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Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Dawn Thornton leaves program for Alabama A&M

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff women’s basketball team will be in search of a new coach after Dawn Thornton stepped down to take another SWAC job.

After five years as head coach of the Golden Lions women, Thornton has accepted a new role as the coach of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.

UAPB Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Robinson released a statement following the announcement of Thornton moving on from the program:

“I have a great deal of respect for Dawn Thornton. I would like to express my gratitude for her hard work and dedication as the head coach of our women’s basketball program. Her contributions over the course of five seasons have had a significant impact on our campus and community. The future of UAPB women’s basketball is bright, and we are confident that our next head coach will continue to elevate the program to new heights.”

Thornton came to UAPB after a three-year stint at Prairie View A&M from 2014-2016, including an NCAA tournament appearance in her first year there.

In her five seasons with the Golden Lions, she amassed a 54-89 overall record, including clinching a berth in the first SWAC championship in school history in 2023.

“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 legacies as Lady Bulldogs,” said Thornton. “Together, along with the support of the best fans in the conference, we will work relentlessly to bring a championship to The Hill.”

This past year, she finished with a 17-16 overall record, marking her first overall winning season in her eight years as a head coach.

She was part of some major recruiting wins for the program, including courting stars such as All-SWAC guard Zaay Green and former five-star recruit Maori Davenport.

The Jackson State alum now heads over to Alabama A&M, where she will be taking over for Margaret Richards, who stepped down after eight seasons on “The Hill.”

Last season, Alabama A&M finished with a 15-16 overall record, including a 10-8 record against SWAC opponents. Ironically, the Bulldogs’ season came to an end in the SWAC tournament following a first-round loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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