|Born||Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.|
|Occupation||Coach, Sports analyst, television personality|
|Known for||Charlotte Hornets sideline reporter|
Stephanie Ready is an American basketball coach who became the first female coach of a men's professional league team in 2001. From 2001 to 2003, she was an assistant coach for the now defunct Greenville Groove of the National Basketball Development League (the minor league of the National Basketball Association).
Ready serves as a sideline reporter for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. Ready was also a part-time sideline reporter for The NBA on TNT during the 2006 and 2007 NBA Playoffs, and the WNBA Playoffs on ESPN2 during 2006. Also in 2006 and 2007, Ready worked as a sideline reporter during the first and second rounds of the Women's Final Four of college basketball for ESPN2. Ready is an alumnus of Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland.
A native of Takoma Park, Maryland, Ready was a standout basketball and volleyball player at Coppin State College (now University) in Baltimore, Maryland. Ready also ranked in the top-10 on the career list at Coppin State in steals (2nd), assists (4th), points (8th) and rebounds (10th ). Ready graduated cum laude from Coppin State with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Ron "Fang" Mitchell, the men's basketball coach, hired Ready to coach the women's volleyball team. Mitchell was also the person that urged Ready to pursue coaching basketball and hold off on graduate school.
Hired two weeks before the start of the season, Ready began working with the team and soon the Lady Eagles' 129-match losing streak was snapped. At the time, Ready was one of the youngest Division I volleyball coaches in the country and she kept the position for three years, until she resigned during the spring of 2001. Mitchell called upon Ready again, but this time he wanted her to assist him on the bench—for Coppin State's men's team. She became only the third woman ever to coach Division I men's basketball; Jennifer Johnston of Oakland University in Michigan, and Bernadette Mattox, who coached at the University of Kentucky from 1990 to 1995 under former coach Rick Pitino, were the others. Of the three, Ready was the only woman who was allowed to recruit off-campus. "It was a no-brainer," Mitchell told blackvoices.com, of his decision to hire Ready. "She's very detail-oriented and one of the most organized people I've had a pleasure to work with."
In many circles, Ready's hiring has been perceived as a publicity stunt. It appeared that the NBDL matched Ready with Greenville to attract interest to the new league, which comprises mostly former college stars and players who previously played overseas. Before Ready resigned her coaching position from Coppin State in August 2001, she had received a ringing endorsement from Mitchell, who had spoken to NBDL senior director of basketball Karl Hicks and Rob Levine. After researching Ready, Levine told blackvoices.com, "I don't think the NBDL is constrained by the folks who are going to be skeptics. We want to be a league that breaks old paradigms and provides opportunities."
Though there are doubters, those who favor Ready's advancement far outweigh them. "We don't have time to worry about who's coaching us," Greenville Groove guard Merl Code commented to USA Today. "Coach Ready is there to help us and we want to let her help." To Barnes, Ready has been a great help and he appreciates her basketball aptitude. "Coach Ready knows the game of basketball, has a proven track record at the collegiate level of basketball that helped her to develop her skills, and she comes highly recommended," Barnes told meacfans.com. Upon being hired, Ready assisted Barnes in assembling the players' manuals, which included various offensive and defensive strategies, along with team rules.
While Ready has been consumed with her preparation as a coach, she also understood her position as a role model. Ready appeared on NBC's Today Show, and Ebony magazine named her one of "The 56 Most Intriguing Blacks of 2001" along with Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan. Still, it all comes down to coaching for Ready, who might someday consider coaching in the NBA or WNBA. Mitchell told meacfans.com, "I saw something special in her when she was a student-athlete and she's lived up to that as a coach." Though the rise has been meteoric, Ready felt fortunate to be experiencing the challenge. "I feel like I'm on a whirlwind, but I'm not complaining," Ready told blackvoices.com. "This is a great opportunity to do what I love in a league in the NBA family that will show people that little girls can grow up and do the same thing that little boys have a chance to do."
- "NBDL Makes History With Female Coach".
- Roquemore, Bobbi (2002). "Stephanie Ready: making history coaching male hoop stars - assistant coach of the National Basketball Developmental League's Greenville Groove". Ebony.
- "Stephanie Ready:Biography". answers.com. Retrieved 2011-07-11.