DAYTON — Chaminade Julienne grad Tamika Williams-Jeter has been named the next head coach of the University of Dayton women’s basketball program.
She’s been successful at every level of basketball, both as a player and as a coach. From a stellar playing career at the top levels of high school, college, and professionally, to coaching stops at Division I powerhouses such as Kansas, Kentucky, Penn State, and Ohio State, and head coaching experience at Wittenberg, she’s been a winner everywhere she goes.
“It means everything,” Williams-Jeter said. “This is just like stuff you dream about but you just never think is going to happen. You don’t see yourself here. I’ve seen myself win a national championship, I’ve seen myself being a pro, I’ve seen myself on ESPN or doing these great things but I never saw myself in this moment as a head coach.”
In 1997 and 1998 Williams-Jeter was named the Ohio Player of the Year. In 1998 she was also named the national high school player of the year and was part of UConn’s famed recruiting class with Sue Bird, Swin Cash, and Asjha Jones. Those 4 ended up going in the first 6 picks of the 2002 WNBA Draft.
Williams-Jeter never played in UD Arena while at UConn but is use to playing at Dayton when she was in high school. Game against Alter and Beavercreek got moved to UD because the crowds were too large for the regular home gyms.
“I just remember running down that long hall and the smell,” Williams-Jeter said. “I was here at UD Arena a lot. Of course it didn’t look like this. It just had that popcorny smell and the parents use to push us back in the concession in the back. It just brings back great memories because all me and my sisters and brother all played here. The nostalgia is just, it’s crazy.”
After CJ she won 2 national championships at UConn, set the NCAA record for career field goal percentage, set the WNBA single season record for field goal percentage.
She spent several years at ESPN as a commentator. Then Williams-Jeter returned to coaching. She had stops as an assistant at Kansas, Kentucky, Penn State, and Ohio State. In 2021 she was named the head coach at Wittenberg. Williams-Jeter led the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.
Originally she was going to stay loyal to Wittenberg until athletic director and friend Brian Alger convinced her she was the perfect person to take over at UD.
Now she’s back home where the First Four, OHSAA basketball tournament, and The Basketball Tournament are played.
“We are the mini-mecha of basketball,” Williams-Jeter said. “They didn’t believe it in 98 when I was in Connecticut, they didn’t even know where Dayton, Ohio is but they know where it is now so we’re not just this place.”
Just a year ago Williams-Jeter was introduced at Wittenberg over a zoom call. Monday she was in front of family and friends taking pictures and hugging people as she took over for Shauna Green, who left for Illinois. That contrast is like women’s basketball in 2022 and 1998. Something she says that could help in recruiting keeping Dayton’s elite players home.
“Back then you couldn’t tell a kid to come to Dayton and say you were going to win a national championship or you’re going to get to the Elite Eight. That UD team that beat me at Kentucky changed the game. And now it’s only going farther. I’m watching Creighton take whoever they played down, I’m watching South Dakota take somebody down. You’re watching these mid majors get to the Elite Eight games or close to it.”
Williams-Jeter earned her bachelor’s degree from UConn in interpersonal communication. She and her husband Richard and have two sons, R.J. and Jojo.
Williams-Jeter takes over a Dayton program coming off a 2021-22 regular season Atlantic 10 Championship. The Flyers finished 26-6 with a win over DePaul in the NCAA Tournament. Dayton has reached the postseason for 15 consecutive seasons, including 10 of the last 13 NCAA tournaments.
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