Sam Houston State University Athletics officially introduced new women’s basketball head coach Ravon Justice Tuesday at the Ron Mafrige Fieldhouse.
Athletic director Bobby Williams opened the press conference with some positivity.
“It’s an exciting time for our department, our university and our program,” Williams said. “We are really blessed to where this search has gone. Any time you have changes and going through the hiring process, you are interested in what people from the outside think of your program.”
Williams elaborated on the amount of competition Justice had for the position.
“We had over 70 applicants and inquiries into our program,” Williams said. “That’s extremely positive for our university.”
Justice is the tenth head coach in program history; she is also the fourth coach to take the helm since the 1997-1998 season. The Bearkats, since that 97-98 season, have made nine appearances in the Southland Conference tournament and one appearance at the Women’s National Invitational Tournament [WNIT].
She started off her portion of the press conference with a lot of thanks to the people close to her.
“This program has such a rich tradition and great potential and I am truly excited to be a Bearkat today,” Justice said. “I would like to say thanks to my biggest support system- my family. My parents were the first to teach me that I control my own destiny and that with hard work and belief in myself that I can achieve all of my dreams.”
SHSU is still looking for its first appearance in the Women’s March Madness tournament in program history and is hoping that Justice will be the newfound answer to getting rid of that dry spell.
Justice’s resume includes a tenure at Houston Baptist University, when they were still a team in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), where she was an assistant coach for five seasons. She helped HBU moved from a D-II to a D-I athletic program once they left the RRAC in 2007 and joined the Southland Conference that following season.
Justice also has experience as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Houston, helping lead the Cougars to a Women’s March Madness appearance in her first season as head coach of the program. In that 2010-2011 season, the Cougars ended the season with a record of 26-6, sending UH back to the March Madness tournament for the first time since the 2004-2005 season.
Justice talked a bit about her recruiting technique and how she goes about finding players for the future of the program.
“We recruit character first,” Justice said. “That’s important to me. Character goes a long way because that ball is going to stop bouncing. So, that’s why we want to make sure we recruit the right student athletes. [Also] athletes that can play at a high level, that has passion for this game, that has a lot of energy, that takes care of their bodies so they can last in games. So, my recruiting philosophy is character first, great athletes and winners.”
Justice joined the Panthers at Prairie View A&M University on April 12, 2016 with her first head coaching job. While at PVAMU, Justice posted records of 15-16 (12-6 conference) in the 2017-2018 season and 13-18 (8-10) in the 2016-2017 season. Both of those seasons saw fairly great home records, as the Panthers were able to grab a home record of 10-3 in the 17-18 season and 11-2 in the 16-17 season.
During the 2016-2017 season, Justice took on the Bearkats at the William J. Nicks building in Prairie View on Dec 3. Her Panthers defeated the Bearkats by a final score of 75-65. The two did not meet in the 2017-2018 season.
The Bearkats look to have Justice take them back to the postseason and reach the March Madness tournament for the first time in program history as she starts her first campaign this coming fall.