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Thornton named head women’s basketball coach at Alabama A&M

HUNTSVILLE – On a day celebrated by Alabama A&M athletics Saturday, the Bulldogs announced Dawn Thornton as the head women’s basketball coach.

Thornton, whose husband Cedric is the Bulldogs’ defensive ends coach, comes to Alabama A&M after spending the past five seasons as the head coach at SWAC-rival Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Alabama A&M President Dr. Daniel K. Wims, women’s head basketball coach Dawn Thornton and Director of Athletics Dr. Paul A. Bryant. (Alabama A&M Facebook)

The announcement highlighted a day which featured the softball and baseball teams in action as well as the annual Maroon & White spring football game.

“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Dawn Thornton to the Alabama A&M University family as our new head women’s basketball coach,” Director of Athletics Dr. Paul A. Bryant said. “Coach Thornton’s remarkable record of success, both within the SWAC and against formidable out-of-conference opponents, speaks volumes about her prowess and strategic acumen in the realm of collegiate basketball. Her leadership qualities, combined with a deep understanding of the game, make her the ideal candidate to elevate our program.

“We are eagerly anticipating the energy, expertise, and excellence she will bring to our team, and we are confident that under her guidance, A&M women’s basketball will achieve new heights of success. The future is bright for our program with Coach Thornton at the helm.”

Thornton is Alabama A&M’s fifth head women’s basketball coach since becoming a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and joining NCAA Division I. She compiled a 102-159 overall record in nine seasons at Prairie View A&M, Shorter and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In addition, she led the Golden Lions to a signature victory over Arkansas this past season, a first in program history.

“I want to express my gratitude to Dr. Daniel K. Wims, AD Dr. Paul Bryant, and the entire search committee for their faith in me to lead this women’s basketball program. My family and I cannot wait to embrace new opportunities in engaging the Normal community,” Thornton said. “Alabama A&M is a national household brand that rings bells everywhere we go. It is my goal to continue to build off the success that this program has already achieved.

“We look forward to recruiting and retaining student athletes who want to start and continue their legacy as Lady Bulldogs. Together, along with the support of the best fans in the conference, we will work relentlessly to bring a championship to ‘The Hill’. Go Bulldogs!”

Thornton was named the Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coach in May 2019 after spending the previous season as assistant coach at Atlantic Sun Conference perennial power Jacksonville University and a season at Division II Shorter University.

From 2014-16, Thornton served as the head coach at Prairie View A&M, capturing the program’s fourth consecutive SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament title and NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament berth in 2014 while being honored as the HBCU Digest Female Coach of the Year.

Thornton received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Jackson State University in 2005, where she helped lead the Lady Tigers basketball team to SWAC regular season co-championships during her junior and senior years. She played her first two seasons at Atlanta Metropolitan College where she led the team to consecutive.

The Thorntons have one son, Camden.

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