Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Williams Named Naismith Semifinalist

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - Nebraska's Amy Williams was named a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Basketball College Coach-of-the-Year award by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Wednesday morning.

The second-year Husker head coach has led one of the nation's top turnarounds, guiding the Big Red to a 19-8 overall record that has included a 10-4 conference mark heading into the final week of Big Ten play. Nebraska has put up a 12-game improvement in the win column over Nebraska's 7-22 record a year ago. The Huskers head to the final week of Big Ten play in position to contend for a conference regular-season title just a year after tying for last place in the 14-team league.

Williams and Nebraska will play host to Penn State on Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Huskers' regular-season home finale. Tip-off between the Big Red and Lady Lions (15-12, 6-8 Big Ten) is set for 7 p.m. 

The only Big Ten Conference coach listed among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach-of-the-Year award, Williams joins Geno Auriemma (UConn), Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State), Jeff Walz (Louisville), Kelly Graves (Oregon), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Robin Pingeton (Missouri), Karen Aston (Texas) and Joni Taylor (Georgia) among the contenders for the honor.

The winner of the 2018 Werner Ladder Naismith Women's College Coach-of-the-Year award will be announced on March 31. Fans will be able to support their favorite coach by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 19-30 to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote.

“This has been a remarkable college basketball season thus far, and these 10 semifinalists have proven themselves worthy of being considered for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. 

“Werner is thrilled to be presenting the semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year,” said Chris Filardi, vice president of marketing at WernerCo. “These coaches set an incredible example both on and off the court.”

Williams, who is in her 11th season overall as a collegiate head coach, has produced impressive success at each of her stops. As a second-year coach at Rogers State (NAIA) in 2008-09, she led a five-game improvement in the win column over her first season (13-18) while helping the school make the transition from a junior college program to a four-year team. In her fifth and final year at Rogers State, she led the Hillcats to the NAIA Elite Eight.

In 2012-13, she took over a South Dakota program that managed a 19-16 record in her first season. The next season, she guided the Coyotes to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. In her final year at South Dakota, she led USD to a 32-6 overall record and a 15-1 mark in the Summit League before winning the 2016 Postseason WNIT title. She led South Dakota to regular-season conference titles in 2015 and 2016 after winning the conference tournament title in 2014. She was the Summit League Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016.

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