Mike Neighbors

Coaching Career
2017-Pres.
Third Season
Arkansas
Head Coach
59-41 (.590)
2014-17
Four Seasons
Washington
Head Coach
98-41 (.705)
2012-13
Two Seasons
Washington
Assistant Coach
41-26 (.612)
2008-11
Four Seasons
Xavier
Assistant Coach
108-23 (.824)
2006-07
One Season
Arkansas
Assistant Coach
18-13 (.581)
2005-06
One Season
Colorado
Assistant Coach
9-21 (.300)
2002-05
Four Seasons
Tulsa
Assistant Coach
69-62 (.526)

In just three years after his homecoming, Arkansas Women’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Neighbors has successfully turned the Razorbacks into one of the premier programs in women’s college hoops. His three years on the Hill as the program’s leader have arguably been the best stretch in the history of Razorback Women’s Basketball. Neighbors’ success goes beyond what he has done for the Razorbacks, though – the Arkansas native has the most wins, 157, of any NCAA Division I Head Coach that has led a program for seven or fewer seasons.

Neighbors enters his fourth season coming off the best year for the Hogs ever in the Southeastern Conference, as his 2019-20 Hogs became the only squad to ever win 12 games in the SEC between the regular season and the conference tournament. The 2019-20 team was also one of just two teams to ever win 10 games in the league, while his most recent squad was one of just three Razorback teams in the SEC era to finish above .500 in conference play. With their 10-6 record in 2020, the Hogs finished tied for third place in the conference, the best-ever conference finish for Arkansas Women’s Basketball. If not for the shortened season, Neighbors would have guided his Hogs back to the NCAA Tournament.

The Hogs would instead finish their season at the SEC Tournament, where they would once again make history. In their first game, they would match their own program record, and break the SEC Tournament record, for threes in a game, hitting 17 of them against Auburn. They would then stun No. 15 Texas A&M for the second year in a row, storming back from 17 down to beat the Aggies, 67-66.

The Hogs used Neighbors’ functionally fast offensive system even more efficiently during the 2019-20 season, finishing the season as one of the best offenses in the NCAA. The Hogs scored 100 points or more four times during the 2019-20 campaign, including three times during the SEC season. The Razorbacks broke their conference record for points in a game against No. 15 Kentucky at home, scoring 103 points against what was at the time the best scoring defense in the conference. The Hogs then turned around and broke their own record the very next week, dropping 108 points at Ole Miss.

Arkansas was fantastic in all areas important to Neighbors’ offensive philosophy this past season, as the Hogs finished the season as the NCAA’s leader in free throws made (512), while also finishing third in total threes made (314) and fewest turnovers per game (11.0). The Razorbacks’ mark in three pointers made this past season is a new SEC record, one they also broke in Neighbors’ second season on the Hill.

Neighbors’ elite offense was powered by a three-headed monster at the guard position, as he got the most out of Alexis Tolefree, Chelsea Dungee and Amber Ramirez during the 2019-20 season. For Tolefree, Neighbors’ helped guide her to one of the best single conference seasons in program history, as the former JUCO All-American became Arkansas’ first First-Team All-SEC Player since 2016 after averaging 18.6 points and 4.9 boards in conference play. Dungee was great in her encore season in Neighbors’ offensive system, earning her second straight Second-Team All-SEC nod after averaging a team-high 16.9 points. Ramirez, meanwhile, shined in her first season under Neighbors, averaging 14.7 points, while also breaking Arkansas’ all-time single-season three-pointers made record, drilling 106 of them.

Neighbors’ second season at the helm was one of the most dynamic seasons in program history, as his 2018-19 Hogs became one of just four Razorback squads since the turn of the century to win at least 22 games. The group capped off the season with an unprecedented run through the SEC Tournament, advancing to the Championship Game after reeling off wins against Georgia, No. 12 South Carolina and No. 15 Texas A&M. Their win against A&M was one of the most shocking in the history of Arkansas Women’s Basketball, as the Hogs went on a 17-0 over the final 6:30 of the game to complete the 16-point comeback.

Though they would narrowly miss the NCAA Tournament following the program’s first-ever appearance in the SEC Title Game, Neighbors’ team did earn a bid in the 2019 WNIT, where they would beat Houston and UAB before falling to TCU in round three.

