Mitchell Hires New Assistant

Reported by: Dan Rieffer
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Updated: 5/08/2012 8:53 pm
Kentucky women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell has hired a new assistant to replace Kyra Elzy who left for her alma mater, Tennessee.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women's basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has hired Illinois State assistant Danielle Santos to replace Kyra Elzy, who recently left UK to join the staff at her alma mater, Tennessee.

Santos played at Florida while Mitchell was an assistant with the Gators.

"This is an exciting time for UK Hoops," Mitchell said in a statement released by UK. "Danielle is a versatile coach with many talents but it's her high character that stands out and makes her immediately valuable to our program. Communication and strong relationships are absolutely essential in our program. Danielle is an excellent communicator and a strong builder of relationships.  She has the right kind of energy we need on our staff and I look for her to make a positive impact on the future of UK Hoops.  We are happy to welcome her as the newest member of the UK Hoops family."

"I am extremely proud and honored to be a part of this Wildcat family and the Big Blue Nation," Santos said in the statement released by UK. "I have great respect for Coach Mitchell and his staff and how they've been able to build Kentucky to one the top programs in the country.  The SEC is a special place to me and returning to the league to reunite with Coach Mitchell is an incredible opportunity and I can't wait to get started."

For the past two seasons, Santos has been an assistant at Illinois State. Prior to that, Santos spent four years as an assistant at Hofstra - which is where her coaching career began in 2006.

Santos also served as the Hofstra recruiting coordinator in her final two years with Hofstra and signed the No. 41 recruiting class in the nation in 2008-09.

Santos joins current assistant coaches Matt Insell and Shalon Pillow to complete UK's four-person staff.

A four-year letter winner at Florida from 2002-06, Santos was recruited by Mitchell and was a part of his ninth-ranked recruiting class. Santos started in 76 of her 107 games as a Gator, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2006, and the WNIT in 2005.

Santos led the Gators in assists and steals as a sophomore and finished her career ranking sixth at Florida in free-throw percentage (.782), ninth in 3-point field goals made (80), 11th in assists (265) and 13th in steals (162).

Santos earned her bachelor's degree from Florida in exercise and sports sciences, specializing in sports management, while minoring in business administration and education.

Santos was a three-time Southeastern Conference (SEC) Winter Academic Honor Roll selection, a 2004 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team selection, and a 2005 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar.

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