Nikki Caldwell won national championships as a player and an assistant coach at Tennessee. Now she’ll try to do it as head coach at LSU.
Caldwell, a native of Oak Ridge, was named women’s basketball coach at LSU, vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva announced Saturday night.
“Nikki is one of the best and brightest coaches in the country and LSU fans will be proud of the way she will represent this program,” Alleva said in a university statement. “She comes from a great pedigree having coached under two of the best in the game in Pat Summitt at Tennessee and Debbie Ryan at Virginia. She has been successful on every level — as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach — and she has all the qualities to bring our program to national prominence.”
Caldwell took over at UCLA in 2008, going 72-26 and reaching the NCAA tournament twice. Prior to her arrival, UCLA had won just one NCAA tournament game in nine seasons.
This past season, the Bruins were 28-5 and was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament before getting beat by Gonzaga in the second round.
As an assistant at UT from 2003-08, Caldwell helped the Lady Vols win NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008 and reach the Final Four five times. The Lady Vols compiled a 195-24 mark during her six years as an assistant coach.
As a player at UT from 1991-94, Caldwell was known as a tenacious defender with 3-point shooting ability. The Lady Vols were 118-13 during her tenure, winning the NCAA title in 1991 and capturing two SEC regular-season titles and a pair of SEC tournament titles.
Read more at LSUsports.net.