Heralded as one of the nation’s top recruiters, University of Illinois at Chicago head women’s basketball coach Tim Eatman has lived up to his reputation during his tenure with the Flames.
Heading into his fourth season at the helm of the program, Eatman has brought in a pair of top 20 recruiting classes, including his 2001-02 class, which was rated 19th in the nation. This was the highest ranking of any school in the state of Illinois, including the University of Illinois, DePaul, Northwestern, Loyola and Illinois State.
The influx of talent has paid dividends on the floor as the Flames have advanced to the semifinals of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Championship in each of the past two seasons while posting double-digit wins in both campaigns. Eatman now owns a career record of 28-56.
Last year, injuries plagued UIC early in the season as they struggled out of the gate to a 2-10 star. Once healthy, though, the Flames made a late-season push, closing the season strong to finish fifth in the MCC. UIC, which hosted the 2001 MCC Championship, then went on to pull out a dramatic win over Cleveland State in the opening round of the MCC Tournament before falling to top-seeded UW-Green Bay in the semifinals.
Senior’s Melea Clark and Kim Henry led the Flames’ attack, combining for 49% of the team’s offense. Clark’s 15.3 points per game and tenacious defense helped her earn all-conference recognition, being named to the All-MCC Second Team.
The 1999-2000 campaign proved to be a breakthrough season for Eatman as his team’s nine-win improvement from the year before was the 16th best turnaround in the nation. Using a tough non-conference schedule and preaching the importance of defense, Eatman, who is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters, molded a group of 10 newcomers with three returning players into one of UIC’s most successful teams.
After suffering through ups and downs while learning the system early in the year, the Flames began to gel in February and finished the season on a tear by winning eight of their last 10 contests, including a school-record seven-game winning streak. They finished fourth in the MCC, their best finish since 1995-96, an advanced to the MCC Tournament semifinal game, where they lost a close decision to eventual champion Wisconsin-Green Bay. In the end, the Flames posted a record of 14-15 on the season.
Two of Eatman’s newcomers – Kimberly Henry and Melea Clark – were recognized for their outstanding years as both were named to the 2000 MCC All-Newcomer Team, with Henry being honored as the 2000 MCC Newcomer of the Year.
Prior to his arrival at UIC, Eatman was an assistant coach at the University of Kansas on Marian Washington’s staff. While at KU, Eatman was responsible for the recruiting functions of the program and helped bring the No. 6 rated class in the nation in both 1997 and 1998 to Lawrence, Kan. During his brief stay at Kansas, the Jayhawks won their first Big XII Championship, compiled a 48-15 record, advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1998 and produced Kodak All-American Tamecka Dixon.
Eatman gained most of his recognition as an assistant at the University of Iowa under coach C. Vivian Stringer. It was at Iowa that he landed the top-rated recruiting class of 1994 that featured All-Americans Malikah Willis, Tiffany Gooden, Nadine Domond, Angela Hamblin, Shannon Perry, Timicha Kirby and 1998 Big Ten Player of the Year, Tangela Smith. While at Iowa, Eatman was hailed by Lindy's Magazine as the top young recruiter in women's basketball.
Before heading to Iowa, Eatman served as an assistant coach for the University of Houston during the 1992-93 season. While at UH, the Cougars’ 1992 class was rated No. 4 in the country. He also served as an assistant coach at Mississippi State.
A 1988 graduate of Talladega College (Ala.), Eatman earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry before receiving his master's degree in counseling from Jacksonville State.
Eatman joined the coaching ranks in 1988 as the head women's coach at his alma mater, Talladega, following a successful playing career there. He instantly turned around the program, posting a 16-13 record in his inaugural campaign. The season prior to his appointment, Talladega was 0-26. In 1989-90, Eatman guided the team to a 20-9 ledger. Eatman and his wife Crystal have one son, Tyler.
The Eatman File
Hired at UIC May 6, 1998 Alma Mater Talladega College (1988) Wife Crystal Child Tyler