Former Elma hoops star Craighead named head coach at San Jose State

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SAN JOSE, Calif.— Former Elma High School basketball standout Jamie Craighead has been named the women’s basketball head coach at San Jose State University, it was announced last week.

“I appreciate the opportunity that (Athletics Director) Gene Bleymaier and (Deputy Director) Marie Tuite have given me,” said Craighead. “After hearing about their vision for the women’s basketball program at San Jose State, I am really excited to take on the challenge of this opportunity.

“I enjoy living and working in Northern California and have good recruiting ties in the area. I can not wait for the challenge of competing in the Mountain West Conference, a league for which I have tremendous respect.”

Craighead comes to San Jose State after spending the past four seasons at Sacramento State, where she was the winningest women’s head basketball coach in the last 20 years and the only coach to post a winning conference record at Sacramento State since they entered the league in the 1996-97 season. Under her guidance, the Hornets reached the Big Sky Conference Tournament for just the fifth (2012) and sixth (2013) times in program history. In those appearances, Sacramento State earned its first tournament wins and reached the semifinal round both years.

The youngest head coach in Division I when she took over the Hornets in 2009, Craighead’s teams, playing a fast-break type offense, led the Big Sky Conference in scoring in each of her four seasons.

During her tenure at Sacramento State, nine of her players garnered All-Big Sky honors. She coached 2011-12 Big Sky Freshman of the Year Fantasia Hilliard, and over 20 of her athletes received Academic All-Big Sky Conference honors for their work in the classroom.

Craighead started her coaching career in 2002 under two-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year Gordy Presnell at Seattle Pacific University. In her three years at SPU, the team posted an 89-5 record, won three PacWest Conference titles, qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament each year and reached the championship game in 2005. After her success in Seattle, she spent two seasons as an assistant at Portland State University before taking a position at Sacramento State.

Universally regarded as one of the top female basketball players in Grays Harbor history, Craighead was an all-state guard at Elma. Averaging more than 21 points and nearly 10 assists per game, she led the Eagles to consecutive fourth-place finishes at state as a junior and senior in 1997 and 1998.

As a collegiate player at the University of Oregon, Craighead led the Ducks to the 2002 WNIT championship after three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. When she finished her career, her 182 3-point field goals ranked second all-time in Ducks history.

Craighead earned honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 honors as a senior and graduated from Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in educational studies in 2002.