Katie Meier enters her eighth season as the head coach of the Hurricanes' women's basketball program in 2012-13. A well known and respected figure in women's basketball, Meier has worked tirelessly to put her mark on Miami's program and to build a winning tradition.
All of her hard work was rewarded after the 2010-11 season as she was named the Associated Press National Coach of the Year - sharing the award with Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer.
Meier led the Hurricanes into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 and its win over Gardner-Webb in the first round was the first tournament win for the 'Canes since 1993. Miami entered the 2010-11 season with high internal expectations, but were picked eighth in the Preseason ACC Poll and were coming off a season in which it was the No. 12 seed in the ACC Tournament.
However, the Hurricanes exceeded all of the outside expectations and at one point, won 17 straight games. They were a perfect 20-0 inside the BankUnited Center and finished 12-2 in ACC play - earning their first regular season conference title since joining the league in 2004. As a reward, Meier was named the ACC Coach of the Year and later would be selected as the WBCA/RUSSELL ATHLETIC Region 2 Coach of the Year, as voted on by her peers.
Meier continued that success into the 2011-12 season, a year in which the Canes accomplished many firsts for the program.
Miami defeated Maryland - the eventual ACC Tournament champ - twice during the regular season, the first when they were ranked No. 5 in the nation. It was the first time in program history that the Hurricanes had defeated a Top 5 team. Later in the year, UM ascended to its highest ranking ever, also at No. 5.
The Hurricanes have proved to be formidable on the court inside the BankUnited Center as the 2011-12 season saw Miami go undefeated at home for the second consecutive season. Their 16-0 mark on the year, pushed the Canes record win streak to 40 consecutive games. Only Stanford ended the season with a longer active streak.
For her dedication to the University of Miami and the athletic department, Meier was signed to a two-year contract extension, securing the Wheaton, Ill. native through the 2017-18 season.
A New Era
Hired on April 19, 2005, then UM Athletics Director Paul Dee announced the appointment of Meier in front of national and local media, fans, alumni and support staff, signifying the beginning of a new era.
Following an unprecedented career as one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Meier quickly established herself in the coaching ranks. Upon her appointment at UM, following an impressive four-year tenure as the head coach at Charlotte where she helped bring the 49er program into national prominence, Meier made it clear that her goal is to make Miami one of the premier women's basketball programs in the country.
Creating a Winning Program
In her first season, Meier wasted little time in making the first steps towards those goals. After receiving little attention in the ACC preseason polls, the Hurricanes posted an impressive overall record of 17-13. After fighting through a conference that would send nine teams to the postseason, including three to the NCAA Final Four. Miami finished with a sixth-place, 6-8 record in ACC play en route to earning a berth into the second round of the 2006 Women's National Invitation Tournament.
Throughout the season Miami posted wins over ranked teams such as Mississippi (No. 25), Boston College (No. 21) and Virginia Tech (No. 25)--and nearly knocked off then-No. 1 Duke in double-overtime. The Hurricanes also recorded wins over two eventual conference champions in Hartford (America East) and Oakland (Mid-Continent). Under her direction, standout Tamara James produced one of the greatest seasons ever seen by a UM player in 2005-06, including becoming the University's all-time leading scorer before being taken as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.
In Meier's second season in 2006-07, the Hurricanes got off to a strong start, winning seven of their first eight games--including a 79-70 win over Indiana to claim the UM Thanksgiving Tournament title. On Dec. 1, Meier picked up her 100th career victory as the Hurricanes defeated Jackson State, 77-50. However, with only eight healthy players to call upon by the start of the ACC schedule, Miami faced challenge after challenge competing in a league that ranked among the top-three strongest women's basketball conferences nationally and produced two of the NCAA Tournament's four No. 1 seeds in 2006-07.
Regardless, Renee Taylor emerged as the ACC's leading scorer--upholding Miami's streak of producing the league's leading scorer in all three years it had been a member. The All-ACC Second Team selection set school records in single-game scoring with 42 points at Houston and became the 19th Hurricane to score at least 1,000 points--and just the sixth to do so in her first two seasons. In addition, transfer Maurita Reid emerged as a defensive threat, tying the school record with 10 steals versus Wake Forest and finishing among the ACC's leaders and NCAA's top 10 in steals per game.
