NcKell (pronounced nah-KELL) Copeland is beginning her fourth season on the Michigan State coaching staff after being named an assistant coach on June 8, 2011. Copeland has quickly moved up the coaching ranks, having served as an assistant coach at Bradley University, University of Toledo and Jacksonville State University.
Copeland serves as the Spartans' recruiting coordinator, in addition to focusing on guard development. She will also assist with opponent scouts and game preparation.
In her first two seasons as recruiting coordinator, Copeland has helped increase the talent level of the Spartan roster. This past year, MSU signed Tori Jankoska, who was named a high school All-American, Michigan's Miss Basketball and Michigan's Gatorade Player of the Year. In her first year at MSU, Copeland helped generate a top-25 class (ranked No. 21 nationally by ESPN's Hoopgurlz) for the Spartans. Included in the incoming class of 2012 were two top-100 players - No. 28 Branndais Agee and No. 99 Aerial Powers.
Guard play was a main reason for the Spartans' success in 2011-12 and 2012-13, where both teams won at least 20 games, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and finished in the top-3 in the Big Ten. Four Spartan guards earned All-Big Ten honors over the past two seasons, as Porsche Poole was on the second team in 2012, while Klarissa Bell was a third team choice, and Jasmine Thomas and Kiana Johnson were honorable mention last year. Poole had a career year as a senior, increasing her scoring output by 7.3 points a game to lead MSU with 13.4 points, which ranked 14th in the Big Ten. She also posted career highs in assists, rebounds, steals and field goal percentage. Last year, both Bell and Thomas had statistically their best seasons, more than doubling their previous career highs in scoring. Bell led MSU in points (10.5) and rebounds (6.1), while Thomas was second in scoring (10.3), and led the team with 107 assists and 60 steals.
Copeland spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Bradley, where she was responsible for scouting and recruiting, along with developing the Braves' backcourt. During her tenure, Bradley posted the most wins in program history with 21 in 2008-09, and followed that up by tying the school record with 12 conference wins and advanced to its first postseason appearance (Women's Basketball Invitational) in 2009-10.
Prior to Bradley, Copeland spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Toledo. With the Rockets, she worked with the guards, while assisting with recruiting, scouting, academic progression and individual skill development.
A four-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Jacksonville State University from 1999-2003, Copeland spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at her alma mater after graduation. During her playing career, she broke the JSU career steals record with 151, which now ranks second all-time. A three-time Ohio Valley Conference All-Academic selection, Copeland led the Gamecocks in steals as a sophomore and junior, and also paced them in both assists and minutes as a sophomore. Her sophomore total of 61 steals is second on the JSU single-season list.
Born in San Jose, Calif., but raised in Marietta, Ga., Copeland graduated from Jacksonville State in 2003 with a degree in communication.