Havre's Payne lands a college head coaching job
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Former Havre Blue Pony Loree Payne has done a lot in her basketball career.
Now Payne can add collegiate head coach to that resume.
With seven years of collegiate coaching experience and extensive recruiting ties in the West, the University of Puget Sound has selected Payne as its head women's basketball coach. Payne, a University of Washington basketball standout, emerged as a leading candidate among a strong and diverse pool after a nationwide search.
"I am so excited to be part of the University of Puget Sound family," said Payne in a press release by Puget Sound. "This is an amazing opportunity at an excellent university with a great tradition in academics and women's basketball.
I feel honored to be chosen to continue the tradition of success that has been built by Coach Barcomb and the alumna of this program." Payne, a native of Havre, has spent all of her playing and coaching career in the Northwest. Most recently, Payne spent the last three years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Washington. At UW, she served as the recruiting coordinator for the Huskies as well as working with the perimeter players.
In addition, she has helped guide current Huskies to successful academic careers as the team's academic liaison.
Payne, a former fourtime Class A All-State basketball player at Havre High, and a Gatorade Player of the Year in Montana, also once helped lead the Blue Ponies to the Class A state championship.
"We are extremely impressed with Loree's enthusiasm, passion, and desire to be a part of the Puget Sound community," stated Athletic Director Amy Hackett. "She offers the confidence to create a positive environment in which student-athletes can grow, thrive and excel in all aspects of their college experiences." Payne previously spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Portland after spending her first year of coaching at Northwest Nazarene University.
As a player, Payne was dominant on the court as well as in the classroom.
After being named to the Pacific-10 All-Freshmen team in 2000, Payne led the Huskies to three consecutive postseason appearances from 2001-03, including a berth in the Elite 8 of the 2001 Women's NCAA Tournament.
She was also a two-time All-Pac-10 player as a junior and senior as well as a three-time All-Academic Pac-10 honoree to round out a stellar playing career.
Payne's name still appears in the Huskies record books where she currently holds or shares six school records.
After her freshman year, Payne was selected to play for the 2000 USA national team. She helped the USA team to a gold medal finish in the Jone's Cup in Taiwan.
She was also inducted into the Montana High School Association Hall of Fame in
"My philosophy and values as a coach are in strong alignment with the mission of the university and the athletic department, making Puget Sound the perfect fit," added Payne. "The Pacific Northwest is my home and I look forward to a long tenure here as the head women's basketball coach." Payne will fill the vacancy left by Suzy Barcomb, who took a job as head coach at Cal State East Bay in June.
Barcomb left the Loggers as the program's most successful coach in history after 13 years with a 261-92 record.
Note: Havre Daily News Sports Editor George Ferguson contributed to this story.