The 2007-08 season, Meier's third with the Hurricanes, saw Maurita Reid continue her rise among the ACC elite. The senior was nothing short of impressive shooting beyond the arc and picking opponent's pockets. She hit four or more three-pointers on 10 different occasions and finished the season with 110 steals, good for second in the conference and fifth in the NCAA. The Queens, N.Y. native led the team in points (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) and was also named the ACC All-Defensive Team.
With a No. 21 incoming recruiting class, Meier and the Hurricanes saw significant improvement during the 2008-09 season. The freshman class was highlighted by McDonald's All-American Shenise Johnson - out of Henrietta, N.Y. and Riquna Williams - from nearby Pahokee, Fla.
Johnson lived up to the hype as she was the team leader on the season in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Under Meier's guidance, Johnson was named the ACC Rookie of the Week on three occasions and was named to the ACC All-Freshmen team as well as ACC Honorable Mention. The versatile guard/forward also led the U19 USA team to a gold medal finish in the 2009 World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 2009-10 season was one of the most successful in program history. Under Meier's vision, the Hurricanes advanced to the WNIT Championship game. Miami posted a 22-14 overall record - the first 20-win campaign since the 2002-03 season and just the eighth all-time.
In her sophomore season, Johnson was joined by a healthy Riquna Williams and the duo racked up accolades throughout the season. Johnson was named First Team All-ACC, while Williams garnered second-team honors. The tandem led Miami to a 5-1 WNIT record - the deepest postseason run in team history - with both earning all-tournament honors along the way.
Following the 2009-10 campaign, then University of Miami Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt announced that Meier signed a contract extension through 2015.
"We are excited about the tremendous progress our women's basketball team achieved this past season," said Hocutt. "Coach Meier continues to assemble a special group of talented young women at the University of Miami and we look forward to the future success of our program."
Miami's success proved to be immediate, as it earned a conference regular season title in 2010-11 and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons.
Johnson and Williams proved to be the All-America candidates that they were expected to be. In fact, Johnson was named to four different All-America squads, including the prestigious WBCA/State Farm Coaches' All-America Team. She also earned AP, USBWA and Full Court Press honors and became the second player in program history to be named the conference player of the year (Frances Savage - BIG EAST - 1992). Johnson also garnered All-ACC Defensive Team honors for the second straight season and was named to the ACC Tournament Team. Williams, along with Johnson, was named First Team All-ACC and was the conference scoring champion, pouring in 21.7 points per game.
The duo combined for seven ACC Player of the Week accolades on the season as Williams took home the award on four occasions. No other team in the league was recognized more than twice for the weekly honor.
The season also saw the emergence of sophomore forward Morgan Stroman. The 6-1, 2009 McDonald's All-American matched Johnson for the team lead with 11 double-doubles on the season, as she scored 13.6 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game. For her efforts she was named Third Team All-ACC.
Miami's success continued into the 2011-12 season. The Canes finished second in the conference standings with a record of 14-2 and were 26-6 overall. UM also defeated the eventual conference tournament champion - Maryland - both times they faced in the regular season.
Seniors Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams continued to live up to the hype of them being one of the best backcourt duos in the nation, as they were second and third in the league in scoring and each were again named First Team All-ACC. The accolade was the third straight honor for Johnson and the second for Williams. Johnson was also named to the All-ACC Defensive Team for the third consecutive season. Johnson earned a place on five different All-America teams, including the WBCA squad for the second straight year. Williams eanred AP All-America Third Team recognition in her final collegiate campaign as well.
Unfortunately, Morgan Stroman suffered a season-ending injury midway through the conference schedule, leaving a seemingly insurmountable void in the lineup. However, junior guard Stefanie Yderstrom stepped up to the occasion. The native of Sweden ended the season with more three-pointers than any other player in the league as was rewarded with a Third Team All-ACC selection.
Miami once again advanced to the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed. The Canes traveled to Spokane, Wash. and defeated the No. 14 seed, Idaho State in the first round but fell to host Gonzaga in the second.
