Skyhawk Women's Basketball | David Russell - Assistant Coach
David Russell begins his fifth season as a part-time assistant with the UT Martin women's basketball team.
While an assistant at UT Martin, the Skyhawks have won four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championships, appeared in four NCAA Tournaments and tallied two OVC regular season championships.
Known in the coaching community as a defensive guru, Russell led a Skyhawk squad with outscored its opponents by 12.3 points per game, including a remarkable +22.0 scoring margin against OVC opponents in 2013-14. The Skyhawks pressure defense forced their opponents into 643 turnovers while tallying 330 steals, nearly doubling the work of their opponents.
Primarily working with the Skyhawk forwards, Russell was integral in the advancement of current Skyhawk Ashia Jones and alum Rickiesha Bryant. The emergence of Jones, a freshman forward, was impressive as the season developed. Jones was named the league’s Freshman of the Year, along with All-OVC second team and Newcomer honors after a stellar OVC slate. She reached double-figures 20 times on the year, including the final 17 games of the season while leading the OVC in field goal percentage at 58.5 percent. She scored 20 points or more on six occasions, while scoring 18.1 points per game in conference play and tallied 13 multi-steal performances.
In 2012-13, Bryant set a UT Martin single-season record for highest field goal percentage (.642), converting 129 of her 201 attempts. She cracked double-figures in the scoring column on 18 different occasions – including 17 times in the final 23 games of her senior season. She led the Ohio Valley Conference and set a single-season school record for blocks, swatting away 85 shot attempts. She turned away at least four blocks in 11 games, including an eight block performance at Murray State with tied a UT Martin single-game record with had stood since 1986.
Russell, who built his legacy at Bradford and Gibson County l, captured six state championships and won more than 950 games during his illustrious 35 years in the preps. He took his teams to the state tournament an astounding 17 times.
Russell, began his high school coaching career at Medina. He then spent 21 seasons at Bradford and 11 at Gibson County, winning the last of his state titles in his final game as the Lady Pioneers’ skipper. He joined McMillan on the UTM bench before the 2010-11 season. He also served as an assistant coach to McMillan in 2009 when McMillan led the Lady Pioneers to their first Class AA state title and an undefeated 37-0 won-loss record.
Russell was later named a member of the 2013 TSSAA Hall of Fame induction class after his illustrious prep career.