Neighbors is no stranger to elite talent, though, and has developed a reputation as a coach that prepares players for the next level as a head coach. Three of his players at Washington were drafted into the WNBA over a four-year period, highlighted by Kelsey Plum, who was the No. 1 Overall Pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft. Plum’s college resume is one of the greatest in the history of the sport, as she became the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer and swept all 10 of College Basketball’s National Player of the Year awards in 2017. Neighbors has also had two other players drafted into the WNBA as a head coach, including Chantel Osahor (21st overall), who is now an assistant coach for the Razorbacks, and Talia Walton, who went 29th overall in the 2016 Draft. Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips, who Neighbors helped coach during his time at Xavier, were both also drafted into the WNBA. Harris was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx back in 2011, while Phillips was picked eighth in that same draft. Those four players were all named WBCA All-Americans: Phillips in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Harris in 2010 and 2011, Plum in 2016 and 2017, and Osahor in 2017. Aari McDonald, who transferred to Arizona after Neighbors’ departure from UW, was named a WBCA All-American in 2019.

Prior to his homecoming, Neighbors guided Washington to four seasons of unprecedented success, highlighted by the 2016 NCAA Final Four and two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Named the program’s head coach after two years as an assistant, Neighbors led the Huskies to a 98-41 record that was fueled by three consecutive 23-plus win seasons and included four postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 1 WNIT). His stellar work with the Huskies didn’t go unnoticed, as Neighbors was a Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year Semifinalist in 2017.

Before that, Neighbors was hired by Xavier head coach Kevin McGuff in time for the 2007-08 season, using his time with Musketeers to learn from McGuff about being the man in charge.

During his tenure at Xavier, Neighbors was part of a staff that compiled a 108-22 record, captured three A-10 Tournaments, three A-10 Regular Season Championship Teams and competed in four straight NCAA Tournaments. For his efforts, Neighbors was selected as one of the best assistant coaches in the country, becoming one of five recipients for the BasketballScoop.com and ONS Performance Rising Star award in 2009. In what was the pair’s best season together, Neighbors’ and McGuff’s Musketeers posted a 30-4 record, including a flawless 14-0 season in Atlantic-10 Conference play before advancing all the way to the Elite Eight, narrowly falling to national runner-up Stanford. Xavier ended that season ranked No. 5 in the polls, the best final ranking in program history and the best finish by a mid-major team in the polls this century.

Part of the reason for Xavier’s success was due to the program’s ability to recruit – an effort that was greatly aided by Neighbors’ presence. While in Cincinnati, Neighbors landed four McDonald’s All-Americans – Harris, Phillips, Amber Gray and Dee Dee Jernigan.

A native of Greenwood, Ark., Neighbors received his associate degree at U of A Fort Smith and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in 1993. Following his graduation, Neighbors went onto coach in the high school ranks, as he coached at both Cabot and Bentonville. His Bentonville high school team completed a historic turnaround under his watchful eye: his first team finished 1-24, but by year three, they were competing for a state championship.

Following his run as a high school coach, Neighbors became the Director of Basketball Operations for the Razorbacks, serving under legendary coach Gary Blair, who won the NCAA Championship in 2011 with Texas A&M. Neighbors also spent time as an assistant coach on Kathy McConnell-Miller’s staff at Tulsa and Colorado, before returning to Arkansas as an assistant under Susie Gardner.

Neighbors has three children, a daughter, Abby and two sons, Alec and Bowen.

Assistant Coach

Tulsa        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2001-0217130.5671170.6115 th /WACNA
2002-0314160.467990.54 th /WACNA
2003-0419120.6131170.6113 rd /WACWNIT Round One
2004-0519110.6331170.6113 rd /WACWNIT Round One

Colorado        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2005-069210.33130.18810th/Big 12NA

Arkansas        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2006-0718130.5813110.21410 th /SECNA

Washington        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2011-1220140.5888100.4447 th /Pac-12WNIT Quarterfinals
2012-1321120.6361170.6115 th /Pac-12WNIT Round Two

Head Coach
Washington        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2013-1420140.5881080.5566th/Pac-12WNIT Quarterfinals
2014-1523100.6971170.6115th/Pac-12NCAA First Round
2015-1626110.7031170.6115th/Pac-12NCAA Final Four
2016-172960.8291530.8333 rd /Pac-12NCAA Sweet 16

Arkansas        
YearWLPct.WLPct.Conference FinishPostseason
2017-1813180.4193130.18813th/SEC--
2018-1922150.5956100.37510th/SECWNIT 3rd Round
2019-20202480.7501060.625T3rd/SECN/A