From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Clark-Heard, Michelle

(born: 1968) Michelle Clark-Heard, from Louisville, KY, was among the first African American women from Kentucky to play professional basketball in the new leagues developed in the 1990s. Today, she is among the very few African American women coaches in the NCAA. Michelle Clark-Heard is the head coach of the University of  Cincinnati Women's Basketball Team. She has had a successful career that began when she was a basketball player at Atherton High School in Louisville. She earned the recognition as Kentucky High School State Player of the Year in 1986, and she was inducted into the Atherton Hall of Fame in 2003.

Michelle Clark-Heard is a graduate of Western Kentucky University (WKU) where she played on the basketball team for four seasons, 1986-1990. She was a four-year letter winner at WKU, and her team went to the NCAA Tournament all four years. The team also won two Sun Belt Conference Tournaments, 1988 and 1989; and two regular season titles 1989 and 1990. Michelle Clark-Heard played in 118 games at WKU, she scored 790 points and had 615 rebounds. 

After college, Michelle Clark-Heard was a basketball coach at DuPont Manual High School, in Louisville, 1994-95. Also during the 1994-95 season, she played professionally for the Kentucky Marauders of the Women's Basketball Association (WBA). The team was located in Louisville, KY and is now defunct. The WBA preceded the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and existed from the summer of 1993 through the summer of 1995. The league was founded by Lightning Ned Mitchell and there were eight teams: Chicago Twisters, Indiana Stars, Kansas City Mustangs, Kentucky Marauders, Memphis Blues, Nebraska Express, Oklahoma Flames, St. Louis River Queens.

After her playing days, Michelle Clark-Heard became a basketball coach and has continued to do so for more than 25 years. Her record includes coaching high school basketball (1994-1995); University of Cincinnati, assistant (3 years); Nebraska, assistant (4 years); Kentucky State University (2005-2007); University of Louisville, assistant (2007-2012); Western Kentucky University (2012-2018); USA Women's Basketball National Team (2015 & 2017); and University of Cincinnati (2018-present). Her win loss record is 206-112 (.648).  

SOURCES: G. N. Gray, "Black Women in Basketball, Part 1," 12/17/2018, a BASN Newsroom webpage; The Vision: the true and untold story of the Women's Basketball Association by L. N. Mitchell and M. Kamberg; Mad Seasons: the story of the first Women's Professional Basketball League, 1978-1981 by K. Porter; Michelle Clark-Heard, a USA Basketball webpage, 08/25/2017; J. Phillips, "Michelle Clark-Heard takes unconventional route to success," 05/04/2015, College Heights Herald at WKU (online); and Michelle Clark-Heard, University of Cincinnati webpage. See also Women's Basketball Research (online), a digital clearinhouse of information about women's professional basketball. 

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Vision : the true and untold story of the Women's Basketball Association
NKAA Source: Mad seasons : the story of the first Women's Professional Basketball League, 1978-1981
NKAA Source: The College Heights herald (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Clark-Heard, Michelle,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 30, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-08-01 14:31:58