JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Ayana McWilliams has been named as the next head women's basketball coach at Lincoln (Mo) University. A press conference was held on Monday (May 2) to announce the hiring.
McWilliams succeeds Nicole Collier who had been head coach for the past four years.
"We were looking for an individual that could recruit a mixture of talent; would have a terrific work ethic, discipline and high character; as well as display passion for the opportunity to build a successful program here at Lincoln University," said John Moseley, Lincoln University Director of Athletics.
"We found all of that, and more, in Ayana McWilliams. After speaking with coaches that she had worked with in the past, it was clear that her experiences in Division I and Division II had prepared her to become a head coach. Her recruiting resume is impressive at both the D1 and D2 levels, and the success of the teams that she worked with has been tremendous."
McWilliams spent the past five years as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina Upstate, an NCAA Division I program. This past season, McWilliams helped lead the Spartans to a program-record 22 victories as well as a berth in the Women's Basketball Invitational tournament, USC Upstate's second postseason trip in the past three years. The Spartans won their first postseason game as a Division I team this spring and advanced all the way to the WBI semifinals.
"I appreciate all the support that I've had to get to this point," McWilliams said. "I'd like to thank (Lincoln University president) Dr. Rome for this opportunity, and for trusting me to help carry on the vision of this college. I'm extremely excited about being a part of the Lincoln University family and even more excited about its future."
Before joining the Spartans, McWilliams spent two years as an assistant coach at Elizabeth City State, where she helped turn a team picked last in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's preseason poll finish second and advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament. McWilliams helped the Vikings win the CIAA Northern Division title in 2010-11.
McWilliams has also coached at Livingstone and Winston-Salem State.