Mitchell hires assistant coach, recruiting coordinator

Her Twitter profile and avatar had turned Kentucky blue in the past two weeks, but it finally became official on Thursday as UK announced the hiring of Christian Stefanopoulos as the team’s new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

Stefanopoulos, 30, worked for three seasons as the Cats’ video coordinator under Mitchell before taking an assistant job at Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa.

“Her ability to connect with people enables her to recruit at an elite level,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said in a release. “It’s been my experience that players have always benefited from spending time with Christian whether it was on or off the court. I’m so happy she’s a Wildcat.”

The former Boone County standout worked primarily with the guards at Bucknell and helped the Bison to their biggest turnaround in school history, lifting the team from five wins in 2011-12 to 15 a season later.

Before joining the Bucknell staff, Stefanopoulos was an assistant coach at Morehead State. She was a graduate assistant with the Eagles prior to that under Mitchell in 2006-07. Then she followed Mitchell to UK where she was video coordinator.

“It’s always been my dream to return to Kentucky and have the opportunity to compete for a national championship,” she said in the release.

While playing at Austin Peay, Stefanopoulos won back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships and advanced to two NCAA Tournaments. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Thomas More in 2006 and a master’s degree in sports administration from Morehead in 2014.

After Kentucky went 26-9 and was dropped in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 this season by Baylor, Mitchell opted not to renew the contracts of assistant coaches Shalon Pillow and Jeff House.

Mitchell has yet to replace Pillow, who worked primarily with the post players.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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