louisville athletics while in graduate school. She spent one year in the Cardinal Athletic Fund, the department's development arm, aiding with special events and annual fund events.
A Shelbyville, Ky., native, Tucker was a three-year letterwinner on the women's tennis team at Georgetown College. She was elected team captain as a junior and earned a spot on the all-conference academic team. She also was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority.
Tucker, who resides in Shelbyville, graduated from Georgetown cum laude in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in communication. She earned her master's degree from Louisville in sport administration two years later in 2009. She is married to Jeremy Tucker and they have one son, Joseph David (JD).
Adrienne Johnson is in her 14th year at the University of Louisville and her sixth season as the women's basketball program's executive director for player relations.
Johnson is involved in numerous facets within the program. She works as the liaison between the coaching staff and academic support system, helping set semester goals for each student-athlete and oversee player and professional development, facilitating learning opportunities that include guest speakers to further educate student-athletes on subjects they will encounter beyond college.
In addition to these areas, she has been critical to the fundraising endeavors for the program.
Johnson also assists with on-campus recruiting, community service and marketing efforts, while serving as the analyst for the Louisville women's basketball radio broadcasts.
Previously, Johnson served as women's basketball's and the athletic department's outreach coordinator for five years before overtaking the position of executive director of operations for the women's basketball team.
A Louisville native, Johnson came to Louisville after playing for eight seasons in the WNBA. She began her WNBA career during the league's inaugural year with the Cleveland Rockers in 1997 before being taken eighth overall by the Orlando Miracle in the 1999 expansion draft.
Johnson spent four seasons with the Miracle franchise before they moved to Connecticut in January of 2003 to become the Connecticut Sun. She played for the Sun for two seasons and then signed as a free agent with the Seattle Storm in March of 2005.
Johnson starred 181 games in her WNBA career with 38 starts. She totaled 1,018 points, 292 rebounds, 132 assists, and 73 steals. She also earned the WNBA's first Hometown Hero Award for her community service during the 2000 offseason.
A 1997 Ohio State graduate, she earned her bachelor's degree in exercise physiology. Johnson recorded more than 1,000 points in her collegiate career, averaging 13.0 points and 3.1 assists in her senior campaign. The Butler High graduate earned all-Big Ten honors as a senior with the Buckeyes.