Sept. 5, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice women's basketball has announced the hires of Alexis Popelar to be Director of Women's Basketball Operations and Michael Nguyen as video coordinator.
Popelar moves to the Director of Operations position after spending the past season as a graduate assistant for the Northwestern State University women's basketball squad, while Nguyen returns to his alma mater after serving as a basketball operations intern with the NBA D-League's Erie BayHawks.
During her year at NSU, Popelar was involved in recruiting and created evaluations for prospective signees, produced scouting reports, assisted in film breakdown, and managed travel expenses as well as player gear/uniform inventory. Popelar experienced a 2014 SLC Conference Championship with the Lady Demons and assisted with preparation for the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament against the Tennessee Lady Vols.
"Alexis brings energy and enthusiasm to our program as she embarks on her coaching career," Rice head coach Greg Williams said. "She was an outstanding student-athlete at Hardin Simmons and will be a good fit at Rice. She came highly recommended by the staff at Northwestern State, whom I know well and respect their opinion. She has a great work ethic and is very efficient and consciousness with her responsibilities."
Popelar graduated from Hardin-Simmons University as an Exercise Science major where she played guard for the Cowgirl's basketball team. At HSU, she played in 92 games with 78 starts for the Cowgirls helping her team maintain its record of being the only team to make the conference tournament playoffs every year since the beginning of ASC action. Popelar ranks in the top 10 of all-time Cowgirl records in nine categories and in the top 10 in eight single-season categories.
During her senior season she passed the 1,000-career-points mark, led the conference in scoring at 18.3 ppg and free throw percentage, and set the season record for most rebounds (212) by a perimeter player in Cowgirl history. She was named a Josten's Trophy Finalist, First Team All-South Region, ASC All-Conference Team and was named conference player of the week four times.
Popelar also spent time as a personal training intern at D1 Sports Training in Abilene, where she created and demonstrated fitness workouts, designed a six-week workout schedule, and shadowed the head strength and conditioning coach.
Prior to working with the Erie BayHawks, Nguyen served as a video operations intern with the Houston Rockets during the 2012-13 season. Nguyen graduated with a B.A. in kinesiology from Rice in 2011.
"Michael is very familiar with our program since he participated as a member of our men's scout team," Williams said. "He is excited to return to Rice as he begins his coaching career. He will add creativity and expand the role of Video Coordinator to better assist our staff and players. He had varied experiences in the D-League and came strongly recommended by all who worked with him at Erie."