The Claflin University athletics department announced the hiring of Revonda Whitley as new head women's basketball coach and Mary Rotimi as new head women's volleyball coach on Monday.
Whitley’s appointment was effective July 24 while Rotimi’s appointment was effective July 31.
Whitley joins the Lady Panthers staff after serving 13 years as the associate head coach at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), an NCAA Division I program.
“We are pleased to have someone of Whitley’s caliber join our staff,” Dr. Jerome Fitch, Claflin's athletic director said. “Her length of service and experience on the Division I level was a major consideration in her selection and I’m confident that she has the capability to lead the Lady Panther program to sustained success in the SIAC.”
Whitley is no stranger to the state of South Carolina, having played collegiately at Winthrop University in Rock Hill. She was a four-year standout for the Eagles women’s basketball program from 1990 to 1994, ending a stellar career, with more than 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 140 steals.
“I’m excited to return to the area where it all started for me,” Whitley said. “I began volunteering with then head varsity girls coach Tammy Shadd at Eau Claire High School and my passion to develop young student-athletes grew from there.”
“To be chosen as the head women’s basketball coach at Claflin is an absolute honor and privilege. I say this because of the academic prestige of the institution as well as the vision that President (Henry) Tisdale has for moving the institution forward. I felt immediately that Claflin was the right fit for me.”
Whitley began her collegiate coaching career at Elizabeth City State in 2001, just an hour away from where she grew up in Pantego, N.C. During her tenure at Elizabeth City State, she served as the head volleyball coach for two seasons (2003-04), while also serving as an adjunct professor in the Physical Education Department (2002-04).
Her coaching resume includes stints with the Columbia Warriors men's semi-professional basketball team (1998), The Timmerman School (1999) and she was also the head junior varsity coach at Eau Claire High School (2000), all in Columbia.
She graduated from Winthrop with a degree in psychology and earned a master's degree in human performance and sport studies (sport psychology) from the University of Tennessee in 1997.
Rotimi rejoins the coaching ranks after serving as the Program Director with the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia the past three years. She succeeds Ashley Jordan who was named volleyball coach in March, but was unable to remain in the position due to personal reasons.
“We are pleased to have Coach Rotimi join our staff,” Dr. Fitch said. “She has extensive experience in the sport of volleyball at various levels and her experience will help the Claflin volleyball team continue its winning tradition.”
Prior to her stint with the Boys and Girls Club, Rotimi spent one season (2013-14) as the assistant athletic director of recreation and head volleyball coach at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. In addition she was the assistant women’s basketball coach at Wilmington University (2012-2014) in New Castle, Del. and the head women’s volleyball coach at Manor College (2012-2013).
Rotimi began her coaching career at Delaware County Community College where she served as the head women’s basketball coach and head women’s volleyball coach for two seasons (2008-2010).
“It feels good to be back in coaching, it’s definitely something I’ve been looking to do,” Rotimi said. “Being chosen as the head coach volleyball at Claflin University is a great opportunity.
"Knowing that it is a winning program, I see nothing but great things for this program.”
Rotimi was a standout basketball player at Lincoln University (Pa). She finished with the most career double-doubles in Lady Lion history (37). Rotimi scored 921 points with 814 rebounds over four seasons (2003-2007). During her career, she averaged 12.2 points and 10.8 rebounds. In 2005 she was inducted into the Lincoln University (Pa) Athletics Hall of Fame.
Rotimi earned a degree in health science from Lincoln and a master's degree in public administration with a graduate certificate in sports management and athletics from West Chester in 2011.