Four Court Coaches Selected For 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials
Alicia Komaki from Sierra Canyon School (Calif.), Dan Rolfes from Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.), Trenia Tillis Hoard from Tyler Junior College (Texas), and 2000 Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist Natalie Williams from the Williams Basketball Academy (Utah) will serve as court coaches for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials. The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee.
The 2017 USA Women’s U16 National Team Trials will take place from May 25-29 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The trials are expected to feature 35 invited athletes and 115 applicant athletes vying for one of 12 roster spots on the 2017 USA U16 National Team. Finalists for the team are expected to be announced on the morning of May 29.
During trials, the court coaches will assist 2017 USA U16 head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University), who will also serve as lead clinician, as well as 2017 USA U16 assistant coaches Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and Vanessa Nygaard (Windward School, Calif.).
“When selecting court coaches, we look for excellent teachers who have a good rapport with young athletes,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball women’s developmental national team director and committee chair.
“These coaches have demonstrated success on and off the court in these areas, and Trenia and Natalie have experience with previous USA Basketball teams. Along with the USA U16 National Team coaches, we feel we have an excellent staff that will assist the athletes in performing during the trials and further developing their skills.”
The 2017 USA Women’s U16 National Team Trials will be the first experience with USA Basketball for Komaki, who in 2016-17 led Sierra Canyon to a 23-7 record and a second-consecutive state quarterfinal berth in her fifth year (2012-13 to present) as head coach.
Komaki lifted the Trailblazers to three-straight state championships in her first three seasons at the helm. She boasts a 126-33 overall record (.792 winning percentage) at Sierra Canyon and has won 23-or-more games in each of her five seasons in charge.
“Being selected as a court coach with USA Basketball is an honor,” said Komaki. “I hold USA Basketball in the highest regard and I am privileged to serve them for the trials. I am excited to bring my enthusiasm and love of basketball to the court.
“I am looking forward to instructing athletes who are excited to learn, perform and pursue excellence. There is something special about athletes who are competing to turn a dream into a reality. I can’t wait to feel the energy that will be in the gym. I hope that my positive energy will inspire the athletes to have a confident tryout.”
Rolfes joins USA Basketball as a court coach for the first time after a successful 2016-17 season that saw his Incarnate Word Academy team finish with a 28-4 record and the Missouri Class 4 state championship. The title was Rolfes’ seventh with the Red Knights, and his first since Incarnate Word won three-consecutive state championships from 2013 to 2015. After a 31-1 season in 2013-14, he was named the 2014 MaxPreps Girls Basketball National Coach of the Year.
After wrapping up his 17th season (2000-01 to present) at Incarnate Word, Rolfes was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on April 22, and he was named the 2017 Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year – the seventh such award of his career.
A former Saint Louis University women’s basketball assistant coach from 1996-97 to 1999-2000, Rolfes has racked up a 497-75 overall record (.868) at Incarnate Word.
“The opportunity to coach within the USA Basketball system is a dream come true. USA Basketball is the highest level of basketball in the world. To be able to coach alongside such great coaches and players is truly an honor. I hope to help the U16 team coaching staff by bringing positive energy to the gym every day. I will use my basketball knowledge and experience to help the U16 staff in any way they see fit. I am extremely excited to be included in the trials process.”
Tillis Hoard returns to trials for the first time since 2001, when she was a court coach for the USA Women’s World University Games Team Trials. In her 17th season (2000-01 to present) as the head coach at Tyler Junior College, she led the Apache Ladies’ to a 24-9 record. She boasts a 392-163 overall record (.706) at Tyler, and has helped the Apache Ladies to 24-or-more wins in each of the last four seasons.
After leading Tyler to a 30-6 record and NJCAA National Tournament Elite Eight appearance in 2013-14, she was named the 2014 WBCA Junior College National Coach of the Year.
“The ability to learn and work with the caliber of coaches such as Berube, Gomez and Nygaard is invaluable,” said Tillis Hoard. “I look forward to gaining knowledge from these coaches, my fellow court coaches and everyone within the USA Basketball community.”
Prior to her tenure at Tyler Junior College, Tillis Hoard served as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas for four seasons from 1996-97 through 1999-2000.
Her playing career at Stephen F. Austin University from 1990-91 through 1993-94 forged her into a three-time all-Southland Conference selection, including earning 1994 Southland Conference Player of the Year honors.
She continued her career professionally in Spain before returning to Texas to coach.
“This is a blessing for a small town girl like myself in any capacity,” added Tillis Hoard. “There are not enough words to say how thankful I am that I get to fill this role as a court coach. I will pour everything that I have into this experience, as now for the second time I get an experience that I thought was only given once in a lifetime.”
Williams rounds out the group of court coaches, and will step into her first USA Basketball appointed coaching role after a decorated playing career with the USA Women’s National Team. She won four gold medals with USA Basketball at the 1996 R. William Jones Cup, 1998 and 2002 FIBA World Championship and 2000 Olympic Games, and was named the 1999 USA Basketball Player of the Year.
Williams, who was a 2016 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, now operates the Williams Basketball Academy in Utah after spending three years as a head coach and director of the Utah Flash basketball club.
She previously spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Skyline High School (Utah) (2005-06 to 2009-10) and three years as the head coach for Juan Diego High School (Utah) (2011-12 to 2013-14).
“I have been coaching for 13 years, and I absolutely love mentoring and sharing the knowledge I have acquired over the years from all the great coaches I have had,” said Williams. “I hope to give great advice to the young athletes along with little tips and pointers to help them improve their game.”
“I also want to make sure they relax, have fun and enjoy this amazing experience. Athletes play better when they are not fearful of consequences. I want to encourage them, celebrate their successes and help them maintain their confidence so they can perform at their best.”
A 1994 graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, Williams was a standout basketball and volleyball player for the Bruins. The 1992 AVCA Division I Volleyball Player of the Year, Williams led the UCLA volleyball program to back-to-back NCAA national championships in 1990 and 1991, while being a four-year starter on the basketball team. She also was a finalist for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball team.
She was the 1998 American Basketball League Most Valuable Player and a four-time WNBA All-Star during her eight-year professional playing career.