USC Women's Basketball Adds Beth Burns and Taja Edwards To Coaching Staff
April 14, 2014
USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has added two talented new coaches to her staff, with Beth Burns joining the Women of Troy as associate head coach and Taja Edwards coming on as an assistant coach. The USC squad is coming off a powerful 2013-14 season -- Cooper-Dyke's first at Troy -- in which the Trojans won their first-ever Pac-12 Tournament Championship and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
"I'm so excited to have Beth and Taja on board," Cooper-Dyke said. "They bring such a great combination of experience and excitement to our program. I can't wait to get to work with them and with Coach Y (Jualeah Woods). I think this staff is a strong group, and I know the team looks forward to learning and working with them, too. We got a taste of victory this past season, and I believe this staff can carry this program even further."
Beth Burns comes to Troy following an impressive career at San Diego State, where she stands out as the winningest coach in program history with a 295-186 overall record at the school. While there, Burns worked with current USC assistant coach Jualeah Woods for eight of Burns' 16 years with the Aztecs. In all, Burns has 21 years of head coaching experience, earning six conference Coach of the Year awards and making eight NCAA appearances, including a 2010 trip to the Sweet Sixteen. In her final season at San Diego State, Burns directed the Aztecs to a program-record 27 wins in a season that saw her claim another Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honor along with back-to-back MWC regular-season titles.
In between her two eight-year stints at San Diego State, Burns spent five seasons as the head coach at Ohio State, where she began her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach in 1979. Her career has taken her from assistant positions at Ohio State, East Carolina, Colorado and NC State before landing at San Diego State as head coach in 1989. As a player, she attended Ohio Wesleyan, where she became the program's all-time leading rebounder and has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame. She received her bachelor's degree in health and physical education and later earned her master's in physical education from Ohio State in 1981.
"Beth is a legend," Cooper-Dyke said of Burns. "She established a winning culture at San Diego State that is in line with what we are working to do here at USC. She a defensive-minded coach who has such wisdom when it comes to college basketball. Her passion and energy also make her a great fit for us here at USC, and I'm very eager to have her on staff."
Taja Edwards is a local product, hailing from Carson, Calif., and now coming to USC after serving a season as an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton. She played collegiately at Fresno State, where she helped the Bulldogs win four Western Athletic Conference championships and made four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2010, she finished her bachelor's degree in communications in 2011 at Fresno State. She spent a year as the video coordinator for Cal Sparks in Los Angeles and was the director of operations for Cal Sparks Extreme in Fresno before making her collegiate coaching debut as an assistant at Ole Miss for the 2012-13 season. She attended Long Beach Poly High School, where she was a McDonald's All-American candidate and won back-to-back state championships.
"Taja is a bright, young coach who I really believe has a great future," Cooper-Dyke said of Edwards. "She has NCAA Tournament experience as a player, so she knows what it takes to succeed as a student-athlete on the court and in the classroom."