Former Professional Player & California Native Hired As Full-Time Assistant Coach

The Ferris State University women's basketball program has announced the official appointment of Crystal Harris as the school's new assistant women's basketball coach. The announcement was made Tuesday (Nov. 6) by 10th-year FSU head coach Tracey Dorow.

Crystal Harris The 25-year old Harris replaces former assistant coach Justin Rees, who departed Big Rapids in August after five seasons under Dorow for an assistant coaching position with the University of Maine on the NCAA Division I level.

A native of Vista, Calif., Harris arrives at FSU with significant playing experience on the professional level. She formerly played professionally for a season in the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) for the San Diego Siege. Additionally, she played internationally in Switzerland for Club Elfic, Fribourg. Harris also played in Demark for Club HBC.

"Crystal is an exceptional communicator who has a ton of energy and enthusiasm," said Dorow. "She's an up-and-coming coach who's eager to be in the gym with our players and I'm thrilled she chose to join our program."

Harris, who led both of her international teams in scoring and rebounding, helped guide the San Diego Siege to a first place league finish while her Club HBC squad earned a bronze medal in Denmark.

A 2005 graduate of the University of California-Riverside with a degree in Sociology, Harris was a three-time All-Big West Conference honoree for the Highlanders at the NCAA Divison I level. The two-time team Most Valuable Player Award recipient scored over 1,000 career points at the collegiate level and is on the school's all-time leaders list in more than 16 statistical categories.

Harris started 26 of 28 games her final season (2003-04) and finished second among Cal-Riverside's leading scorers by averaging 15.2 points per contest. She shot 43% from the floor and tallied five rebounds a game as a senior. Harris averaged 10 points or more in each of her final three seasons of collegiate action and twice served as team captain.

"As a coach, she sets lofty goals and expects our student-athletes to exceed those goals," Dorow said. "She's displayed great common sense and is so good with people.

"She'll be both an outstanding coach and mentor to our players," added Dorow.

As a collegiate student-athlete, Harris was active in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) along with the SAMS (Student-Athlete Mentors) program. During her playing career, she's had the opportunity to play with and against a number of current and former WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) players such as Ruth Riley (San Antonio Silver Stars), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars), Loree Moore (New York Liberty) and Kristen Mann (Minnesota Lynx).

Harris attended high school and competed on the prep level for the Rancho Buena Vista Longhors in Vista, Calif. The four-year letterwinner was a three-time All-Palomar League recipient and a two-time all-county selection. The team captain twice earned team MVP honors and tallied over 1,000 career points on the prep level. In addition to basketball, she also participated in softball and volleyball. Harris, who received the school's female Student-Athlete of the Year Award in 2000, also received both conference and county recognition as a volleyball player. She also served as an athletic chairman.

The daughter of Jeff and Cheri Harris, Crystal has two brothers, Ryan and Cameron, along with a sister, Amber. Her father played collegiate football for four years at Brigham Young University while her mother was a professional dancer.

Harris currently resides in Big Rapids.

The Bulldog women's basketball squad, which topped NCAA Division I Central Michigan 83-61 in exhibition play last Thursday (Nov. 1) at Mount Pleasant, officially opens the 2007-08 season by taking part in the Quincy (Ill.) Subway Tipoff Tourney Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-17, in Quincy, Ill. FSU takes on the host Hawks Friday (Nov. 16) at 8 p.m. (EST) with the tourney's consolation and championship games set for Saturday at 3 p.m. (EST) and 5:15 p.m. (EST), respectively.

The FSU women's basketball squad returns three starters and eight letterwinners from one of the most successful seasons in school history a year ago. Ferris State, which advanced to the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Championship Game for the first time ever last season, was ranked 25th nationally in the final 2006-07 USA Today/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll. The Bulldogs, who prior to last year had never won a NCAA Tournament game, recorded back-to-back wins in their first two national tournament contests en route to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen finish. Ferris also compiled a second-place tying 13-5 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular-season finish and earned the program's eighth consecutive GLIAC Tournament bid.

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