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Albany State names Akia Stanton as new women's basketball coach

ALBANY – Albany State University Director of Athletics, Dr. Kristene Kelly, has announced Akia Stanton to assume the women’s basketball head coaching duties for long-time coach Robert Skinner, effective June 1st.

ASU didn’t have to go far geographically to find the new veteran court general in Coach Stanton, who has been the Talladega College (Ala.) basketball coach, the past two seasons and had already put the pieces in play to turn the Lady Tornado program around.

“Albany State University is excited to welcome Coach Akia Stanton as a member of the Golden Rams staff. Her coaching experience demonstrates a commitment to upholding a standard of excellence, consistent with ASU's mission," said ASU President, Marion Ross Fedrick. “Coach Stanton’s proven leadership and coaching skills embody the ram spirit. Our student-athletes will benefit from her guidance both on and off the court. We encourage those on campus and in the community to come out and cheer on Coach Stanton and the Lady Rams for a successful season ahead.”

The energetic and self-motivated new Lady Rams Head Coach brings eight years directing three different programs, including Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference member Allen University along with two seasons as associate head coach of South Carolina State and three campaigns as assistant coach of her alma mater Paine College.

In fact, Stanton played for and later coached under current Paine College Director of Athletics Selina Kohn, who herself was a legendary basketball player at Albany State under Coach Skinner and previously served as the Lady Rams assistant coach.

"I'm thrilled to introduce Akia Stanton as our new head women's basketball coach at Albany State," stated Dr. Kelly. "A Georgia native and standout player at Paine College during their SIAC era under ASU legend Selina Kohn, who herself trained under the esteemed Coach Robert Skinner. Akia's journey epitomizes #CreatingLegacies, and with her intimate knowledge of the SIAC and strong coaching foundation, I am confident she will guide our team to unparalleled success, leaving a lasting impact on our program."

Stanton is no stranger to both success and building programs into successful teams on-and-off the court. In the last two seasons, Stanton guided Talladega College to a four-game improvement. The results-driven coach aims to build upon ASU’s 2023-24 campaign where the Lady Rams ran off a pair of wins before bowing out in the SIAC Tournament Quarterfinals.

"I would like to thank Dr. Marion Ross Fedrick, Dr. Kristene Kelly, and the search committee for their dedication and diligence throughout this process. I am honored and humbled to be the next head women’s basketball coach at Albany State University,” stressed Stanton. “I am committed to upholding the University’s values, as well as continuing the legacy and building on the foundation Coach Robert Skinner has already laid for this great institution. I am elated and ready to get to work with our student-athletes, staff and supporters. I am grateful for this opportunity to lead such a wonderful group of young ladies."

Prior to her stint as South Carolina State associate head coach, Stanton guided Allen University (2018-20) to a 16-15 first year record before she directed the program to its most victories in a season going 23-8 with a team, which featured 12 first-year freshmen. The head coach’s two squads also posted the highest team grade point average of 3.2, which is a staple of her teams.

Coach Stanton’s first head coaching stop came at Jarvis Christian College where her teams again had the athletic department’s highest team GPA of 3.5 for four-straight years, as well as student-athletes garnering both All-Conference and All-Academic honors. Most impressively is Stanton's 100% graduation rate.

While as an assistant coach at her alma mater Paine College, Stanton saw at least one of her student-athletes be voted All-Conference from 2011 through 2017.

Under Paine College AD and then Head Coach Kohn, Stanton produced a collegiate playing career in both volleyball and basketball where she shined so bright, she earned a 2015 induction into the Lady Lions Hall of Fame. In basketball, Stanton helped Paine to back-to-back hoops SIAC titles in 2005 and 2006 and trips to the NCAA DII Tournament. She also recorded the second-best hitting percentage in DII for volleyball of the in fall of 2006.

The Milledgeville, Georgia native started her career in athletics as a three-sport athlete at Baldwin High School and was the school’s only Regional winner in two years in a row in three different sports.

At home, Stanton is a proud mother of Laila and Amari.