Coach Cam Completing Gator Staff

Kelly Rae Finley, Laura Harper and John McCray have joined the Gator program as assistant coaches, new University of Florida head coach Cameron Newbauer announced today.

Additionally, Scott Schmelzer will be Florida’s video coordinator, Serena Wilson continues her role as the director of basketball operations and Lani McQuade remains as the Executive Assistant and ever-present sunshine for the group.

“First and foremost, we want to have the right people around our players, the right people around our program and our campus,” Newbauer shared. “That is the most important ingredient when I went to put our staff together. We have great balance with demeanors and personalities. All of them are passionate and excited about being at the University of Florida and representing the Gator Nation on and off the court.”

Where They Came From Before Joining The Gator Staff

  • Kelly Rae Finley spent last season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Arizona. [Learn More About Coach Finley]
  • Laura Harper, the 2006 Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four on Maryland’s national championship team, served as an assistant coach at George Washington University for the 2016-17 campaign. [Learn More About Coach Harper]
  • John McCray has been an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga under Hall of Fame coach Jim Foster since June of 2013. [Learn More About Coach McCray]
  • Scott Schmelzer worked under Newbauer at Belmont for the last two seasons as the team’s graduate assistant. [Learn More About Scott]
  • Serena Wilson resumes the Gator’s role of director of basketball operations, a position she was promoted to in August of 2013 after working her way up through the various stages of being an undergraduate team manager in July of 2004. [Learn More About Serena]
  • Lani McQuade provides director support to the Gator head coach, a charge she has enjoyed since February of 1997. [Learn More About Lani]

Quoting Coach Newbauer

On Kelly Rae Finley:

“Kelly is a go-getter. She’s a worker, a pro-active thinker and doer. She is a self-motivator and if she sees or knows what needs to be done, she doesn’t wait. With her recruiting experience at a number of BCS schools, I knew she would hit the ground running. Her infectious personality has created relationships with coaches and student-athletes nationally and made her someone I sought instantly about working with our program.”

On Laura Harper:

“When you have someone on your staff like Laura who has competed at the highest level and won a national championship as a player, it creates a dynamic blending on a coaching staff for your players. The players in our program will be able to relate to her as a student-athlete and learn from a successful woman beyond playing college basketball. Laura was recruited as a high school athlete at the highest level, won a national championship as a student-athlete, was drafted by the WNBA, played professionally in the league and overseas and has now since transitioned into becoming a coach, with all that and her personality, Laura became the ideal person for our Gator staff.”

On John McCray:

“John comes from a great pedigree, working under the legendary Jim Foster, learning and being mentored by him. Hearing Coach Foster – a Hall of Famer – talk about John and knowing what he values about him really stood out. I’ve always respected John and his work ethic and humble personality He’s one of those individuals who is very diligent and detailed, which is so important. Our paths crossed countless times on the recruiting trail over the years and I admired the way he conducted himself.”

On Scott Schmelzer:

“Scott is a tireless worker who is passionate about working with young people. Our players are especially going to enjoy his presence and personality as will everyone he encounters.”

On Serena Wilson:

“Serena’s passion for being a Gator and working with this program are unmatched. Her expertise of the University of Florida and Gainesville is second to none. She’s an incredible people-person and will be very influential with our staff and program.”

On Lani McQuade:

“For the last 25 years, Lani has maintained her warm and welcoming personality to everyone who has encountered our program – from the coaches to the players and from booster club members to new fans of the team. Her knowledge of all things UF and Gainesville only enhances our staff and puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

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