Tasha Butts, a standout player at the University of Tennessee and former WNBA player, enters her sixth season as an assistant coach for the Lady Tigers.
In her five seasons at LSU, Butts has been a part of three 20-win seasons and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances highlighted by back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 trips in 2012 and 2013.
Butts was one of just 14 assistant coaches from around the country chosen to participate in Advocates for Athletic Equity’s (AAE) annual “Achieving Coaching Excellence” (ACE) Professional Development Program for basketball coaches in June 2016. The program is recognized as helping to boost the careers of some of the top minority coaches in the college game.
Butts works closely with LSU’s backcourt and helped develop Raigyne Moncrief and Danielle Ballard, who both garnered All-SEC Freshman Team honors. Both players are listed among LSU’s Top 10 for scoring during their true freshmen seasons. Moncrief was poised to have a stellar junior season in 2015-16 as a preseason All-SEC pick, but was sidelined by injury for all but three games.
With the guidance of Butts, Rina Hill has blossomed into a leader on the court, and was the only Lady Tiger to start all 31 games in 2015-16. Hill averaged 8.4 points and 2.1 assists per game. In addition, freshman Shanice Norton started 22 games and averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds a contest.
Under Butts’ tutelage, Ballard broke LSU’s single-season record for steals and became the first player in program history – women or men – to reach 100 steals in a season. Ballard also put together a NCAA Tournament run for the ages in 2014 where she averaged 23.3 points and 14.0 rebounds per game. Her three-straight double-doubles was a program first since All-American Sylvia Fowles accomplished the feat in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Butts also guided All-SEC selection Adrienne Webb during her junior and senior seasons. She led the SEC in free throw shooting and was one of the top shooting guards in program history where she poured in a career-high 29 points to help lead the Lady Tigers past Penn State in the 2013 NCAA Second Round. Webb finished her career with 1,370 points.
Butts has also had the honor of attending the Villa 7 Consortium on Nike’s campus in Oregon. The program brings together university athletics directors and the country’s elite assistant coaches in an effort to prepare the next generation of college basketball leaders.
Butts arrived at LSU after three successful seasons as an assistant coach to Nikki Fargas at UCLA. During her tenure with the Bruins, she worked with perimeter players and assisted with all other facets of the program, including academics, recruiting, scouting and player development.
UCLA reached the NCAA Tournament twice, compiling a 72-26 overall mark and second-place finishes in the Pac-10 Conference in both 2010 and 2011. The 2010-11 season saw the Bruins earn a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and set records for regular-season victories (26), Pac-10 wins (16) and scoring defense (55.3 points per game).
Butts was instrumental in the development of UCLA guards Darxia Morris, Doreena Campbell and Markel Walker. Morris was the Bruins’ top scorer in 2010-11 as she earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and was invited to training camp with the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.
Butts helped sign Walker, who arrived at UCLA as the nation’s No. 4 ranked high school player according to ESPN HoopGurlz. Campbell became just the fourth Bruin ever to earn All-Pac-10 honors all four years of her career. She was also the fourth player in school history to record 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists.
Prior to UCLA, Butts served as an assistant coach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., for the 2007-08 season where she worked primarily with the perimeter players. Her responsibilities included recruiting, opponent scouting, academics, equipment liaison and scheduling.
Butts was a proven winner as a player at Tennessee, helping the Lady Vols to a 124-17 record in her four seasons from 2000-04. Tennessee had a Sweet 16 appearance in her freshman season and advanced to the 2002 Final Four in her sophomore campaign. She then helped the Lady Vols to back-to-back National Championship games in her junior and senior seasons of 2003 and 2004. As a senior, she earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors after averaging 10.4 points per game and ranking second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (43.0).
In addition, Butts was part of four SEC regular-season championship teams, as Tennessee compiled a 55-1 SEC record in her four years. When she left UT, she ranked fourth all-time in games played (141) and tied for seventh in three-point shots made (103) at the school. Butts’ career-high 37 points against Vanderbilt on Feb. 16, 2004, tied for 11th on the Lady Vols’ single-game scoring list.
Butts graduated from Tennessee in 2004 with a degree in sport management and a minor in business. She was chosen by the Minnesota Lynx with the 20th selection in the 2004 WNBA Draft. She saw action in all 30 games as a rookie, helping the club equal a franchise record with 18 wins and earn a spot in the playoffs.
Following the 2004 WNBA season, she returned to her alma mater and served as a graduate assistant coach, working primarily with Pat Summitt and Fargas. The Lady Vols won the 2005 SEC Championship that season and advanced to the 2005 Final Four.
In fall 2005, she played overseas for Essa/Barreiro in Portugal, averaging nearly 18.0 points per game. After one season with Essa, she moved on to Raanana Hertizliya in Israel, where she posted 15.5 points per contest. She also had brief stints with the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets of the WNBA.
Butts grew up in Milledgeville, Ga., and attended Baldwin High School where she was a consensus All-American and the Georgia Gatorade State Player of the Year. She remains the all-time leading scorer at the school and her high school jersey No. 23 was retired in December 2000. In August 2004, the city of Milledgeville honored Butts with a key to the city and a proclamation of achievement on “Tasha Butts Day.”
Butts credits her parents, Spencer Butts, Sr. and Evelyn Butts, with instilling the value of hard work and importance of family. She has one older brother, Spencer Butts, Jr., and a nephew, Marquis Butts.
The Tasha Butts File
Birthdate: March 10, 1982
Hometown: Milledgeville, Ga.
Education: Tennessee, 2004 (Sport Management)
2000-04, Tennessee Lady Vols
2004, Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
2005, European Pro Leagues (Portugal, Israel)
Year, Position, School
2004-05, Graduate Assistant, Tennessee
2007-08, Assistant Coach, Duquesne
2008-11, Assistant Coach, UCLA
2011-present, Assistant Coach, LSU