Elena Lovato joins the Cougar women's basketball staff this season, bringing to Houston a wide variety of experiences as a coach and as a player on both the collegiate and professional levels. Included in her duties with the team, is coordinating game tape exchange, oversight of the team's academic and community service as well as assisting with on-the-floor coaching and recruiting.
Prior to UH, Lovato spent one season as a graduate assistant at Pitt State, in Pittsburg, Kan. During her time at PSU, she helped with game tape exchange, monitoring the team's academic success, opponent scouting, travel arrangements and recruiting as well as traditional coaching duties.
In addition to her experience at the collegiate level, Lovato also has coached at the prep level, serving as the head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Mo. While coaching at BHS, she also spent one year as a physical education teacher at Buffalo Prairie Middle School, earning 2007 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year honors.
She also has coached and taught at Menaul High School in her hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., where she served as interim head women's basketball coach as well as assistant boys' coach.
Lovato brings the experience of sales with her to Houston, after working from December 2003 to March 2006 in private business.
No short of accomplishments on the court as a player, Lovato started her collegiate career at West Texas A&M where she played for two seasons (1997-99) before transferring to Missouri Southern State to play her final two seasons, earning team captain and MIAA Newcomer of the Year honors in 1999-2000.
Following her collegiate career, she played in the Puerto Rican Women's Pro Basketball League for two years. In 2001, she earned First-Team All-League honors, averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds per game. She averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game in 2002.
In 2002, she also played for the Chicago Blaze of the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL).
Lovato received her bachelor's degree in university studies from Missouri Southern State in May 2005 and graduated from Pitt State with her master's degree in physical education in May 2008.
She is single and lives in Houston.