Clenita "Penny" Belford, formerly Jones, enters her fourth season with the Pensacola State College Lady Pirates.
Every year her win total has consistently improved. In her inaugural season, 2014-2015, she guided the Lady Pirates to 8 wins and coached a pair of All-Panhandle Conference selections (Alaysia Mitchell & Tyisha Moore) and placed a pair on the Panhandle Conference All-Academic team. She also watched as three players signed at NCAA institutions, including two at Division 1 schools.
During the 2015-2016 season, the Lady Pirates won 12 games, including its first conference win under Belford, as they defeated Northwest Florida State College. Belford coached 3 more All-Panhandle second team conference selections while Daijah Brown was named to the Panhandle Conference freshmen team. Three Lady Pirates were named to the Panhandle Conference All-Academic team and one signed at a NCAA Division 1 school.
The 2016-2017 season was one to remember for Belford and the Lady Pirates. With an 18-10 record the Pirates had their first winning season in five years. The Lady Pirates broke the top 25 in the NJCAA national ranking coming in at #19 and finally moving up to #10, which also had not been done in the past five years. Belford guided two Lady Pirates to the All-Panhandle Conference first team (Nia Johnson & Ahyiona Vason). Nia Johnson was voted to the All-Panhandle Conference Media second team while Xana Dove was voted to the honorable mention team as well as the All-Freshman team. Belford placed five on the Panhandle Conference All-Academic team, two on the FSCAA All-Academic Region team, and one was named to the NJCAA All-American Academic Team. All five of Belford’s sophomores signed with 4-year schools; two signed at the Division 1 level while the other three signed at the NCAA level.
Belford came home to the Sunshine State after two seasons as an Assistant Coach at NCAA Division 1 member Weber State University where she helped turn around a Wildcat program that was 0-29 to one that combined for 18 wins with her two recruiting classes. Belford worked with the guards and the post players during her two seasons in Ogden and was instrumental in their opponent scouting work. Along with her work on the court, Belford organized a number of community service events for the Wildcats including their annual Play4Kay game. In addition, she was the team’s academic liaison as she monitored the student-athletes academic progress throughout the year.
Belford’s first experience in the junior college ranks was at Seward County in Liberal, Kansas, where she spent three seasons, before accepting the position at Weber State. Belford mentored five Division 1 transfers while at Seward and watched as 12 players signed at the NCAA level. She coached four All-Americans in her three seasons including one of PSC’s assistant coaches Rachel Barnes. She also helped lead the Lady Saints to three 20 win seasons. As she recruited players from across the United States and the world, Seward posted a 75-22 overall record during her tenure in Liberal. Seward County was ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 in all three of Belford’s seasons with the Lady Saints including their 31-3 Jayhawk West Conference Championship season in 2010.
Prior to arriving in Liberal, Belford served as the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of South Alabama. While in Mobile, she was responsible for a number of key behind-the-scenes tasks including film exchange, opponents scouting, as well as developing recruiting materials. In her two seasons at South Alabama, the Jaguars compiled an overall record of 42-23 with a pair of 20 win seasons. During her time there, she coached All-Sun Belt Conference and 1,000 point scorer Shakira Nettles, who is now an assistant on the Lady Pirates staff.
As a player, Belford was a standout at the University of West Florida. She remains in the top 10 of a number of all-time categories at UWF including assists where she is 2nd and steals where she is 7th. She was named the Argos MVP during her senior year and was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year three times. Coach Belford, a Pensacola native, led Booker T. Washington High School to an undefeated State Championship season and a USA Today ranking of 22nd in the nation. She is married to Jason Belford.
Pensacola State College (Head Coach) 2014 - Present
Weber State University (Assistant Coach) 2012-2014
Seward County CC (Assistant Coach) 2009-2012
University of South Alabama (Director of Basketball Operations) 2007-2009
Concordia Lutheran High School (Head JV Coach/Assistant Varsity Coach) 2006
University of West Florida (Player) 2000-2004