The Nevada women’s basketball team has a new coach: Amanda Levens. The former Arizona State associate head coach fills the job opening left by former coach Jane Albright’s retirement in early March.
In her five years at Arizona State, Levens coached seven All-Pac 12 players and was a part of over 100 wins, including four 20-win seasons, a Pac-12 regular season championship, and four straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a sweet sixteen run.
“We will miss her but are incredibly excited for this opportunity she’s been given,” said Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne. “We know she will do an amazing job. Amanda is a great coach and a great person.The student-athletes, university and community are going to love having her as a leader.”
Before her time at Arizona State, Levens was the head coach at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Hired while just 29 years old, Levens helped to guide the team in a transition to the division one level. Despite the uptick in competition, Levens still improved her team, taking the team from five wins in the 2008-2009 season to 18 in the 2011-2012 season.
Levens was also named Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year after finishing third in the conference despite the preseason polls predicting an eighth-place finish.
Before coaching, Levens had a success-filled career as a player. In two years at Old Dominion University, she was a part of two sweet sixteen runs in the NCAA tournament. After transferring to Arizona State for her final two years, she was twice named to the all-Pac-10 team and was named an AP honorable mention All-American before being inducted into the ASU hall of fame in 2012.
Levens has connections to Nevada as well. In addition to earning her master’s in higher education administration from the university in 2007, she served as an assistant coach to former Wolf Pack head coach Kim Gervasoni for five seasons. In her time on Gervasoni’s staff, she was involved in recruiting 2005-2006 Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Brandi Fitzgerald, a junior college All-American, and four members of the WAC All-Freshman team.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Levens return to Nevada to lead our women’s basketball program,” said Wolf Pack athletic director Doug Knuth.
While Levens was at Nevada she helped 16 student-athletes earn All-WAC academic honors. The team made its first-ever postseason tournament, appearing in the 2007 National Invitational Tournament.
“Amanda is like family to me and I am beyond thrilled for her, the university and the women’s basketball program,” Gervasoni said. “I have a lot of love for Amanda and she is the perfect fit to lead this program. She is a great person who is extremely loyal, funny, kind and who relates well with her players. Some of her best attributes are her player development skills. You won’t believe the improvement her players will have from their freshman to senior year. Nevada is getting an amazing basketball coach with an incredible basketball mind who can see the game before it’s happening.”
Levens is extremely happy to return to Reno, saying, “I am absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to be back at Nevada. Having gotten my coaching start here it has always been a special place to me.”
“I grew up going to Jane Albright’s summer basketball camps, watching her teams play and those played a big role in my love for the game,” Levens said. “To have the opportunity to lead the program she has led the past nine years is an exciting opportunity.”
Levens inherits a team coming off an eleven-win season, with just five wins two seasons ago. Next season’s team will return five seniors and four juniors.
“I believe Nevada has all of the necessary resources to build a championship women’s basketball program. I strive to continue to develop a culture of excellence academically, athletically and socially for women’s basketball,” Levens said. “My family and I look forward to being part of this great community.”
Levens will be introduced in a formal press conference next week. The date and time are to be announced.