Natasha Adair Introduced as ASU Women’s Basketball Head Coach

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The hiring process for the next ASU women’s basketball head coach was uncharted territory for the leaders of the athletic department. None of them were in Tempe when the program hired Charli Turner Thorne a quarter-century ago. 

Turner Thorne brought the program relevance and a consistent beast in women’s basketball’s toughest conference, reaching the NCAA tournament 14 times in her tenure. 

While it is tough to replace a coaching legend, the blueprint was clear for the athletic department.

“When I informed President Crow that in fact this was our situation, his encouragement to me was, ‘Go get a great one for this program,'” ASU athletic director Ray Anderson said. “Go get a great one that will take us back to A-status with the potential to go to A+ status. And he instructed us to go get the premier coach with premier-plus potential.”

Former Delaware Blue Hens head coach Natasha Adair is tasked with that goal. 

Adair has familiarity with taken over a program after a long-tenured coach steps away. Tina Martin was the Delaware head coach for 21 seasons before Adair was named head coach, where she posted a 95-58 record over five seasons.

It’s a new chapter for Sun Devil women’s basketball, but Adair knows the program wouldn’t be where it is if not for building Turner Thorne accomplished in her 25 years with the program.

“To Charlie Turner Thorne: Thank you. Thank you,” Adair said. “She’s laid the foundation for this program.”

“As I take on this program, as I lead these young women, please know that I will lead with love. I will encourage them. I will inspire them by encouraging them to take risks, that they know calculated risks so they know what they can accomplish. That will be there every step of the way encouraging them along their journey toward success.”

Adair led the Blue Hens to three CAA conference championships in five years and back-to-back 20-win seasons. She laid out what Sun Devil fans can expect on the court, mentioning ASU will “dominate with defense.”

“Our formula is defend, rebound, run, and score in that order.”

Turner Thorne hoped the next Sun Devil head coach would continue the tradition of making this program transformative for its players and not a transactional program. At her retirement announcement, she stressed the importance of developing young women and not just basketball players.

Adair lines up with that mindset as well.

She is a founding member of the Black Coaches United and has been recognized by Advancement of Blacks in Sports as a top women’s basketball coach in the country. She has been featured on ESPNW’s “Around the Rim” with LaChina Robinson adan Delaware’s UD Winning Women in Athletics: Trailblazers and Changemakers Webinar Series. She also was also on the CAA United for Change committee and Studet-Athletes Against Social Injustice Task Force. She wants to continue those focuses in Tempe.

“When you empower your student-athletes to use their voice, they become stronger as people,” Adair said. “I think that as a student-athletes, and being a part of the athletic department, we’re the doorsteps of the community, so we use our platform in a different way. We have different channels, channels and avenues to get messaging out. As a women’s basketball coach, it cannot just be about X’s and O’s. You have to empower them, and so that will just increase the product that you put on the floor.”

That empowerment will be a focus on and off the court, where Adair has preached player accountability and ownership at Delaware and expects to do the same in her new role.

“This will be a player-led, coach-supported program,” Adair said.  “We will get back to your ‘Why?’ and we will take it a step further. We will do this together. I cannot wait to get started. I cannot wait to get in the lab with you.”