Miami’s Katie Meier To Lead 2012 USA Basketball U18 Women
-- LSU’s Nikki Caldwell, Gonzaga’s Kelly Graves Tabbed As Assistant Coaches --
Colorado Springs, Colo. • April 19, 2012
University of Miami head coach Katie Meier, the 2011 Associated Press co-National Coach of the Year, has been selected to serve as head coach for the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team; while collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University will act as assistant coaches for the U18 squad. The coaches were selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.
The USA U18 National Team will compete in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15-19, in hopes of securing a berth in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women (dates and site TBD). The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, with the top three finishing teams qualifying for the 2013 FIBA U19 Worlds. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.
Trials to select the 12-member USA squad will be held May 18-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The team will regroup at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for its first training camp from May 28-June 2. The USA will then return to the USOTC for its final training camp Aug. 3-14, prior to traveling to Puerto Rico for the competition.
“The committee is very enthusiastic about this coaching staff,” said USA Junior National Team Committee chair Sue Donohoe, executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. “In Katie Meier, Nikki Caldwell and Kelly Graves, we have three very good coaches who have proven they have what it takes to represent USA Basketball. They are enthusiastic, smart, driven to succeed and know what it takes to win. They bring extensive experience and diverse perspectives to our team, which will allow them to take a group of 12 gifted basketball players and mold them into a single unit. We feel extremely confident that these three coaches will not only be able to continue the USA’s five consecutive gold medal streak at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, they’ll do so in a manner that is representative of USA Basketball.”
“I was so touched when I was asked to do this,” said Meier. “I was really honored. That was my first reaction, and then it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger when you think about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and whom you’re representing. It’s just an incredible honor. I’m very, very excited.
“I think my coaching style has a lot to do with the selection. It’s a very fun style. It’s very up-tempo. I think it takes advantage of the talent pool that we’ll have. The players will certainly be able to show how skilled and how special they are. That’s a big part of it, it’s catered to the players’ abilities and you can tweak it with the strengths and weaknesses of your team. It’s a really flexible style. It’s really fun to coach, and I think it’s really fun to play as well.
“I think this is a superstar staff. I think Nikki Caldwell and Kelly Graves make this an incredible staff. I have so much respect for them. It’s definitely going to be a ‘working together’ deal. They bring so much to the table. Kelly and I just played against each other in the NCAAs, so we had a nice little chat about us working together while we were out in Spokane. They’re just so bright. They’re hard working. I think there’s going to be so much creativity. There are three very different styles of basketball that are all going to merge together and I think it’s going to be phenomenal. I think it’s an amazing staff. I was stunned when I heard who the two assistants would be. They’re just so fantastic.”
In addition to Donohoe, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (University of Virginia), Coquese Washington (Penn State University) and Connie Yori (University of Nebraska). The athlete representative is current Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Beth Cunninham (1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).
An 11-year coaching veteran (2001-02 to present), Meier recently completed her seventh season (2005-06 to present) at Miami, where she has compiled a 126-95 record (.570 winning percentage) and advanced the Hurricanes to the NCAA second round in the last two years.
Meier arrived in Miami, took the reigns of a team that had won 13 games in the previous season and upped that to a 17-13 record in her first year as Miami advanced to the WNIT second round.
By her fifth season, Meier had Miami back in winning form as the team went 22-14 in 2009-10 and played its way to the 2010 WNIT Finals.
Miami in 2010-11 tied for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) after going 12-2 in league play, and posted a school-record number of victories after marching to the NCAA second round and finishing the season at 28-5. Not only was Meier awarded for her work by the ACC as its 2011 Coach of the Year, she joined Naismith Hall of Famers Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut and Tara VanDerveer of Stanford University as the 2011 Associated Press (A.P.) Co-National Coach of the Year.
