Hoops Rallies, Holds Off Florida in SEC Quarters; Mathies leads Kentucky with 24 points, 21 in the second half
Shalon Pillow enters her fourth season as an assistant coach at Kentucky. Along with recruiting and scouting duties, Pillow is responsible for the post players.
Pillow was instrumental in the development of Samarie Walker into one of the top post players in the Southeastern Conference in her first year with the Wildcats, averaging 8.7 points and 7.2 rebounds in her first season with UK. Under Pillow's tutelage, Walker was an All-Regional Tournament team selection at the Kingston Regional, and will pair with fellow transfer DeNesha Stallworth to form what many experts believe to be one of the top front courts in the SEC.
In her first season in the Bluegrass, Pillow's tireless and consistent work ethic blended in perfectly with the UK Hoops staff. She coached and mentored the Wildcat post players, which included forward Victoria Dunlap, UK's first SEC Player of the Year and first State Farm/WBCA All-American since 1983. The Wildcats also enjoyed a record-breaking season that included a program-best 28 wins, a second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference and an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight.
In her second year, Pillow once again helped lead the Cats to an impressive season as UK advanced to its second straight NCAA Tournament and finished ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll. The Wildcats finished second in the SEC race with a school-record-tying 11 league wins.
Dunlap was again named SEC Player of the Year by the AP and she ended her illustrious career ranked No. 2 in career scoring and rebounding. Dunlap made history by becoming the highest draft pick in school history as she was the 11th overall selection in the first round of the WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.
Pillow, an Addyston, Ohio, native came to Kentucky after one season as an assistant coach at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., and three seasons at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.
At Hofstra, Pillow coached the post players and helped the Pride compile a 16-14 record, which ranked as one of the top turnarounds in women's college basketball. Hofstra's 11-game improvement from the 2007-08 season ranked fourth-best nationally.
Two of her post players received all-conference honors, as Joelle Connelly was named the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, and Jess Fuller, who ranked seventh nationally in blocks, was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team.
At USF, Pillow was the director of basketball operations for one season before being promoted to assistant coach during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. She was responsible for scouting opponents and individual player development, and also assisted in the evaluation of potential student-athletes. She was also in charge of the team's academic program and helped organize coaches' clinics.
Prior to her coaching stints at Hofstra and USF, Pillow was Camp Director and Event Operator for the Ohio Girls Basketball Report (OGBR), where she was responsible for directing the largest 8-10th grade summer camp in the Midwest. She also directed the Top 64 Showcase, and handled pre- and post-camp evaluations. In addition to her position with the OGBR, Pillow served as a guest services representative at the Argosy Hotel in Lawrenceburg, Ind., from 2003-05, where she assisted in the facility's marketing and promotions.
Pillow, a 6-3 center, was a four-year letterwinner (1998-2002) at Tennessee under legendary coach Pat Summitt. She played in 108 career games and helped the Lady Vols advance to four NCAA Tournaments, including two Final Four appearances. In her collegiate career, the Lady Vols recorded a remarkable 124-5 record and a 53-3 slate in the SEC.
She graduated from UT in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in general psychology and a minor in communications.
Following graduation, Pillow played for the Tennessee Fury of the National Women's Basketball League during its inaugural season, and appeared in 20 games. She also served as an assistant coach with the varsity team at Taylor High School in North Bend, Ohio, from 2003-04 and worked the Lady Vols' summer camps from 1998-2001.
The 31-year-old was a highly decorated player coming out of Taylor High School, earning Nike and Parade Magazine All-America honors after averaging 22.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.1 blocks and 3.0 steals per game as a senior. She also was tabbed by USA Today as one of the top 20 scholastic players in America and was a finalist for the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award.
Personal Full Name: Shalon Pillow Birthday: Sept. 7, 1980 Hometown: Addyston, Ohio High School: Taylor High School College: Tennessee, '02 Degree: Bachelor's degree in general psychology
Coaching Career 2009-Current: Assistant Coach, Kentucky 2008-09: Assistant Coach, Hofstra 2006-08: Assistant Coach, South Florida 2005-06: Director of Basketball Operations, South Florida
Playing Career at Tennessee Four-year letterwinner ... Played in 108 career games ... Helped the Lady Vols advance to four NCAA Tournaments, including two Final Fours and one NCAA runner-up (2000) ... Two-time SEC Champion ... Helped Lady Vols record a remarkable 124-5 record and a 53-3 slate in the SEC during her career.
Getting to Know Coach Pillow
Started playing basketball in 3rd grade with the boys team Daughter of Dan and Ann Pillow Has one sister, Monique, and a brother, LaMar All-state in volleyball and participated in the state track meet for high jump and shot put High school football homecoming queen as a senior Voted Most Likely to Succeed and Most Athletic as a high school senior Favorite professional athlete: "My cousin Brian Grant, former NBA star for the Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers." Favorite music artist: "Bob Marley." Favorite thing about coaching: "Relationships built with players." If I weren't coaching basketball I would: "Own a community center." Favorite thing about Kentucky basketball: "The fans." Most famous person you've ever met? "LL Cool J." Person that has most influenced you in life, why? "My parents because they are honest and hard-working people who taught me the importance of having good character and to treat people the way you want to be treated."
On Kentucky: "Kentucky is a great place. The support we have from the administration and all around campus is unbelievable and the atmosphere our fans create is heads and shoulders above the rest. I love working with Coach Matthew Mitchell and this staff. We fit together extremely well and it's a real family atmosphere. Coach Mitchell is a man of great character and he practices what he preaches. There's no place I'd rather be."