USD's Williamson earns five-year contract extension

VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster announced this week a new five-year contract with head volleyball coach Leanne Williamson. The announcement follows one of the most successful seasons in program history highlighted by 21 wins and the team's first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament.

"Leanne has proven to be an outstanding coach and leader of young women," said Herbster. "I couldn't be happier that she will be the coach of Coyote volleyball and continue to build a legacy here."

Williamson started at USD as an assistant coach in 2009 and became the program's ninth head coach in 2014. Since taking the head role, the Coyotes are 97-56 (.634) including a 56-22 (.718) mark in Summit League play. USD won a record 25 games in 2016, which culminated with the program's first conference title. The Coyotes won the Summit League Tournament this past season to reach the big dance for the first time.

"I have been blessed to be a part of this program and community for 10 years now, and I am so excited to continue!" said Williamson. "The student-athletes within this program are amazing people and will continue to do great things in the classroom, on the court and in the community. Our athletic department and institution provide a first-class experience for our student-athletes that allows for success on the court and in the classroom. Our staff and players are excited to build on the success we have experienced."

The 2016 Summit League Coach of the Year, Williamson boasts the highest win percentage in program history, and is tied with her predecessor, Matt Houk, for the second-most wins. She stands 44 wins shy of Janet Whitman, who won 141 games in 12 seasons from 1974-85.

Williamson is a native of Hartland, Wisconsin. She arrived at USD following a decorated playing career at UW-Milwaukee from 2004-07. In 2007, she led the nation in triple-doubles while earning AVCA all-region and honorable mention all-America honors for a second-straight season. She was also named Horizon League Player of the Year. Williamson finished her career with 1,146 kills, 1,329 digs and 2,264 assists while leading the Panthers to four regular season titles.

Williamson graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in education and completed her master's degree at USD in 2010. She and her husband, Tyler, reside in Vermillion with their twin boys, Jaxson and Logan, and infant daughter, Kinsley.