There’s a spot to fill on the James Madison women’s basketball staff, and with the recent upward trajectory of Dukes assistants, JMU head coach Sean O’Regan expects to have an impressive talent pool to choose from.
Ashley Langford, who spent the past four seasons on the JMU staff, was named the head coach at Stony Brook on Wednesday. She’s the second of O’Regan’s former assistants to take a head coaching job this month, joining new Northeastern coach Bridgette Mitchell.
Additionally, Lindsay Edmonds, who once served as an assistant at JMU alongside O’Regan under current Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks, recently took over at Rice after eight years as an assistant at North Carolina State.
This year she was joined on the Wolfpack bench by former JMU player Lexie Barrier, who served as a grad assistant. Last week, Barrier took her first full-time coaching job as an assistant at Marshall.
“I joked with Sean the other day, ‘Look at you, you’ve got two head coaches in two weeks,’” Langford said. “JMU, and of course Coach (Kenny) Brooks started it, but it’s that winning tradition. When I first came to JMU, that was a big piece of why I came. I wanted to be part of a winning program and I wanted to learn and grow. I had ambitions of becoming a head coach and Sean knew that from the beginning. The environment they built, it’s learning from there and getting used to winning and all the things you should learn. The results speak for themselves.”
O’Regan has been thrilled for everyone he’s worked with at JMU who has moved up in the coaching industry over the past few weeks. Mitchell spent two seasons as an assistant at Pittsburgh after three years at James Madison. But Langford’s ascent to a head coach’s chair directly from the JMU bench has him particularly excited.
“The fact that Ashley did it from here, I think is more significant for our program,” O’Regan said. “This is not even talking about how excited I am for Ashley, herself. But for our program, you can get a great job from here. In the future that is going to help us retain assistants and help with the quality of assistants we can get is that fact that you can get a head coaching job. And it’s not like she’s scraping off the bottom of jobs. Stony Brook is a great job.”
Langford heads to the Long Island school to replace Caroline McCombs, who accepted the head coaching job at George Washington of the Virginia-based Atlantic 10 Conference.
McCombs went 130-76 in seven seasons at Stony Brook and guided the Seawolves to back-to-back America East championships and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last month.
The opportunity to take over a successful program ultimately convinced Langford it was the right time to leave JMU.
“Through this process, Stony Brook has always been a great fit for me,” Langford said. “I was looking at what a successful program it’s been. It’s nice. It’s very similar to Sean walking in at JMU because the foundation is there. Now it’s a matter of keeping up the standard and maintaining that, but also taking it to new heights.”