Former Ole Miss assistant coach Tai Dillard was brought in as an assistant coach by head coach Ronald Hughey back on May 6, 2014
Dillard comes to Houston with seven years of Division I basketball coaching experience under her belt, after spending the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach at Ole Miss, mainly working with Rebels' backcourt. She helped develop senior point guard Valencia McFarland into one of the top players in school history, as she led Ole Miss with 6.3 assists per game, while also serving as the team's leading scorer, pouring in an average of 17.0 points per contest. McFarland's 1,655 career points rank sixth on the program's all-time list.
"I'm extremely excited to have Tai Dillard become a part of our coaching staff," said Hughey. "She's a fantastic hands-on coach and has a great way of connecting with student-athletes on and off the court. She played at the University of Texas and spent time coaching at UTSA, so she knows the type of talent the state of Texas has to offer."
Prior to her stint at Ole Miss, Dillard spent one season on the West Coast, serving as an assistant coach under legendry head coach Michael Cooper at USC during the 2012-13 campaign. While in Southern California, she helped coach guards Brianna Barrett and Ariya Crook to Pac-12 All-Conference honors.
Before arriving at USC, the San Antonio, Texas native spent five seasons on the sideline at University of Texas-San Antonio. While at UTSA, Dillard's primary duties included working with the guards, recruiting, and organizing summer camps.
Dillard put her Texas ties to work right from the beginning, helping to construct back-to-back NCAA Tournament teams in 2008 and 2009, as the Roadrunners won 20-plus games each season and captured the Southland Conference Tournament Championship in both years. UTSA also claimed the Southland regular season title in 2009.
While at UTSA, 11 of Dillard's players earned All-Southland Conference awards. Her work with Monica Gibbs helped mold Gibbs into UTSA's all-time assists and rebounding leader, a three-time all-conference performer, the Southland Player of the Year and the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Before hitting the collegiate coaching circuit, Dillard spent some time at Sam Houston High, where she served as the head cross country coach and assistant basketball and track and field coach.
Dillard's talents also extend to the playing court, where she was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Texas, playing under Hall of Fame head coach Jody Conradt.
While at Texas (1999-2003), Dillard helped lead the Longhorns to four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including a trip to the Final Four during her senior year. Dillard started 34 games that season and helped UT obtain an overall record of 29-6. She also was a two-time Big-12 All-Academic honoree.
As a pro, Dillard played for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars from 2003-05, appearing in 57 games. She briefly played in the National Women's Basketball League for the Houston Stealth in 2004 and gained more experience overseas while playing in the Israeli Premier Basketball League for the Macabbi Tel Kabir from 2004-05.
Dillard, a native of San Antonio, Texas, received her bachelor's degree in kinesiology in 2003.