Though the departure of Williams, Johnson and Sylvia Bullock cannot be ignored, there is plenty of talent returning for the Canes for the 2012-13 season, including four players that have started a significant amount of games and All-ACC performers in Yderstrom and Stroman. Pepper Wilson, the 6-6 center, also entered her name into the fray of players that will look to garner conference and even national recognition with her play late in the 2011-12 campaign.
Building a Tradition at Charlotte
Meier could solely be responsible for bringing the 49er women's basketball program into national prominence. Prior to her appointment as head coach at Charlotte in 2001, the 49ers had only one previous postseason appearance--a WNIT berth in 1990.
During her four-year tenure at Charlotte, Meier led the 49ers to three postseason berths--one NCAA Tournament appearance (2003) and two WNIT appearances (2004, 2005)--and a combined overall record of 76-45 (.628).
In her inaugural campaign at Charlotte, Meier led the 49ers to a 16-13 finish to record their first winning season in eight years.
The following season, she guided the 49ers to a 21-9 finish marking the most wins (21) in over a decade at Charlotte. With a 12-2 record in Conference USA play, Meier and the 49ers also earned the school's first-ever C-USA regular-season championship and earned the school's first-ever appearance at the NCAA Tournament.
In 2003-04, Meier and the 49ers concluded the season with a 17-14 record while earning a trip to the 2004 WNIT. Along with marking the first time in school history that the 49ers had made back-to-back postseason appearances, Meier also led Charlotte to their first-ever postseason victory with a 78-71 win over Clemson in the first round of the WNIT.
In 2004-05, she enjoyed an overall record of 22-9 to tie for the third-most single season wins in Charlotte history and the most wins for the program in a single season since 1990-91. The 49ers also advanced to the postseason for the third-consecutive season and the WNIT for the second-straight year.
Prior to Charlotte, Meier spent seven seasons at Tulane University, serving as an associate head coach from 1999-01 and an assistant coach on the Green Wave staff from 1994-99. As a member of the Tulane coaching staff, Meier helped the Green Wave to an overall record of 164-52 (.759) in seven seasons, including the highest ranking in school history (13th by the Associated Press) in 2000 and a school-record 27 wins the same season.
During her time at Tulane, Meier and the Green Wave also saw an impressive seven-year run at the NCAA Tournament.
Meier began her collegiate coaching career at the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she served as an assistant coach during the 1993-94 season.
Establishing Her Legacy as a Player
Meier's success as a coach is a direct reflection of her playing career as a standout at Duke University. A four-year letterwinner for the Blue Devils under head coach Debbie Leonard from 1986-90, Meier's name is scattered throughout the Duke record books.
She currently ranks among the school's all-time career leaders in scoring average (16.2 points per game), steals (232), free throws made (447) and free throws attempted (624). She is also listed among Duke's leaders in career points (1,761), field goals made (653), field goals attempted (1,283), assists (409) and rebounding average (6.1 rebounds per game).
Meier wasted no time making her mark at Duke, earning ACC Rookie of the Year and Basketball Yearbook Freshman All-America honors 1986. Meier injured her knee in 1988 during her junior season and ultimately missed the entire 1989 campaign while recovering.
Meier returned to Duke for her senior season in 1990 without missing a beat, earning Kodak/WBCA District 2 All-America and All-ACC First Team accolades while being named the Blue Devils' most valuable player.
In 2002, Meier was honored by Duke for her efforts as a player when she was named to the inaugural induction class in the Blue Devils' Hall of Honor. That same year Meier was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference's 50th Anniversary Team. In 2006, she was once again honored by the conference when she was named one of 12 ACC Tournament Legends at the 2006 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament.
Meier's success on the court was only outdone by her accomplishments in the classroom. She was named to the Dean's List from 1986-88. In 1988 she also earned GTE Academic All-America Second Team honors.
After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature with cum laude honors in 1989, Meier went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching English from Duke in 1990.
Following her playing career at Duke, Meier moved overseas to play three seasons with BBC Mini-Flat Waregem in Belgium from 1990-93. There, she helped lead her team to three First Division regular season titles and one Belgian Cup Championship.
While in Belgium, Meier also spent time teaching classes of conversational English while coaching teams of 15- to 17-year-olds.
A native of Wheaton, Ill., Meier graduated from Wheaton High School in 1985 and in October of 2009 was inducted into her high school hall of fame.