Tasha Butts, a standout player at the University of Tennessee and former WNBA player, begins her third season as an assistant coach at LSU.
Butts has served on Nikki Caldwell’s staff the two previous seasons that has seen the Lady Tigers reach back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program’s first Sweet 16 berth since 2008. In Butts’ second year, LSU won 22 games, claimed 10 Southeastern Conference regular season wins and finished with a No. 21 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll, representing LSU’s highest since 2008.
Butts worked closely with LSU’s backcourt, including All-SEC guard Adrienne Webb during her junior and senior seasons. Webb led the SEC in free throw shooting and helped lead the Lady Tigers past Penn State in the NCAA Second Round with a career-best 27 points. Butts also worked with All-SEC freshman Danielle Ballard, who shattered the LSU single-season record for steals with 100 in her debut season.
Butts and fellow assistant coach Tony Perotti received the prestigious honor of attending the Villa 7 Consortium. 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 on Nike’s campus in Oregon.
Butts arrived at LSU after three successful seasons as an assistant coach 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 in all-time 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. Today, her career free throw percentage of 79.3 ranks 10th in UT annals.
Butts, 31, graduated from Tennessee in 2004 with a degree in sport management and a minor in business.
Butts 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 Nikki Caldwell. The Lady Vols won the 2005 SEC Championship that season and advanced to the 2005 Final Four.
In the fall 2005, she headed overseas, where she played 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 of 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.
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