Vic Schaefer wanted coaches who knew his coaching style and shared that same passion and intensity. That's why, when assembling his staff, he reached out to Aqua Franklin, a standout player at Texas A&M who went on to play in the WNBA before becoming one of the country's top up-and-coming young coaches.
The former Aggie standout comes to Starkville following one season on the staff at the University of Kansas. That lone campaign was a memorable one, as Franklin helped guide the Jayhawks to one of the best seasons in school history.
Franklin was on the bench as Kansas went to its first Sweet 16 since 1998 and finished 25th nationally with a 21-13 record. Franklin helped mentor Angel Goodrich to a banner season, as she paced the Jayhawks with a 23.3 ppg scoring average in the NCAA Tournament and shattered the school record with 250 assists. Goodrich was named All-America Honorable Mention by both the WBCA and the Associated Press, and was one of four finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the top point guard in the nation.
Franklin returned to the Big 12 after spending the 2010-11 season, her first as a full-time assistant, at Stephen F. Austin. During that lone season with the Ladyjacks, she tutored Tammara Marion to second-team All-Southland Conference accolades after she became the 25th SFA player to score 1,000 points and set a school mark for three-pointers made in a season.
The Tyler, Texas, native can provide the Mississippi State guards first-hand experience of what it takes to make it to the next level. Franklin moved into the coaching side of the game after a decorated career at Texas A&M that resulted in her being selected to play in the WNBA.
At the conclusion of her college playing career, Franklin was drafted with the 38th pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Sacramento Monarchs.
In her rookie season in the league, Franklin helped lead the Monarchs to the opening round of the 2008 WNBA Playoffs, where the team ended its season against San Antonio.
The following season she signed with the Seattle Storm before going on to begin her coaching career at her alma mater.
Franklin returned to College Station as a graduate assistant during the 2009-10 season. Her collegiate and professional experiences were a valuable asset to the Aggies as she helped Schaefer and associate head coach Johnnie Harris guide the team to the Big 12 championship and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Franklin also spent two seasons assisting the Houston Elite AAU program following her stellar playing career with the Aggies.
She concluded her four-year career at Texas A&M as one of the program's most-decorated guards, ranking in the top three in school history in assists with 627.
Her final season with the Aggies was a memorable one for the program, as the team made its first run to the Elite Eight. Franklin capped her career by claiming honorable mention All-America accolades from the Associated Press to go along with All-Big 12 Second Team honors she received prior to the tournament run.
Her junior season also included a milestone for Texas A&M, as the Aggies won the school's first Big 12 regular-season championship. Franklin was tabbed All-Big 12 First Team and Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention as she led the squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Franklin was named honorable mention All-Big 12 as a sophomore, a year after she became the conference's only freshman to start at the point.
All total, Franklin led the Aggies to three NCAA Tournament trips, including one journey to the Elite Eight.
Franklin graduated from Texas A&M in May 2009 with a degree in recreation park and tourism science.