TonyaCardozareturning to UConn women's basketball staff as assistant coach, Ben Kantor promoted

Jul. 13—Her addition to the staff comes after the NCAA passed a new rule in January allowing men's and women's basketball programs to hire two additional coaches to their staff. These new countable coaching positions will be able to engage in typical coaching activities except for off-campus recruiting. The new rule went into effect on July 1.

UConn is also elevating Ben Kantor from video coordinator to a staff coaching position.

UConn advertised a job posting for the role on June 29 and the applications were accepted through Wednesday night. The job requirement included 10 years as head coach of a Division I program and experience coaching in a national championship.

The job description was seemingly written with Cardoza in mind.

Cardoza got her start in coaching by working as an assistant coach under Geno Auriemma from 1994 to 2008, helping the Huskies win their first five national championships. During her initial time in Storrs, she worked with the guards, including helping to develop Husky greats Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi.

She was promoted to her first head coaching job in 2008 when she took over for Dawn Staley (who left to coach South Carolina) at Temple. Cardoza and Staley were teammates during their collegiate playing careers at Virginia.

"We are so excited to be adding Tonya and Ben to our coaching staff," Auriemma said in a press release. "I've known both of them for a long time and trust that they'll be great additions and mentors on the court."

Cardoza spent 14 years coaching the Owls. She became the program's all-time winningest coach finishing with an overall record of 251-188, including seven 20-win seasons.

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Cardoza led Temple to three straight, and four total, NCAA Tournament appearances. The Owls advanced to the second round in both 2010 and 2011. In 2015, Temple advanced to the WNIT Final Four.

At Temple, Cardoza helped mold current Phoenix Mercury star Shey Peddy, All-American Feyonda Fitzgerald and Owls star Mia Davis.

"With the change in our roster makeup, it was critical that we get an experienced coach to work with our perimeter players," Auriemma said. "Bringing Tonya here and having Morgan [Valley] gives us two amazing individuals and great teachers that our players can learn from."

Said Cardoza, "UConn is where I gained my foundation as a coach. I'm thrilled for this opportunity to come back home to where it all started. I look toward to working alongside people who I consider my family."

In March of 2022, Temple athletic director Arthur Johnson announced Cardoza would not continue to coach the Owls. Cardoza, a Boston native, did not coach last season.

Cardoza's return to Connecticut marks a couple of full-circle moments in the world of Connecticut women's basketball.

First, she joins UConn's current assistants Valley and Jamelle Elliott after previously coaching both of them during her first stint as a Husky assistant coach in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Additionally, her former associate head coach and longtime assistant coach at Temple, Way Veney, became Central Connecticut State University's new women's basketball head coach at the end of April. Cardoza is the godmother to Veney's kids (Veney is married to Yale women's basketball head coach Dalila Eshe).

Kantor has been on UConn's staff since 2015, and has been part of a national championship and 16 conference titles, with six NCAA Final Fours. Kantor has previously served a temporary assistant coach for UConn because of a COVID-19 blanket waiver when a member of the coaching staff has been unavailable.

"Ben has been part of our staff for quite some time and has handled all our video needs," Auriemma said. "I'm excited to see all the ways that Ben can continue to impact our student-athletes by being on the floor."

Kantor was the video coordinator for Memphis women's basketball before coming to UConn. He served as an assistant coach at Houston Baptist from 2011-12 and at Colgate from 2010-11. He was also the video coordinator at SMU from 2007-10.

Kantor graduated from Illinois, where he was a practice player for the women's team for three seasons, in 2006 with a degree in finance.

Cardoza will begin her position at UConn this Friday. Kantor begins his new role immediately.