SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State’s new Lady Bears head basketball coach Beth Cunningham spoke to the media in a Thursday morning news conference.

After a brief overview from the Director of Athletics Kyle Moats and University President Clif Smart of selecting and hiring Coach Cunningham, the new head coach took the podium.

“Coaching and teaching is in my DNA,” says Cunningham. “My dad and my grandfather, both Hall of Fame coaches. I get my discipline, my focus, and my toughness from my dad. My mom and my mother-in-law were both teachers, both Hall of Fame moms, both raising five kids. I get my unselfishness, teamwork, and empathy from them. And together, those are the attributes I will rely on to build a family-first culture with our players.”

Cunningham then spoke of her predecessors.

“I want to especially acknowledge and thank Coach Mox and Coach Harper for the tremendous success that they’ve had here. I’ve been in touch with both of them and really appreciate their support,” says Cunningham. She replaced Amaka Agugua-Hamilton who left ten days ago to take over the Virginia program.

She addressed her players stating they are her motivation and inspiration.

“Together, we’re going to build a tough, disciplined, and unified team. We’re going to push each other,” says Cunningham. “We’re going to outwork our competition, but we’re going to have fun doing it. And I simply cannot wait to pour every ounce of energy into building and developing the trust to let you know that I’ve got your back not only as a coach, but as your teammate.”

Cunningham comes to Missouri State from Duke where she was an assistant coach for the past two years.

Prior to that, she was an associate head coach at Notre Dame under Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw for eight seasons. During that time the Irish were 244-19 with seven straight 30-win seasons.

She was also a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth for nine seasons, she’s the Rams all-time winningest coach with 167 victories.

Prior to her coaching career, Cunningham played for coach McGraw at Notre Dame.

She helped lead the Irish to the NCAA Final Four after a 31-and-7 senior campaign.

Notre Dame won 97 games in her playing career.

Missouri State will give Cunningham a five-year contract worth $320,000 dollars plus incentives.