Caldwell Announces Lady Vol Assistants

  • Thursday, April 18, 2024
New Lady Vols Basketball Staff (UT Athletics)
New Lady Vols Basketball Staff (UT Athletics)

First-year Tennessee women's basketball head coach Kim Caldwell has announced the addition of four dynamic staff members, including three who previously served as associate head coaches and two from SEC schools who possess impressive credentials in the world of recruiting and player development.
Joining the Lady Vol program as assistant coaches are Roman Tubner, former associate head coach/recruiting coordinator at Alabama; Gabe Lazo (pronounced Lazzo), former associate head coach/defensive coordinator at Mississippi State; Jenna Burdette, former associate head coach at Marshall; and Angel Rizor (pronounced Riser), former assistant coach at Marshall.

"I am very pleased to welcome our new coaching staff members to Rocky Top," Caldwell said. "It's an outstanding group of high-energy coaches that is gifted in the areas of recruiting, teaching, motivating, mentoring and player development. I'm so excited to get our basketball team on the court with this group and can't wait to see what we can collectively do as a staff to help our current players and future Lady Vols become the best they can possibly be."
Tubner, who has spent the past three seasons working with Kristy Curry at Alabama, was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2023-24 campaign. A 2019 selection to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's 30 Under Thirty and a member of Silver Waves Media's 2023 50 Most Impactful Assistants, he helped the Crimson Tide to three consecutive 20+ win seasons for the first time since 1999, including a 24-victory campaign in 2023-24 that was Bama's best since 1998.
A contributing factor to that on-court success was UA's effort in recruiting, where he led the charge in the signing or commitment of 16 players during his tenure as recruiting coordinator. He recruited and assisted in development of two All-SEC players and an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2023-24 and helped land a 2023 recruiting class ranked No. 11 by espnW and a portal class rated No. 25 by 247Sports and Brandon Clay Scouting that season as well.
A 2011 graduate of Centenary College in Louisiana (psychology) with a master's from Arkansas-Monticello (physical education & coaching) in 2012, Tubner began his coaching career at UAM in 2011 as a graduate assistant and quickly rose to the role of assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in 2013-14. Before joining Alabama in 2021, he made assistant coaching stops at Arkansas Tech (2014-17), Austin Peay (2017-18), Indiana State (2018-19), UNC Wilmington (2019-21) and Ball State (2020-21).
Lazo, who was the first hire for Sam Purcell at Mississippi State, has spent the past two seasons in Starkville and recently was promoted to associate head coach there. He is known as a relentless recruiter, a motivator and a mentor to, and developer of, student-athletes. Lazo also served as MSU's designated defensive coordinator, providing opponent scouting and defensive approach as well as in-game tactics and adjustments from the bench.
His ability to identify talent and build relationships was critical to the Bulldogs landing the No. 3 transfer class ahead of the 2023-24 campaign. He also played a key role in Mississippi State securing highly regarded classes over the past two signing cycles, including the 16th-rated class in 2022-23, which was the second best in school history. Those efforts enabled MSU to card back-to-back 20-win seasons and earn an NCAA berth in 2023 and a WBIT Elite 8 finish in 2024.
Lazo earned a bachelor's degree in education from Barry University in 2008 and played professionally in Puerto Rico after graduation. He served as head coach of the Miami Suns EYBL basketball program and at Ferguson High School, earning Miami-Dade County Coach of the Year three times and carding a pair of state runner-up finishes. He moved to the college ranks from 2017-19 at Florida International and made stops at Stony Brook (2019-21) and George Washington (2021-22) before arriving at Mississippi State in 2022.
Burdette comes to Knoxville with five years of experience as an assistant, including three seasons working with Caldwell in stints at Glenville State and Marshall. Her overall record in coaching is 114-42, including a 58-34 mark in three seasons at MU and 56-8 in two seasons at GSU.
At Glenville State, Burdette aided in directing two NCAA Division II Tournament teams that also swept Mountain East Conference regular season and tournament titles from 2018-20. She was at Marshall for two seasons prior to Caldwell arriving and elevating her to associate head coach in 2023-24, helping set the stage for a 26-7/17-1 campaign that saw the Thundering Herd post a school-record total for victories. The Herd also swept Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles and made the school's first NCAA appearance since 1997.
A 2018 graduate with a degree in exercise science from Dayton, Burdette starred on the hardwood for the Flyers. In her first coaching position at GSU, she worked with Caldwell to help the Pioneers average 102.3 and 106.8 points per game over those two seasons to lead the nation. The team also was tops in three-pointers made, threes per game and treys attempted per game in each season and finished third and fourth nationally in steals per contest, respectively.
Rizor also joins the Lady Vol staff with prior experience working alongside Caldwell, in fact serving as an assistant on last year's record-setting Marshall squad with Burdette as well. She also served as an assistant at Glenville State with Caldwell in 2021-22, when the Pioneers went 35-1 overall and 22-0 in the Mountain East Conference, claiming the NCAA Division II National Championship and the MEC regular season crown.
Between those stints at Glenville State and Marshall, Rizor continued her coaching education while playing professionally in Germany in 2022-23. She led several local high school and club teams to gain an international perspective on the game of basketball.
A 2020 graduate of Cincinnati with a degree in health promotion and education: exercise and fitness, Rizor was a four-year starter for the Bearcats. In her first college coaching position, she assisted as Glenville State again led NCAA Division II in points per game at 95.5 as well as threes made and attempted. At Marshall last season, she helped shape a squad that put up 85.3 ppg. to rank fourth in NCAA Division I and finish third in steals per game (13.2) and fifth in offensive rebounds per contest (16.4).

Lady Vols Fall To Alabama In Program's Longest Softball Game
  • 5/26/2024

Playing in the longest game in Tennessee softball history and NCAA Super Regional history, the third-ranked Lady Vols fell to No. 14 Alabama, 3-2, in game two of the Knoxville Super Regional ... more

Lookouts Mount Comeback But Lose 11-7 To Visiting Braves
  • 5/26/2024

The Chattanooga Lookouts came back from a first-inning six-run deficit, but could not stop the Braves bats in their 11-7 loss. In the first inning, the Braves offense kicked into gear right ... more

Chattanooga FC Tops Atlanta United 2 In 5-3 Shootout
  • 5/26/2024

Chattanooga FC hosted Atlanta United 2 in a drama-filled game, drawing 2-2 but claiming the extra point in a 5-3 shootout victory. The two points see the Boys in Blue return to the top of the ... more