Tuesday morning inside the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Hendricks Training Complex, Amy Williams reacquainted herself with media and fans. The former Husker player was introduced by Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst as Nebraska’s new head Women’s Basketball coach, in the wake of Connie Yori’s resignation.
Yori abruptly resigned on April 5th in the midst of an investigation into player mistreatment, effectively ending her 14-year coaching career at Nebraska. She has denied any wrongdoing within the program and describes that her resignation was for “personal matters”. Yori was the winningest coach in school history.
Over the past week, Eichorst has been in search for the coach to fill her void, finding that person in Amy Williams.
The 41-year-old Williams is no stranger to Nebraska. She went to school at UNL and walked-on her freshman year to play on the Lady Husker team, playing under coaches Angela Beck and Paul Sanderford from 1995-1998.
Williams appeared in 57 career games and was a four-year letter winner. She also earned Academic All-Big 12 Conference honors during her senior year before graduating with a degree in biology and mathematics. Looking to the future, Williams remembers her past as a Husker, stating in an introductory speech, “The University of Nebraska exudes excellence. I felt that here as a student athlete, and I’m so excited to be able to offer that to young women.”
Williams and her family are “thrilled to be joining the Lincoln community” as she will be moving out of her home in Vermillion, South Dakota, where she has been the head Women’s Basketball coach at the University of South Dakota since 2013.
During her South Dakota tenure, Williams led her team to the postseason every year and helped South Dakota make history during the 2013-14 season, appearing in the school’s first ever Division I NCAA Tournament. This past season under Williams’ leadership, the Coyotes compiled a 32-6 overall record and won the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) Championship. She went a combined 96-44 during her four years at South Dakota and was named the Summit League Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016.
South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster has expressed his fondness of Williams’ coaching style and the way she connects with her players, saying that they “will run through a brick wall for her.”
Williams’ 17-year coaching career has seen a variety of different levels of competition. Starting out as an Assistant Coach at Nebraska-Kearney, Texas-San Antonio, Oklahoma State, and Tulsa, she received her first head coaching job in 2008 at Rogers State before her time at South Dakota.
In Tuesday’s introductory address, Williams expressed her gratitude to NU officials on their decision, which allows what she stated in a radio interview later that day to be a “perfect homecoming” for her. Williams went on, saying, “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to return and be apart of this again.”
Williams’ five-year $2.8 million contract runs through the year 2021. It provides $575,000 annually, which is a substantial pay raise from her $180,000 annual salary at South Dakota.
Eichorst is confident Williams is the right person for the job. “Amy has a proven vision, plan, and knows how to recruit regionally, nationally and internationally, which will translate very well to Nebraska,” Eichorst said.
Williams believes she will bring success to Husker Women’s Basketball once again, as she knows that expectations at Nebraska are great. In her address, she emphasized the necessity of togetherness, as the program makes a transition at a delicate time. “We’re going to compete for championships. We’re going to do it the right way, and most of all we’re going to do it together,” Williams said.
Williams took time to reach out to current Husker players, who were standing in the back of the room during her address. “I can’t wait to join this journey with you and begin building the relationships and taking the steps that it’s going to take for us to make this the most enjoyable experience of your life,” she explained.
Tuesday welcomed in a new era of Husker Women’s Basketball. The Coach Williams era. She knows it will be a challenge, but she affirms that challenges motivate her. With a smile she concluded, “It’s a great day – just like every day – to be a Husker.”