Whitaker joins Matthew Mitchell’s staff

Yet another assistant coach from Dayton has jumped to Kentucky, but this time the hire is a name familiar to most basketball fans in the region.

Former Harrison County and Western Kentucky standout Camryn Whitaker has been hired as UK’s newest assistant coach, the school confirmed on Thursday. She signed a one-year deal worth $140,000.

“I have always been impressed with her energy and the power she has to connect with people,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said in the release. “I have greatly admired her ability to develop players. She has been a very successful recruiter and her passion for Kentucky and her desire to make a difference in this program are qualities that I greatly appreciate.”

Whitaker fills the opening created by the December departure of Christian Stefanopoulos, who left at the start of last season with what the school called an undisclosed illness.

“To be home is a dream come true for me,” Whitaker said in the release. “I am so grateful to Coach Mitchell and the Kentucky family for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful community.  I think Kentucky is the best athletics program in the country, and I look forward to working with such a quality and high-level staff.”

Whitaker has been with Dayton, which knocked UK out of the NCAA Tournament at Memorial Coliseum this season, since 2012. She’s the second Dayton assistant to land at Kentucky, following Adeniyi Amadou’s hire at this time last year.

Amadou is under contract through June 30, 2016 and fellow first-year assistant Tamika Williams’ deal runs through June 30 of this year.

Whitaker, 33, previously was an assistant coach at Western Kentucky, where she was a star point guard. She also had coaching stops at Missouri State and Austin Peay.

While at WKU, the Cynthiana native started all but nine of her 126 games and led the Tops to 97 wins and helped lead the program to post-season trips in each of her five seasons.

She is top 10 in the record books for career assists (486), games started (117), steals (170) and minutes played per game (29.4).

While at Harrison County, she made her mark on the Kentucky high school record books, too, scoring 2,574 career points, 283 assists in a season (fourth best in state history), 2,510 career field goal attempts (fourth most in state history) with 978 makes, a 39 percent career shooting percentage.

Whitaker also finished with 528 steals in a career.

Whitaker’s father, Mac, coached the Harrison County girls for 11 seasons and compiled a 241-97 record with two trips to the Sweet Sixteen in 2002 (with Camryn) and again in 2002.

He’s in his 38th season coaching Harrison County baseball with 1,026 wins and four state championships.

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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