VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State Athletic Director Herb Reinhard announced Saturday the hiring of Deandra Shirmer as the next women's basketball coach at VSU. Schirmer replaces former head coach Carley Kuhns, who recently took the head coaching position at Division I Samford University.
"I'm incredibly humbled by this opportunity to join the Valdosta State family," Schirmer said. "It is very evident once you step on campus, that the supportive administration and community have been instrumental in developing the tradition of success here at Valdosta State. I want to express my sincerest appreciation to President Dr. Carvajal and Athletic Director Herb Reinhard for choosing me to be VSU's head women's basketball coach. I am eager to get started and continue building VSU into a national contender, while empowering these women to have success both on and off the court."
Schirmer has been an assistant coach at Eckerd College in Florida for the past five years and was elevated to Associate Head Coach in 2018. She also served as recruiting coordinator for the Tritons where her leadership and player development has helped produce the three most successful seasons in program history. Prior to Schirmer's arrival at EC, the Tritons had not earned a NCAA postseason bid in the 32-year history of the program.
In 2016-17, the Tritons went 27-5 and claimed the program's first Sunshine State Conference regular season and tournament championships, earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament and hosted the South Region Tournament. In the regional, Schirmer helped guide the Tritons to the first NCAA tournament victory in program history.
In her first season at Eckerd in 2014-15, EC won 23 games and qualified for the South Region Tournament for the first time. Eckerd surpassed the 20-win mark in 2017-18, earning its third trip to the regional. This past season, Eckerd went 22-10 and earned a berth in its fourth regional in five years. Schirmer helped guide Eckerd to a 106-45 record during her time in St. Petersburg, Fla. Schirmer has worked under head coach Paul Honsinger who has been with the school for 13 years.
"I am excited to have Deandra join our VSU Athletic Department as our new Lady Blazer head coach," Reinhard said. "Deandra has been an integral part of the success Eckerd has enjoyed in her five seasons there. Eckerd advanced to the NCAA Tournament four of the five seasons, and is considered to be one of the top programs in the Southeast. I am confident Deandra will build on the outstanding foundation of success we have with our women's basketball program."
Prior to Eckerd, Schirmer was a graduate assistant coach at Georgia State in 2013-14, after serving a role as Athletics Marketing Graduate Assistant at GSU.
She began her playing career at Cloud County Community College (Kan.), earning all-conference and all-region honors. While at Cloud County, she helped lead the team to a 26-7 record as a sophomore and was named Jayhawk Conference Western Division Second Team and was an all-region selection.
Schirmer then transferred to University of South Carolina-Aiken where the team finished eighth nationally in NCAA Division II her senior Year. She earned CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District First Team honors her senior year.
Originally from Holton, Kan., she was an all-state performer in basketball and volleyball in high school. Schirmer was a team captain for both sports and also lettered in cross country and softball, while receiving the prestigious Naismith Award.
Shirmer earned her bachelor's degree from USCA in business marketing and earned a master's degree of sports administration from Georgia State.
An introductory press conference for Shirmer will be announced at a later date.