Roosevelt University Assistant Vice President of Health and Human Wellness/Director of Athletics Mike Cassidy announced on September 10, 2015 that former Loyola University Chicago assistant coach and student-athlete Keisha Newell will take over as the head women’s basketball coach of the Lakers.
“I am elated to have Keisha join the Roosevelt community and take the helm of our women’s basketball team,” Cassidy said. “She brings to our program a pedigree of success as a former standout student-athlete and coach. Beyond her past accolades, though, her passion for the students she educates - as students, as athletes, as people - is what excites me the most about Keisha and what is in store for the future of Roosevelt women’s basketball.”
Newell, a native of Chicago, comes to Roosevelt after serving as a student-athlete recruiter in the undergraduate admissions office at NCAA Division III North Park University on Chicago’s northwest side. There she served as a vital relationship cultivator, liaison and connection between North Park’s coaches, current and prospective student-athletes and their families, and the admissions office.
Her recruiting expertise was sharpened at Loyola, her alma mater, where she served as the Ramblers’ assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator from 2011-2014. Newell scoured the globe for talent and implemented a system of identification, evaluation and recruitment of student-athletes that helped Loyola reach its first-ever Horizon League Championship title game in 2013 and finish with the program’s best win total in more than two decades.
Newell excelled as a talent developer and a coaching mentor to Rambler student-athletes, particularly those in the backcourt. Current redshirt junior guard Taylor Johnson turned in one of the best rookie campaigns in Loyola history under Newell’s watch, garnering Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and All-Horizon League Second Team honors in 2012-13. Monica Albano, another backcourt standout, also thrived with Newell’s basketball tutoring as she finished her collegiate career with 1,350 career points to rate fourth on Loyola’s all-time scoring list.
“I am beyond excited about the opportunity to lead a great group of young women at Roosevelt University,” said Newell. “Through the game of basketball, I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, interact with a diverse group people, and build relationships that will last forever. I am elated to share some of these same experiences with our team.
“I cannot tell you enough how impressed I was with the Roosevelt athletic department,” Newell continued. “There was a true sense of community and genuine care for student-athletes. After meeting with Mike [Cassidy], John [Jaramillo], and many of the coaches, I sensed that Roosevelt Athletics was committed to building a team and culture the right way.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I thank God, my family, and friends for all of their continued love and support.”
Prior to her three-year tenure as an assistant coach at Loyola, Newell started her bench career as the Ramblers’ director of basketball operations following her graduation with a bachelor of business administration, completing concentrations in marketing and sport management, in May of 2010. As Loyola’s director of basketball operations, Newell gained extensive experience in every managerial facet of the program to prepare her for coaching and running a program.
Newell, née Collins, was a three-year captain and starter at point guard for the Ramblers. She capped her 87-game career in Rogers Park as one of the best all-around floor generals to ever don Maroon and Gold, scoring 957 points, pulling down 345 rebounds and handing out 371 assists to rank in the Rambler’s top 10 for all-time dimes. Newell garnered Horizon League All-Newcomer Team recognition in 2007-08, her first season at Loyola after transferring in from Southern Indiana, and only got better from there, with a senior season that featured team-leading outputs in scoring (11.8 ppg) and assists (4.8 apg).
Prior to her collegiate playing career, Newell was a prep star at south suburban power Marian Catholic, the same vaunted program that produced Roosevelt All-American guard Casey Davis and four-year Laker forward Jennie Van Hook. Newell was named All-State Honorable Mention by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as a senior and area player of the year by the Illinois Times, leading the Spartans to an 87-14 record in three seasons and a Class AA fourth-place state finish as a junior.
Newell is married to former Ball State and Simeon basketball standout Anthony Newell. The Newells reside in Dolton and recently welcomed their first child, a son named Kamryn.