Utah Valley University announced on Tuesday, Sept. 28 that they have signed women’s basketball coach Dan Nielson to a five year contract extension. Nielson’s original contract was set to expire in 2023 and he is now signed through the 2025-2026 season. He led his team to the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament berth last season.
“It’s massive on so many fronts for me and my family,” said Nielson. “Especially in an industry with so much turnover, it’s great for my recruiting knowing we have solid head coaching security … it’s a big boost of confidence knowing me and my coaching staff will be around long term.”
Nielson got his start as the Wolverines’ head coach in 2019 after acting as the BYU assistant coach from 2013-2017 and BYU associate head coach from 2017-2019. In just two seasons, he took the team from a 12-16 record to a 13-7 record and led his squad to the university’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Since taking over as the head coach at UVU, Nielson has emphasized a culture of family and high expectations.
“The biggest thing is a family culture … I coached all of my assistants, they all played with each other at one point. Those relationships carry over to our players where players feel that family and welcomeness … We also have a culture of competitiveness where we expect to win and get better each and every day.”
Along with the mentality to get better are the lofty goals that he sets for his team.
“We operate with high expectations all the time,” Nielson said. …”Winning a conference championship [is the goal] and we know this season will be more difficult.”
A large part of the Wolverines’ success has been their veteran players, such as juniors Josie Williams, Maria Carvalho and Kayla Anderson. All returning from last season, the upperclassmen on the team are looking to use their experience and help this team make a run at a conference title.
“They make all the difference in the world,” said Nielson. “Now we are at a point where … it’s not so much about teaching them it’s letting them teach younger kids. It creates depth.”
Nielson and his team look to take the top spot in the WAC and make a run in the NCAA Tournament, with their quest beginning on Nov. 9 at the UCCU Center matching up against NAIA opponent Park University.
Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Junior at Utah Valley University majoring in Communications with emphasis in Journalism and Media