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Virginia names Missouri State’s Amaka Agugua-Hamilton new women’s basketball coach

Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton
Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton, who had a 74-15 record in three seasons at Missouri State, is the new women’s basketball coach at Virginia, the school announced Monday.

Agugua-Hamilton’s teams at Missouri State won two Missouri Valley Conference titles and played in two NCAA Tournaments, with a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2021.

The Herndon native and Oakton High School alum led the Lady Bears to a 25-8 record and an No. 11 seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Missouri State defeated Florida State 61-50 in the tournament’s inaugural First Four before bowing out against No. 6 Ohio State in the first round of the tournament.

“We are thrilled and very fortunate to have recruited Coach Mox to UVA,” Virginia Athletics Director Carla Williams said. “She is a gifted teacher, a skilled tactician of the game and a person who cares deeply about her players and vice versa. Her teams play with tremendous tenacity and confidence. Coach Mox has a reputation for recruiting and developing talent. While these qualities are necessary to build a competitive program, we have been most impressed with Coach Mox as a person. Her integrity, work ethic, passion for education and determination to build something special here at UVA is inspiring.”

Agugua-Hamilton has twice won MVC Coach of the Year honors, was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Spalding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year in 2020, and was one of 10 finalists for WBCA National Coach of the Year in 2021.

This season, Agugua-Hamilton became just the fourth head coach in Division I history to reach 60 victories in less than 70 games to begin their career at the Division I level.

The victory against the Seminoles was one of nine she had against Power Five opponents during her three seasons at MSU. That list includes wins versus USC, Virginia Tech, Missouri (three), Maryland, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

Agugua-Hamilton has two previous coaching stops in the Commonwealth. She was an assistant coach at VCU for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons when the Rams went 52-15. She was on the staff at Old Dominion in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

“I am overjoyed and thankful for this tremendous opportunity to lead this group of young women at one of the best academic and athletic institutions in the country,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “I was immediately drawn in by Carla Williams’ vision for the women’s basketball program and the athletic department as a whole. I am certain I will thrive under her leadership. As a Virginia native, UVA is a dream come true for me. I could not be more excited to be HOME!”

The Lady Bears went 26-4 overall in Agugua-Hamilton’s first season (2019-20), setting a school record for regular-season victories and making Coach Mox one of 33 rookie head coaches in Division I history with at least 26 victories. She was the second first-year head coach in MVC history to be named Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, and the first to win an outright regular-season title in their debut season.

Missouri State ended the shortened 2019-20 season ranked 19th in the coaches poll, 23rd by the AP, and eighth in the NCAA RPI, the highest finish ever for an MVC team in that metric. The Lady Bears spent nine weeks rated fourth or better in the RPI throughout the season, ascending to the No. 1 spot for seven consecutive days in January, and went 15-0 at JQH Arena for the school’s first perfect home season since 2003-04.

The Lady Bears built on that immense success in 2020-21, finishing with a 23-3 record and advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. MSU extended its ranking streak in the coaches poll to 35 consecutive appearances and finished 14th, its highest ranking since 2001.

Missouri State matched the program’s best-ever NCAA Tournament seed with a No. 5, defeating UC Davis and Wright State in the postseason before falling to No. 1 overall seed Stanford in the Sweet 16 to end a 19-game win streak. Missouri State also posted the first perfect conference (16-0) and road (11-0) records in school history.

This season Missouri State ranks 11th nationally in scoring defense (53.9 ppg.), 16th in total rebounds (42.21 per game), 19th in field goal defense (35.7 pct.) and 20th in rebounding margin (+7.5). Missouri State set a school record for rebound margin in 2020-21 at plus-10.8 and ranked second nationally with a .794 defensive rebound margin after leading the country at .773 in 2019-20. Agugua-Hamilton’s first MSU team ranked in the top 22 nationally in scoring offense, 3-point percentage, rebound margin, free throws, free throw percentage and won-lost percentage.

The first African-American female head coach for any sport at Missouri State, Agugua-Hamilton is a 20-year veteran of Division I women’s basketball, including five seasons as a player at Hofstra and four coaching stops.

Prior to taking over the Missouri State program, she was on the staff at Michigan State from 2013-19, the last four years as associate head coach.

Agugua-Hamilton is a 2005 graduate of Hofstra University, where she averaged 10.2 points and 6.0 rebounds over a 95-game career. She is the Pride’s career field goal percentage leader at .551 and graduated with the top three single-season field goal percentage marks in school history. A four-year team captain, she was a second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association pick in 2004, and helped Hofstra to a WNIT berth in 2006, the school’s first-ever postseason appearance.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from Hofstra in 2005 and received her master’s degree in sports leadership and administration from VCU in 2007.

Agugua-Hamilton married Billy Hamilton in 2017. The couple has a son, Eze, born in 2018.

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