First year women's basketball head coach Carolyn Kieger is featured as part of GoMarquette.com's summer one-on-one interview series.
Former Marquette University women's basketball standout Carolyn Kieger became the program's fifth head coach on May 1, 2014 and enters her fifth season at the helm of the Golden Eagles in 2018-19.
2017-18 was another banner year for Marquette as Kieger was named BIG EAST Co-Coach of the Year after guiding the Golden Eagles to a program-record 15-3 mark in the BIG EAST and their first-ever BIG EAST regular season title and No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. Marquette earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths for the first time since the 1999-2000 seasons and had its first consecutive 20+-win seasons since 2006-08. Kieger earned her first NCAA win as a head coach as the squad earned a first round win over Dayton.
Individually, Kieger saw Allazia Blockton become Marquette's first-ever BIG EAST Player of the Year and earn off the court recognition as BIG EAST Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Blockton's accolades continued with a second straight WBCA All-American honorable mention honor, unanimous All-BIG EAST first team recognition and WBCA All-Region 4 honor. Blockton broke a 21-year Marquette record scoring 648 total points for the season. Erika Davenport earned her second straight All-BIG EAST second team award, while Amani Wilborn had a stellar season earning All-BIG EAST honorable mention accolades.
By the end of the 2017-18 season Kieger had four 1,000-point scorers on her roster with a fifth player just 15 points away from reaching the milestone.
In just three seasons, Kieger took the Golden Eagles to new heights after a widely successful 2016-17 campaign that saw Marquette earn the BIG EAST Tournament title on its home floor for the first time in program history, while also earning a program-best fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament, as MU returned to the Big Dance for the first time since 2011 and the 10th time in team history. Kieger led Marquette to a 25-8 record last season, the first 20+ win season for the Golden Eagles since 2013-14, while coaching Allazia Blockton to a WBCA All-American honorable mention honor. Blockton earned unanimous All-BIG EAST first team honors as a sophomore and became the youngest player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau and Marquette's 25th all-time. Fellow classmate Erika Davenport was a second-team all-conference selection and Natisha Hiedeman earned honorable mention accolades as the Golden Eagles earned notoriety around the BIG EAST. Kieger's offensive style of run-and-gun showed yet again as the Golden Eagles finished the season ranked 14th in NCAA Division I averaging 78.8 points per game. Marquette also finished the year a perfect 6-0 against teams ranked in the top-25.
In her second year at the helm of the Golden Eagles Kieger had the youngest program in NCAA Division I with eight freshmen on the roster. She took the program to a 14-16 overall record and improved her BIG EAST record to 9-9 and earned the league's No. 6 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Kieger coached Allazia Blockton to become the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, a program-first for Marquette, and saw junior McKayla Yentz named BIG EAST Most Improved Player after tripling her scoring output in 2015-16.
Kieger made her collegiate head coaching debut on Nov. 15, 2014 when Marquette hosted Green Bay in the 2014-15 season opener and she earned her first career victory on Nov. 17, 2014 when Marquette defeated Loyola Chicago, 86-71, at the Al McGuire Center. She completed her first year with a 9-22 overall record, but saw three student-athletes earn individual accolades in the BIG EAST with three all-conference selections.
Kieger spent six seasons as the assistant coach at the University of Miami. She was the Director of Operations for the Golden Eagles during the 2007-08 season and spent a year at Miami as the coordinator of basketball operations from 2006-07.
"As one of Marquette's most successful women's basketball players of all time, Carolyn knows what it takes to succeed both on and off the court," Former Interim President Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J. said. "Carolyn expects excellence from herself, her coaching staff and her players, and her experience coaching in three NCAA postseason appearances will be critical to helping Marquette reach new heights of success. We're thrilled to welcome Carolyn back to campus and look forward to great things to come for our women's basketball program."
While at Miami, Kieger was primarily responsible for guard development. She focused a lot of attention on refining the skills of the Hurricanes' star guard, Shenise Johnson, who earned All-America and ACC Player of the Year honors in 2010-11, while the squad was crowned ACC regular season champions. She also saw guard Riquna Williams earn All-ACC First Team accolades and finish as the ACC scoring leader with 21.7 points per game.
"Carolyn Kieger is an exceptional person with an extraordinary ability to get the most out of everyone she coaches and Marquette has made an amazing hire," Miami head coach Katie Meier said. "Carolyn leads with integrity and her value system permeates all of her decisions. She was an integral part of our success here at Miami, and her impact on this program was immense. I am grateful for the time I had with her here at Miami, and know she is more than ready to lead Marquette. Her fire and passion for her alma mater is 100 percent authentic and it will resonate within (the Marquette) community. I couldn't be more proud of her and am so happy she is pursuing her dream."
As a player at Marquette, Kieger was a four-year starter, three-year captain and is MU's all-time assists leader. She is the only player in program history with at least 1,200 career points, 400 career rebounds and 600 assists. For her career, Kieger averaged 10.3 points per game and was a second team All-BIG EAST selection for the 2005-06 season, as well as, a second team All-Conference USA selection for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. During her senior campaign, she was a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation's top point guard.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Kieger received the BIG EAST Conference's Sportsmanship award as a senior.
A native of Roseville, Minn., Kieger graduated Cum Laude from Marquette University with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and electronic communications in 2006. In 2007, she received the McCahill Award given to a graduated MU senior student-athlete who demonstrated the highest performance in scholarship, leadership and athletics.
"Carolyn is a rising start in the profession and we are excited about the future of Marquette women's basketball under her leadership," Cords said.