OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Just two days after being named the ninth head coach in Ole Miss women’s basketball history, Yolett McPhee-McCuin was officially introduced alongside Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork at a press conference and public introduction on Friday afternoon inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
McPhee-McCuin – known colloquially as “Coach Yo” – spent the previous five seasons transforming Jacksonville into a perennial power in the Atlantic Sun Conference. During her tenure as head coach, McPhee-McCuin led the Dolphins to a 94-63 record (50-24 in ASUN play) and postseason appearances in each of her last three seasons.
“Coach Yo is a proven winner,” Bjork said today. “She is a recruiting machine. She develops players. These interpersonal relationships she will develop with her team is a must in college athletics today. She cares about academics. She’s disciplined. She has passion. She has integrity. And above all, she is a leader. The other thing that’s important, and we talked about this, (are) expectations for our basketball program. We also wanted a leader who has vision like we do, really someone who would grasp and have an energetic vision around our program and someone who saw the potential – just like on the men’s side. The other thing about it is that we have resources in place, and someone who could come in and capitalize on those resources was very important.”
McPhee-McCuin, who also serves as the national team head coach for her native Bahamas, took over a program at Jacksonville that had only won 20 or more games in a season twice in its entire history and proceeded to march the Dolphins to three-straight 20-win campaigns in her final three years.
“The number one goal for the program will be to be better every day, and be better tomorrow than we were the day before,” McPhee-McCuin said today. “That is the focus, and you will hear that a lot, that will be the staple: to get better. The people that I’m going to bring in here and the support that we have is going to put us in a situation where you will be able to witness the process of growth. Anytime that you come on and are building a program – by the way, this is prime real estate here at Ole Miss – you need to be focused on bringing people that understand to embrace the process of growth.”
In 2015-16, McPhee-McCuin and the Dolphins made history, capturing the program's first ASUN Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth with an upset in the conference championship game over two-time defending champion Florida Gulf Coast. The victory snapped FGCU's seven-year, 71-game home streak against ASUN opponents and boosted Jacksonville to a 22-11 record.
McPhee-McCuin's team followed that up with two more 20-win seasons and the first two WNIT appearances in JU history in 2016-17 (23-9, 11-3 ASUN) and 2017-18 (24-9, 12-2) with the final season seeing the Dolphins break the school record for single-season wins. In 2016-17, Jacksonville was the lone ASUN program to receive votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and earned the first WNIT at-large ever given to an ASUN team.
Prior to her time at Jacksonville, McPhee-McCuin was an assistant at Clemson from 2011-13, where she was recognized as one of the top assistants in the nation by National Women's Basketball Insider. While with the Tigers, McPhee-McCuin solidified her reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country, spearheading the No. 16 class in the nation in her final year at Clemson, which included five McDonalds All-America nominees.
Before her stint at Clemson, McPhee-McCuin was on staff at Pittsburgh for two seasons in 2009 and 2010. She was part of a pair of postseason appearances with Panthers, who rose to No. 14 in the national rankings and advanced to a Sweet 16.
Her coaching career also includes stops at Portland, Frank Phillips College and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where she earned her master's degree in physical education with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
McPhee-McCuin received her bachelor's in business management and administration from Rhode Island in 2004, playing in 56 games over her junior and senior years at URI and helping the Rams advance to the 2003 A-10 title game. She played her first two seasons at Miami-Dade Community College.
In addition to her collegiate coaching duties, McPhee-McCuin has served as the head coach for Bahamian national team since 2013. Her crowning achievement was the first Caribbean Basketball Confederation title for Bahamas in 10 years after a 55-51 win over Jamaica to qualify for the 2016 CentroBasket Championship. The success capped a very successful tournament outing with a perfect 5-0 record, and McPhee-McCuin became the first female coach to win a CBC title.
McPhee-McCuin was the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division I letter of intent to play basketball, becoming a trailblazer in the process for other aspiring athletes from her home country. She is the first Bahamian woman to coach at a Division I program, and was the first black female head coach at Jacksonville before now becoming the first black female head coach in Ole Miss women's basketball history.
McPhee-McCuin is also part of two Halls of Fame across both her playing and coaching career. In 2016, she was inducted into the Bahamian Athletic Hall of Fame alongside Buddy Hield (of the NBA's Sacramento Kings) and Jonquel Jones (of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun). In 2013, she was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and was one of 10 recipients of the Pathfinder Award for their distinguished achievement outside of New England.
An active member of the coaching community, McPhee-McCuin is a member of the "So You Want to be a Coach" program through the WBCA, and she holds membership in the Women of Color Association. In 2013, McPhee-McCuin joined the Center of Coaching Excellence's yearly class.
Throughout her coaching career, McPhee-McCuin has had a large impact in every community in which she has coached. She developed a foundation in the Bahamas called Back2Basics, which helps the development of children through education and athletics. Additionally, she was involved in numerous community service projects at her other coaching stops.
The former Yolett McPhee and her husband, Kelly McCuin, have two daughters: Yasmine and Yuri.