LaKale Malone is in her third season as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at the University of Illinois. The Illini have signed back-to-back top-25 classes and recorded their best record since 2007 in 2012-13, reaching the quarterfinals of the Women's NIT. Malone now has reached the postseason in 10 of her 14 years as a college coach.
In 2013-14, Malone mentored a young group of Illini players, helping them finish eighth in the nation in steals (11.0 per game) and 13th in turnover margin (+5.2 per game). Illinois also broke the school record for three-pointers made (202) for the second-straight season.
Malone helped guide the Illini to a fifth-place national ranking in steals per game (12.6) in 2012-13, breaking Big Ten records for steals in all games (417) and conference games (234). Illinois also broke school records for three-pointers made (184) and turnovers forced (773). The Orange and Blue finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten, their best finish in six years, and posted their first winning conference record in 10 years with a 9-7 mark in Big Ten play.
"LaKale Malone is a great addition to our staff," Bollant said on her hiring. "She has been a recruiting coordinator at BCS schools for over nine years and is highly respected by AAU and high school coaches. What I love most about her is that she has a great heart, both for our players and our staff. When I first talked to her, she said 'I want to get to know your vision because that's my vision.'"
Prior to joining the staff at Illinois, Malone played a big role in signing multiple top-25 classes under head coach Gail Goestenkors at Texas, including four McDonald's All-Americans. The Longhorns advanced to the NCAA tournament in all five seasons Malone was an assistant, and produced eight All-Big 12 and 11 Academic All-Big 12 honorees. She helped recruit WNBA draft pick Brittainey Raven and signed current Texas Longhorn, Chassidy Fussell, who was on the 2012 Wade Trophy Watch List.
Before her time in Austin, Malone was an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for Connie Yori at the University of Nebraska from 2003-07, helping build that program to a national level. She spearheaded the signing of a top-25 recruiting class in 2007 and helped develop 2010 first team All-American and first-round WNBA draft pick Kelsey Griffin. The Huskers advanced to the postseason all four years she was on staff.
Malone also served as an assistant at Wagner College (2000-01) and Bradley University (2001-03).
A four-year letterwinner at Indiana University, Malone graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in accounting and marketing. She also holds a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Malone worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm for one year after college before following her heart and beginning her coaching career.