The University of the Southwest announced the hiring of Jamene Caldwell as the new Head Women’s Basketball Coach on Thursday, introducing her as the newest member of the Mustang Athletic Staff.
“I am pleased to announce the naming of Jamene Caldwell as the new Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of the Southwest,” stated Vice President for Advancement and Director of Athletics William Weidner. “Jamene brings a demonstrated track record of success in the intercollegiate athletics basketball coaching profession as a top assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level. Her extensive experience as an outstanding recruiter, recruiting coordinator and program builder will greatly assist her efforts of establishing a Women’s Basketball program at USW that will successfully compete for Red River Athletic Conference Championships and NAIA tournament berths on an annual basis.”
As the top assistant coach at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), an NCAA Division I institution and member of the Southland Conference, Jamene Caldwell established herself as an integral part of an impressive turnaround for the SHSU Lady Bearkat Women’s Basketball program. She was a key component in the transformation of a Lady Bearkat basketball team that had not posted a winning record since 1996 into the squad that claimed the 2012-13 Southland Conference regular season championship and garnered the program’s first post-season invitation to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
While serving at SHSU, the women’s basketball program qualified for 4 consecutive Southland Conference tournaments. The 2011-12 season saw the Lady Bearkats win their first regular season Southland Conference West Division championship while also making an appearance in the conference tournament finals. That success also lead to the program’s first ever post season national tournament appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament (WBI).
During the 2012-13 season, SHSU earned their second consecutive Southland Conference West Division championship and the Lady BearKats’ first Southland Conference regular season championship. The 12-4 league record that season marked the highest winning percentage in the program’s 25 years as a member of the Southland Conference. The season was highlighted with history making appearances in both the WNIT pre-season and WNIT post-season NCAA Division I national tournaments.
The 35 victories during this two-year span mark the most in a two-year period for SHSU’s 30-year history as an NCAA program. As an accomplished teacher of the game and a well respected basketball coach, Jamene’s efforts assisted the development of 3 nationally ranked players at SHSU including a Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Her commitment to student-athlete success in the classroom was also demonstrated as Caldwell helped see 23 women’s basketball players make the Southland Conference Academic Honor Roll a total of 31 times. In addition, SHSU Women’s Basketball was honored in 2010 as one of the Lady BearKats was selected as the Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year for both academic and athletic accomplishments.
After spending her past 8 seasons with NCAA Division I Sam Houston State University, Caldwell joins the Mustang Athletic Department with years of experience under her belt. "I am extremely excited to be the next head women's basketball coach at the University of the Southwest. I have been dreaming about this day for several years and I am blessed that my opportunity will begin at USW,” said Caldwell on Thursday, “I can't wait to hit the road in July to recruit; then settle down in Hobbs to meet my returning players. I want to thank Mr. Weidner, Dr. Dill and the entire university community for welcoming my family and I with open arms. It is a great time to be a Mustang.”
A Bowling Green, Kentucky native, Caldwell graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of South Alabama and later earned her Master of Education degree from Sam Houston State University. As a standout student-athlete, Caldwell was a four-year letter winner at South Alabama where she still ranks as one of the Jaguars’ all-time leading shot blockers. She played in 102 games during her South Alabama career, scoring 595 points and pulling down 367 rebounds. Following her NCAA Division I intercollegiate playing career, Caldwell began her collegiate coaching career with Mercer University where she served on the Lady Bears coaching staff for two years prior to her being named to the women’s basketball coaching staff at SHSU in 2006.
“Jamene Caldwell’s well-rounded coaching background, excellent recruiting organization and proven experience as a program builder on the intercollegiate level will serve her well in her role as our Head Women’s Basketball Coach at USW,” Weidner continued, “Her commitment to student-athlete success in the classroom and on the field of play will be a great fit with our athletic department core values as well as our University Mission Statement in this regard.”
“Jamene and her husband Mike, along with their children Jalen and Ty will be wonderful additions to our athletic department, the University and the Hobbs community. On behalf of our USW Athletic Department and the University of the Southwest, we welcome Jamene Caldwell as the newest member of our Mustang Family.”