PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Interim Director of Athletics, Mike Emendorfer, announced Wednesday (August 7, 2019) the appointment of Kelly McNiff as the Pioneers' head women's basketball coach.
McNiff has most recently served as lead assistant women's basketball coach at her alma mater, UW Oshkosh, for the last six seasons. During that time, the Titans racked up six 20-plus game winning seasons, five NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, six WIAC Tournament Championship appearances, and was a member of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association 2019 Staff of the Year under the leadership of head coach Brad Fischer.
"I would first like to sincerely thank Interim Athletic Director Mike Emendorfer, the search and screen committee, and everyone else involved in selecting me as the next UW-Platteville head women's basketball coach," said McNiff. "I also owe thanks to Coach Brad Fischer, all my former players, and the entire UW Oshkosh community. My experience as an assistant coach under Coach Fischer has made me a stronger, better prepared, and more confident coach. Without all of them, this opportunity would not be possible."
While at UW Oshkosh, the Titans advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen in 2014, 2017, and 2019 while also making tournament appearances in 2015 and 2016, after garnering the WIAC Championship Tournament Title in 2017 and 2019.
When asked about leading a team she has competed against for the last six seasons McNiff said, "I am honored and excited to lead a program I believe is on the rise. Having scouted this team for the past six years as my opponent, I have a familiarity with the players that will allow me to hit the ground running. Last year I saw a team that made great improvements from the year before, and with a majority of the that group returning, I cannot wait to get started."
"We are excited to have Kelly join our team and lead the Pioneers' women's basketball program," Emendorfer said. "She knows the WIAC and comes from a program that is synonymous with success and developing talent."
The Titans, who have been consistently a Top 35 team on D3Hoops.com polls, led NCAA Division III in turnovers per game in 2018 (11), second in 2017 (11.8), and third in 2016 (12.1). McNiff was also involved in the recruitment and development of four All-Americans, ten All-WIAC First Team selections, eight All-Central region award recipients, and six all-defensive team placements.
"Platteville is a tight-knit community. Becoming a head coach, in the nation's most competitive conference, and here at UW-Platteville is a dream achieved," McNiff said. "We will continue to build a women's basketball program that the University, the athletic department, the Alumni, and the community can be extremely proud to call their own."
"We look forward to her bringing new ideas and developing off the success of this last season," Emendorfer said.
Prior to coaching at UW Oshkosh McNiff led the girls basketball team at De Pere High School from 2010-13. She guided the Redbirds to a 96-11 record, three Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) titles and a Division 1 state championship in 2012. De Pere was the state runner-up in 2010. In 2013, De Pere won its first 24 games before getting beat by Kimberly in a sectional semifinal. The loss ended a 44-game winning streak for the Redbirds.
In addition to time spent at De Pere, McNiff spent two years (2008-09) guiding Green Bay Southwest High School. She was an assistant coach at Oshkosh North High School in 2002 and the head junior varsity coach at De Pere from 2003-07. McNiff also served two seasons as an assistant softball coach at Oshkosh North (2001-03) and UW-Green Bay (2005-06).
The Pacelli High School (Stevens Point, Wis.) graduate was named the Associated Press State Coach of the Year in 2012 and the FRCC Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012.
While on the court at UW Oshkosh, McNiff helped the Titans compile a 98-15 overall record, including marks of 27-2 in 1999 and 26-2 in 1998. UW Oshkosh qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship all four years and captured WIAC titles in 1998 and 1999.
McNiff started 52 of the 99 games that she played for UW Oshkosh. Her best statistical season came in 2000, when she averaged 6.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and a team-high 3.1 assists. McNiff also competed on UW Oshkosh's 1997 softball team that reached the NCAA Division III Tournament.
After graduating from UW Oshkosh in 2000, McNiff served one season as a student assistant coach for the Titans. UW Oshkosh won the WIAC title and finished the 2001 season with a 19-6 record.
McNiff earned bachelor's degrees in exercise and fitness management (2000) and physical education (2004) from UW Oshkosh. She went on to earn a master's degree in educational technology from Marian University during 2009.
Students report for the fall semester on September 3, and McNiff will officially begin her role as head coach on August 19.