Louisiana State University head coach Nikki Caldwell tackled her first coaching assignment with USA Basketball as an assistant for the 2012 USA U18 National Team that claimed gold in Puerto Rico, and on Jan. 29, 2013, USA Basketball announded Caldwell would return to assist with the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to have the opportunity to coach the FIBA U19 World Championship team,” said Caldwell. “Not only will I work along the side of great coaches, but I look forward to working with talented and skilled players. I am thrilled to represent the United States at this elite level of basketball.”
Currently 12-8 (all records as of 1/28/13) and in the middle of her second year at LSU, in her first season Caldwell led the Lady Tigers to a 23-11 record, including 13-4 in Southeastern Conference (SEC) play, the 2012 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) and now owns an overall record of 107-45 (.704 winning percentage) as a collegiate head coach.
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 captured 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 Tournament titles. 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.