Joanne Aluka-White returns to the Charlotte bench as an assistant coach for her fifth season with the 49ers in 2016-17. She has played a vital role in the program reaching the postseason three times since her arrival, including a WNIT Sweet 16 berth in 2013.
As the team’s primary coach for the post players, she has groomed a number of players to successful careers. This past season, senior Alexis Alexander capped her career with an All-Conference USA Second Team honor as she finished the campaign as one of just three players in the league to rank among the Top 10 for scoring and rebounding. Classmate Kira Gordon joined the program’s 1,000-point club as its 21st member and closed her career as one of the most consistent players in recent memory on both ends of the floor.
Aluka-White has also taken the lead on the team’s recruiting efforts, helping to secure all-state signee Lauren Harley in this year’s class and keeping the Niners in the conversation among some of the best prospects nationally.
In 2014-15, the unit included the team’s leading rebounder and a scoring threat, Gordon, while her Alexander posted a double-double at Florida Atlantic. Sophomore Kenya Olley also stepped up her game late in the campaign, including registering a Halton Arena-record eight blocked shots in the victory over North Texas.
In 2013-14, she helped Gabby Tyler lead the team in scoring and rebounding and Gordon enjoyed a breakout year in which she was one of the team’s most consistent options. Tyler’s breakout game came against UTEP on the road, as she posted a double-double of 22 points and 12 boards in helping the Niners to the important away victory during the Conference USA campaign.
Charlotte put together the second-best campaign in school history (26-6) and finished second in the Atlantic 10 regular season with a 13-1 mark during Aluka-White’s first season in 2012-13. The rousing success of her first season was not limited to the team, however, as individuals also produced at high levels under her tutelage. She oversaw the progress of Jennifer Hailey, the 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and a FullCourt.com Mid-Major All-American, and Amanda Dowe, who joined Hailey on the postseason All-Atlantic 10 teams. The pair was the only set of teammates nationally to average a double-double, helping the 49ers establish numerous school records and is currently playing professionally overseas.
Aluka-White also was charged with developing a pair of freshman post players, who were often the first options off the bench, including Gordon who became the first freshman in the last 12 years to see action in every game during a season. The young group saw more playing time due to an injury to Tyler, a former All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team choice.
In June 2013, Aluka-White was chosen to participate in the Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE) program, which is designed for minority coaches and geared towards professional development. It is funded by the NCAA and the Advocates for Athletic Equity (AAE).
Aluka-White spent six seasons, from 2006-07 through 2011-12, as an assistant coach at fellow Conference USA member FIU when the Miami-based school was in the Sun Belt.
During her six years with the Panthers, the program reached the 2011 and 2012 Sun Belt Tournament semifinals and earned an at-large bid to the postseason, competing in the WNIT for the first time since 2005-06. It capped the school’s first 20-win campaign in the last 10 years and their second-straight 10-win Sun Belt record.
She also assisted in guiding four 1,000-point scorers during her time with the Panthers and five All-Sun Belt selections, including three who were multiple recipients.
Prior to beginning her coaching career, Aluka-White was a highly successful collegian at another current Conference USA and former Sun Belt school, Middle Tennessee. She tallied over 1,000 career points from 1998-2002 and earned Ohio Valley Freshman of the Year accolades when the program competed in that league early in her career. She was voted a team captain and helped the Blue Raiders capture an OVC Tournament championship, one bid to the NCAA Tournament and two WNIT berths.
The culmination of her playing career came with her selection to the Nigerian national team and a trip to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. There, Nigeria won the first Olympic game in the country’s history. She also saw playing time professionally in Europe prior to the Olympics, and while in Portugal, she led her team to the 2004 National Cup final.
Her playing career continued after the Olympics, when she returned stateside and suited up for the NWBL’s Dallas Fury. She was coached in the short-lived league by hall of famer Nancy Lieberman.
The Augusta, Ga., native graduated from Middle Tennessee in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science. She stayed in Murfreesboro to complete her master’s degree in 2003 in health and human performance with a concentration in sport management.
Aluka-White is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the Advocates for Athletic Equity (AAE), formerly known as the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA).
Aluka-White and her husband Fred White are the parents of twins Daniel and Gabrielle.