Destinee Rogers kicks ass and kicks open doors

In the year 2022, history has been made by Arkansas State by hiring the first Black woman head coach in A-State Athletics history.

Destinee Rogers, an assistant under former head coach Matt Daniels and interim head coach since Daniel’s mid-season departure, was officially announced as the Arkansas State Women’s Basketball head coach on Monday morning, ending a 27-year streak of white guys holding that position.

Tom Bowen, A-State Athletic Director Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, had this to say about Rogers’ promotion: “When we promoted Destinee to our interim head coach this past December, she immediately united the team in the face of adversity. Her high character and leadership traits were on display throughout the remainder of the season, and she always put our student-athletes first while providing them with the best opportunities for success both on and off the court.”

Rogers, previously player and assistant at Central Arkansas, replaced Daniels with a calm and confidence that made it difficult to look past her. Her season’s leadership was both positive and frank. She can wax aspirational and she can be blunt. There was room for both this season: an eighth-place finish in the Sun Belt with a 12-16 record exacerbated by season-ending injuries to star players.

Though the season was a disappointment, it was clear that Rogers had earned her shot. She assumed command of the ship and weathered the storm. This off-season, her recruiting skills will be sorely tested with four players entering the Transfer Portal, including leading scorers Jireh Washington and Trinitee Jackson. This is now her program to build. Next year’s team will be a true Destinee Rogers squad.

While Coach Rogers takes a big step in her career, Arkansas State dips a toe into modern times. Rogers isn’t the first woman to helm A-State women’s basketball – in fact, women have led the program the first 21 years of existence, starting with Kay Woodiel in 1974. Rogers is, however, the first Black head coach in the program’s history, opening a door closed for far too long.

PHOTO CREDIT: A-State Athletics