Women’s basketball alum named head coach at Baylor

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Former Marquette women’s basketball guard Nicki Collen, formerly Nicki Taggart, has been named the new head coach at Baylor University, Bears Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhodes announced in a statement Monday night.

“Today is an exciting day for Baylor University and our women’s basketball program. Nicki is a passionate leader of young women and an elite basketball mind and teacher of the game,” Rhoades said in a statement. “She is a great mission fit who shares in our vision of Preparing Champions for Life by commanding excellence both on and off the court. Nicki’s professional experience will be invaluable to developing players for the next level. Her addition sustains our commitment to the women’s basketball program at the highest level. We welcome Nicki, her husband Tom and children, Connor, Reese and Logan, to the Baylor family.”

Collen heads to Waco, Texas after spending the last three years as head coach of the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA. In 2018, she was named the WNBA Coach of the Year after leading the Dream to the WNBA Semifinals with a 23-11 overall record that season.

“I am thrilled to be the head coach at Baylor University. I believe it is the top job in the country for women’s basketball,” Collen said in the statement. “I am excited to begin working with this extremely talented team and I am grateful for the unwavering support of President Livingstone and Mack Rhoades. The success of this program speaks for itself, and I will begin working today to ensure Baylor women’s basketball continues to be a program that excels at the highest levels.”

Collen played under former Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell from 1997 and 1998 after transferring from Purdue.

During her two seasons in Milwaukee, Collen compiled 421 total assists which ranks eighth all-time in program history.  In 1997-98, she earned All-Conference USA Second Team honors and finished third in the nation in assists with 7.4 per game.

Collen was also led MU to two-straight NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997 and 1998. In addition, the 5-foot-5 guard helped the Golden Eagles win its first NCAA tournament game in 1997, upsetting Clemson 70-66.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at john.leuzzi@marquette.edu or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.