Hartsfield named VU Women's Basketball Interim Head Coach

Ingrida Hartsfield coaching during a timeout.

May 08, 2024

VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University has taken the first step in its effort to fill the roles of its legendary Hall of Fame Coach and Director of Athletics Harry Meeks, who announced his retirement on April 24. VU Assistant Coach Ingrida Hartsfield has been named VU Women’s Basketball Interim Head Coach. Meeks announced her appointment on Wednesday, May 8.

Ingrida Hartsfield headshotHartsfield steps into the role of interim coach for one season as Meeks, her mentor, retires with 33 years of service to VU as Director of Athletics and Women’s Basketball Coach.

According to Meeks, “President Johnson and I discussed what is in the best interest of our program and our student-athletes, and we concluded that Ingrida Hartsfield is the best person to fill the role of interim head coach. We believe appointing her will ensure continuity and maintain leadership within the program.”

Citing her experience and seamless integration within the team structure, Meeks believes Hartsfield's appointment will be integral in VU’s efforts to keep the program strong during the time of transition.

"Having witnessed her growth from VU student-athlete to coach, I'm proud to see Ingrida step into this interim role with a deep understanding of VU culture and traditions," Meeks said. "Her journey through the VU ranks uniquely positions her to provide continuity for our student-athletes and recruits. She has played an instrumental role in the success of the VU Women’s Basketball program. She possesses a wealth of experience and immense insight into our program's dynamics. Her seamless transition will ensure onward progress of the program and will foster stability during this period of change."

She knows the ins and outs of the Trailblazers Women’s Basketball program arguably more than anyone outside of Meeks, VU’s longtime coach.

Hartsfield (then Ingrida Strikas) played for VU from 2010 to 2012. She earned NJCAA All-American Honors in 2012 and graduated from VU with a degree in Criminal Justice. Her VU career catapulted her to NCAA Division I Utah State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

She credits Meeks’ mentorship as instrumental to professional and personal growth, expressing deep gratitude for the guidance she received.

“Throughout my time as both a student-athlete and a coach, Coach Meeks has had a major influence in my life,” Hartsfield said. “He has been instrumental in shaping my coaching style and has instilled in me the values of leadership, integrity, and resilience that are integral to a program’s success. I am incredibly thankful for the lessons learned under his tutelage, and I will carry his wisdom with me as I embark on this new chapter. It's an honor to lead the team at my alma mater, and I am excited about having the privilege to continue our tradition of excellence on the court and in the classroom.”

Hartsfield is entering her sixth season overall and third consecutive coaching the Trailblazers. Her coaching career began during the 2015-16 season and stretched through the 2017-18 season before she returned to the Trailblazers bench for the 2022-2023 season.

“As I pass the torch to Ingrida Hartsfield, I do so with full confidence in her ability to lead,” Meeks said. “Her dedication, coaching acumen, and never-ending support of Lady Trailblazers basketball have made her a major asset to the program. I am confident that she will excel in her new role as interim head coach, continuing VU's legacy of excellence on and off the court."

Hartsfield is excitedly embracing the opportunity to step into the new leadership position, where she will continue to guide a team of talented athletes and contribute to their growth athletically and academically.

Originally from Riga, Latvia, Hartsfield carries unique expertise. Her experiences navigating the American collegiate basketball season give her valuable insights into the specific needs of international student-athletes and effectively connecting with players from diverse backgrounds.

“Together, with the support of our players, coaching staff, the VU Athletics Department, the University, and with support from the community, I am confident the VU Women’s Basketball team will have a fantastic season ahead,” Hartsfield said.

VU will strive to build upon an overall record of 19-11 during the 2023-2024 season that saw freshman Destinee Hooks, who is bound for Division I New Mexico, earn 2024 Region 24 Player of the Year honors, as well as being named Freshman of the Year in Region 24 and a 2nd Team All-American, while sophomore Elikya Baseyila earned All-Region 24 honors for the second time.

“Now is the time to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” Hartsfield said. “My immediate priorities are connecting with our student-athletes and finalizing recruiting efforts. By building on the foundation we've already laid together, we will ensure the program continues to thrive."

Basketball has always been a constant in her life. Between coaching stints at VU, Hartsfield and her husband, Jimmie, built the basketball program ‘Whatever it takes basketball’/Buttermilk, which focuses on helping prepare younger players for a higher level of basketball.

Hartsfield lives in Princeton with her husband and their four daughters, Marleigh, Rylynn, Lerain, and Hadassah.

A national search for a VU women’s basketball coach will commence in 2025.

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