Loyola (IL) tabs Sheryl Swoopes

CHICAGO -- Sheryl Swoopes, one of the top players is women's basketball history, is the new coach at Loyola of Chicago.

The school announced the hiring Friday.

A standout at Texas Tech in the early 1990s and the first three-time MVP in the WNBA, Swoopes will try to boost a program that has struggled in recent years but finished with a winning record this past season.

The Ramblers only finished higher than fifth in the Horizon League once under former coach Eric Simpson, who resigned after leading them to a 57-66 record in four seasons. They went 17-15 this past season and reached the Horizon championship game.

"I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the Loyola University Chicago women's basketball program," Swoopes said in a statement. "Loyola is a special place and I immediately felt welcome here. Having played for some of the game's best coaches as well as with and against some of the most talented players in women's basketball history, I have broadened my knowledge and hope to use those experiences to bring championships to Rogers Park. There is a lot of talent already in place and I cannot wait to get into the gym and get started."

A three-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA champion, Swoopes stopped playing in 2011, and spent the past season as a TV analyst for Texas Tech women's games. In 2005, she announced she is gay.

"We are thrilled to welcome Sheryl Swoopes to the Loyola family. She is a proven winner at every level of competition, and a respected mentor of young women," athletic director Dr. M. Grace Calhoun said. "Beyond her unparalleled competitive success, her vision for Loyola women's basketball, knowledge of the game and industry, and infectious energy left us confident Sheryl will build Rambler women's basketball into a perennial national contender."