Most recently Meier’s 2011-12 squad posted a 26-6 slate, finished second in the ACC with a 14-2 mark and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament second round, where it fell to Graves’ Gonzaga squad. Additionally, Miami achieved its highest national ranking ever, ranked No. 5 during the season, and finished ranked No. 8 nationally by the A.P. and No. 9 nationally in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
Meier got her head coaching start at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where in four seasons (2001-02 through 2004-05) she turned around a program that had not posted a winning record since the 1993-94 season and had only one postseason appearance since Charlotte entered NCAA Division I. Meier’s first team finished the year 16-13. She then increased her wins by five in 2002-03 to finish 21-9, including 12-0 at home, and captured the Conference USA regular season title. For their efforts, Charlotte earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance and Meier was honored as the 2003 Conference USA Coach of the Year.
Meier continued to lead her teams to winning records over the next two seasons and was rewarded by a pair of WNIT berths.
All told, Meier not only led Charlotte to postseason play three times, she compiled a 76-45 mark (.628 winning percentage).
A four-year letterwinner (1986-88, 1990) at Duke University, Meier was a 1988 GTE All-American and the 1986 ACC Rookie of the Year. She still ranks tied for first in Duke’s all-time single-game records for assists with 12 and scored the fifth-most points in a game in Duke history with 36 points. Meier lists fifth among all-time Duke career scoring leaders with 1,761 points (16.2 ppg.) and 10th for assists with 409. During her four years on the court Meier helped Duke compile a 72-43 mark and advance to the 1986 WNIT and 1987 NCAA Tournament second round.
No stranger to international basketball, after leaving Duke Meier spent three years playing professional basketball in Belgium from 1990-93 and aided her team to a trio of Belgium Cup titles.
“To represent our country is a tremendous honor,” said Caldwell, who recently completed her first season as LSU’s head coach. “I am thrilled by the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of people. The pride that comes with taking the floor as a member of the red, white and blue is something you are truly blessed to be a part of. I think there is a certain standard that you have to live up to as a coach for USA Basketball. We will represent our country with honor, dignity and discipline for the game. This will ultimately be a rewarding experience for each and every coach and player. I have great respect for Katie and Kelly and what they have accomplished at each of their programs. To be a part of the staff with them is something I am looking forward to.”
Having recently completed a successful first year at LSU, Caldwell in 2011-12 led the Lady Tigers to a 23-11 record, including 13-4 in Southeastern Conference (SEC) play, the SEC Tournament championship game and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. For her efforts, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association named Caldwell its 2012 Louisiana Coach of the Year.
Prior to returning to the SEC, where she helped the University of Tennessee win NCAA titles as a player (1991) and an assistant coach (2007, 2008), Caldwell spent three seasons (2008-09 through 2010-11) at UCLA in her first head coaching position.
Taking over a program that had advanced to postseason play just twice in the previous six seasons, Caldwell after posting a 19-12 record in her first year in Westwood, piloted the Bruins to a 25-9 record, a second place finish in the Pacific-10 Conference and the 2010 NCAA second round. For her remarkable season, Caldwell was honored as the 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
Continuing to improve her program, Caldwell in her third and final season at UCLA finished with a 28-5 record, marking the second-most wins in a season in program history. The 28 victories ranked second only to 1976 U.S. Olympic head coach Billie Moore’s 29 wins in 1980-81 and was just UCLA’s seventh 20-win season since 1980-81. In all, during her three years at UCLA, Caldwell compiled a 72-26 record (.735 winning percentage).
A 1994 UT graduate, Caldwell returned to her alma mater as a graduate assistant in 1998-99. She then spent three seasons (1999-2000 through 2000-02) as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia as the Cavaliers advanced to three NCAA Tournaments, including the 2000 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, and the 2000 ACC regular season title.
Following her three years in Charlottesville, Caldwell was hired as an assistant at Tennessee prior to the 2002-03 season. She remained on the UT sideline through 2007-08 and during that six-year stint, Caldwell assisted Tennessee to six-straight NCAA Tournaments, including five Final Fours, as UT captured the 2007 and 2008 NCAA championships. Additionally, UT earned six SEC titles with three coming in the regular season and three in the SEC Tournament.
