University of South Dakota athletic director David Sayler has announced that Amy (Gusso) Williams has been named the new Coyote head women's basketball coach. Williams, who was introduced at a press conference on Monday on the USD campus, is the seventh Coyote women's basketball coach in school history.
Williams, a native of Spearfish, replaces Ryun Williams, who resigned to become the head coach at Colorado State in May. Amy Williams, a 1998 Nebraska graduate, has been an assistant coach at the Division I level, including serving as the top assistant/recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State from 2001-05, and holding the same position at Tulsa from 2005-07. For the past five seasons, she has been the head coach at Rogers State (OK).
"When we set out on the process of finding our next women's basketball coach, we had set criteria we were looking for," Sayler said. "The solid Division I experience that Amy has, combined with her head coaching success, really set her apart."
"I would like to thank President James Abbott, David Sayler, and David Herbster for the confidence they have shown me by giving me the opportunity to lead the Coyote women's basketball program," Williams said. "I could not be more excited to return to South Dakota and build on the success this program has experienced."
In March of 2007, Williams was named the first head women's basketball coach at Rogers State University and built the program from scratch into an NAIA national contender. In five seasons at Rogers State, Williams recorded a 97-65 record. Last year, the Hillcats were 22-12 and advanced to the NAIA Final 8 for the first time in school history. She led the Hillcats to back-to-back NAIA national tournament appearances.
Williams joined the Hillcats after successful coaching stints as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at The University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University. She previously worked as an assistant at the University of Texas-San Antonio and was a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
At Tulsa, Williams helped the Golden Hurricane claim its first Conference USA regular-season and tournament championships in 2006. The Hurricane also earned its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament and logged its first win in the field of 64, finishing the season with an impressive 26-6 record.
Before joining Tulsa, Williams served as the top assistant at Oklahoma State from 2001-2005. She compiled a number of accolades as the recruiting coordinator at OSU, including being named the 11th ranked recruiting coordinator in the nation based on impact to program and signing the Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2003. Her 2003 recruiting class was ranked 19th in the country according to All-Star Girls Basketball Report.
Williams served as an assistant coach at Texas-San Antonio from 2000-01, where she was involved with scouting, practice preparation, recruiting and preseason conditioning workouts.
Williams was a four-year basketball letterwinner at Nebraska, where she graduated with a degree in biology and mathematics in 1998.. She earned Academic All-Big 12 Conference honors as a senior in 1997-98 and was named a Phillips 66 Student-Athlete of the Week in 1997. After graduating from Nebraska, Williams joined the University of Nebraska-Kearney staff as a graduate assistant, where she earned her master's degree in sports administration in 2002.
Williams' family includes her husband, Lloyd, and daughters Kennadi Capri (age 6) and Bentli Marie (age 2).
Amy Williams File
Hometown: Spearfish, S.D.
College: Nebraska '98 (B.S. in biology and mathematics)
Nebraska-Kearney '02 (master's degree in sports administration)
2000-01 – Assistant Coach, UT-San Antonio
2001-05 – Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Oklahoma State
2005-07 – Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Tulsa
2007-12 — Head Coach – Rogers State (Okla.)
What they're saying:
Bubba Cunningham, Athletic Director, North Carolina and former AD at Tulsa:
"Congratulations to the University of South Dakota and to Amy Williams on her appointment as the head coach of women's basketball. Amy is an outstanding coach, excellent recruiter and knows how to build a highly successful program. She will be a great role model for her players, an accessible coach who understands the importance of campus relationships and will create a positive environment for fans, students and players."
Julie Goodenough, Head Coach, Abilene Christian and former head coach at Oklahoma State:
"With her genuine people skills and relentless work ethic, Amy is an excellent recruiter and will bring in great talent to perpetuate the success of the women's program at the University of South Dakota."
Ryan Bradley, Athletic Director, Rogers State:
"Amy did an incredible job building a championship caliber program from the ground up at Rogers State. She has tremendous passion for what she does and works tirelessly to ensure that each of her players is successful both academically and on the court. I have no doubt she will lead the University of South Dakota to new heights in the years ahead."
Wren Baker, Athletic Director, Northwest Missouri State:
"Amy Williams is one of the rising stars in women's basketball. She is a tireless worker and fierce competitor. She is a loyal coach and person. Her passion for the game is contagious. USD landed a tremendous coach and an even better person."