Nicole Collier Elevated to Lincoln Women's Basketball Head Coach
JEFFERSON CITY -- Nicole Collier, an assistant with the Lincoln women's basketball team over the past three seasons, has been elevated to the position of head coach. Lincoln athletic director Betty Kemna made the announcement on Monday (May 21).
Over the past three seasons, Collier has helped Lincoln transition from playing in the Heartland Conference to playing in the MIAA. After posting a 2-24 overall record, including a 1-21 league mark, in the Blue Tigers' first season back in the MIAA (2010-11), Collier helped guide Lincoln to 15-13 mark last season and an 83-77 win over No. 12 Pittsburg State in the first round of the conference tournament. The 15 wins tie for the second-most in program history. Additionally, Lincoln won eight MIAA games, the most league wins in a season every by a Blue Tiger team.
"We didn't have to look too far for our next head coach," Kemna said. "Coach Collier has been instrumental in the progression of our women's basketball program over the last three seasons while serving as the assistant coach. She has helped the program take a tremendous step forward in that time, and we know she will continue to raise the program to new heights."
With Collier as an assistant coach, the Blue Tigers have posted 12 or more wins in two of the past three years. Last season Lincoln defeated two nationally-ranked teams, including defeating Pittsburg State for the first postseason win in program history. A vital part of Lincoln's recruiting process, Collier has helped develop a team that was an eight-point loss away (to Emporia State, 68-60) from playing for a berth in the NCAA tournament in the MIAA Championship game.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to build on our success from last year," Collier said. "We have eight returners who are all solid players, and I think we are in great shape to compete on a night-in, night-out basis with anybody in the MIAA. I'm excited to lead this program, to build a stronger overall team and to develop a solid foundation to keep Lincoln as a contender in this league for the forseeable future."
This will be the first head coaching job for Collier, who joined the Blue Tigers in 2009 after serving as an assistant with Central Missouri from 2004-2009. At UCM, working with head coach Dave Slifer, Collier helped lead the Jennies to two NCAA Regional appearances, five straight seasons of 14 or more victories and three winning seasons. The Jennies defeated five nationally ranked opponents in that dpan and made the MIAA tournament field each season.
"I am very grateful to our president and athletic director for this opportunity," Collier said. "I appreciate the chance to stay at Lincoln and continue developing this team. It's always nice to have your own program to run, and I'm excited to start working."
Collier's experience with the program and the progress the team has made over the past three seasons were key factors in her hiring.
"We felt that Coach Collier deserved the opportunity to continue what she was helping to build here at Lincoln and look forward to see what she can accomplish in the years to come," Kemna said.
Collier brings to the leadership role a wealth of experience in the MIAA. In addition to serving as an assistant at Central Missouri and Lincoln, Collier spent two seasons playing at Missouri Western before graduating in 2003. Collier was an All-Region and All-Conference player with the Griffons, ultimately leading Missouri Western a No. 1 national ranking during each season. During the 2001-02 season, she led MWSU to an MIAA title and for 2002-03 she served as a team captain.
Prior to transferring to Missouri Western, Collier began her collegiate career playing at Jefferson College where, as a freshman, she led the program to its first-ever berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. Collier then led the team back to the tournament as a sophomore, guiding Jefferson to a third-place finish. Collier was a two-time All-American at Jefferson and, in 2009, was the first athlete inducted into the Jefferson College Hall of Fame.
Collier has an undergraduate degree in physical education and a master's in exercise science and sport administration. She and her husband, Terry, currently reside in Holts Summit with their daughter, Reese.