In all, including her 60-36 record as a Virginia assistant coach and 195-24 record at Tennessee, teams with Caldwell as an assistant coach posted a 255-60 mark for a .810 winning percentage.
During her four-year playing career (1990-91 through 1993-94) at Tennessee, Caldwell helped the Lady Vols to a 118-31 overall record (.792 winning percentage), the 1991 NCAA title, two SEC regular season championships and two SEC Tournament crowns.
“It’s a great honor, no question about that,” said Graves, who turned around a program that had only earned one postseason berth prior to his arrival in 2000-01 and turned it into a perennial postseason team. “Just to be considered to help coach is an honor and then being on a staff like this, it’s just incredible. It’s something I’m really looking forward to. It’s funny, Coach Meier and I had texted back and forth before the NCAA Tournament. You know, ‘Hey this is going to be great, this is going to be fun this year.’ Then, lo and behold they get sent to Spokane, so I got to meet her personally. I was so impressed. She is just terrific. So I really look forward to working with her, as well as Coach Caldwell. I really feel it’s a privilege.
“I don’t know what my role will be on the staff, but the honest truth is that I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do and help in any way. I’ll lend expertise if it’s needed or support if it’s needed. Whatever is asked of me, I’m happy to do.”
After spending his first two seasons rebuilding a program that had not posted a winning record since 1993-94, Graves in 2002-03 guided the Zags to an 18-12 mark. The following season Gonzaga again went 18-12 and this time earned a 2004 WNIT bid, the program’s second postseason tournament ever.
Since then, Graves and Gonzaga have earned eight-straight West Coast Conference regular season titles and captured four WCC Tournaments over the past six years. Additionally, Graves has coached Gonzaga to a total of eight postseason appearances, three in the WNIT and five NCAAs, including the school’s first NCAA bid in 2007.
After leading Gonzaga to a then-program record 28 victories in 2004-05 and the program’s first NCAA Tournament win in 2009, Graves and the Zags upped the wins record to 29 in 2009-10 as the team advanced to the 2010 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and finished with a 29-5 mark. That also marked the furthest the program had ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament.
In his most successful season to date, Graves guided Gonzaga in 2010-11 to a new school record for victories as it finished 31-5, including a 21-game winning streak. Further, the Zags, who went 14-0 in conference games, advanced all the way to the 2011 NCAA Elite Eight.
This past season Graves and Gonzaga finished with a 28-6 mark and again marched to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Graves’ accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as he has been tabbed the WCC Coach of the Year six times (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011).
Graves got his coaching start as the head coach for Big Bean Community College (1989-90 through 1991-92), before spending five years (1992-93 through 1996-97) as an assistant coach at the University of Portland. Graves first entered the WCC as a head coach at Saint Mary’s College (1997-98 through 1999-2000), where he guided the Gaels to a 66-26 overall record, and 1999 NCAA Tournament and 2000 WNIT appearances.
In all, as a 12-year NCAA Division I head coach, Graves owns a 326-151 record (.683 winning percentage), including 260-125 mark at Gonzaga, and has guided teams to six NCAA Tournaments, advancing as far as the 2011 Elite Eight and 2010 and 2012 Sweet Sixteen, as well as four WNITs.
FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years beginning in 1988. FIBA changed its calendar, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 38-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996. In fact, the USA has not lost a game at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship since 1996 and is riding a 24-0 winning streak into this year’s competition.
Some of the athletes who have represented the U.S. in this event in the past include: Jayne Appel (2006); Alana Beard (2000); Kelsey Bone (2008); Tamika Catchings (1996); Marissa Coleman (2004); Skylar Diggins (2008); Sonja Henning (1988); Niesa Johnson (1992); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Courtney Paris (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Nicole Powell (2000); Lynn Pride (1996); Diana Taurasi (2000); and Candice Wiggins (2004).
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.