The off-season has been full of change for the USF women’s basketball team. Assistant coaches Amy Wright and Harry Elifson have left the program, but coach Jose Fernandez filled one of those positions Thursday with the hiring of Jaida Williams.
Williams, a Miami native, comes to the USF program after serving as the director of basketball operations at the University of Iowa last season. Williams was in charge of coordinating the day-to-day activities of the Hawkeyes’ program.
Fernandez is excited about getting Williams on his staff because he feels her experiences as a player will help in her coaching and on the recruiting trail.
“I think she has a bright future in this profession and she is young and energetic,” Fernandez said. “She is committed into putting in the time and working hard in this program.”
Fernandez is familiar with Williams; he recruited her out of high school when he was an assistant coach at Barry University. While at Barry, Williams was a standout player as a freshman, leading the Buccaneers to a 21-9 record and being named to the Sunshine State Conference All-Freshman team.
After leading the team in scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg) as a sophomore, Williams finished her collegiate career at California State Polytechnic at Pomona. Williams helped lead Cal Poly to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament Regional before falling to Seattle Pacific 80-63.
Williams got her start in coaching as an assistant at Cal Poly during the 2004-05 season. She was in charge of academics, scouting, recruiting and also assisted in game preparation.
With recruiting class coming in this season, Williams will get a fresh start to help mold some talented players. Coming from the Big Ten, Williams is familiar with Division-I basketball, so the transition to the Big East should be a smooth one.
“She will help in recruiting and will be working with our post players,” Fernandez said. “We have seven talented players coming in and we will lose four after this year, but I’m excited about her joining our program.”