Ayana McWilliams Named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Lincoln University

Ayana McWilliams has been named as the next head women’s basketball coach at Lincoln University. A press conference was held on Monday (May 2) to announce the hiring.

“We were looking for an individual that could recruit a mixture of talent; would have a terrific work ethic, discipline and high character; as well as display passion for the opportunity to build a successful program here at Lincoln University,” said John Moseley, Lincoln University Director of Athletics.

“We found all of that, and more, in Ayana McWilliams. After speaking with coaches that she had worked with in the past, it was clear that her experiences in Division I and Division II had prepared her to become a head coach. Her recruiting resume is impressive at both the D1 and D2 levels, and the success of the teams that she worked with has been tremendous.”

McWilliams spent the past five years as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina Upstate, an NCAA Division I program. This past season, McWilliams helped lead the Spartans to a program-record 22 victories as well as a berth in the Women’s Basketball Invitational tournament, USC Upstate’s second postseason trip in the past three years. The Spartans won their first postseason game as a Division I team this spring and advanced all the way to the WBI semifinals.

As a member of USC Upstate’s coaching staff, McWilliams helped the Spartans lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in eight statistics, including scoring, rebounding and field goals made. USC Upstate also finished second in the league in steals and third in both blocks and assists.

“I appreciate all the support that I’ve had to get to this point,” McWilliams said. “I’d like to thank (Lincoln University president) Dr. Rome for this opportunity, and for trusting me to help carry on the vision of this college. I’m extremely excited about being a part of the Lincoln University family and even more excited about its future.”

Before joining the Spartans, McWilliams spent two years as an assistant coach at Elizabeth City, where she helped turn a team picked last in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s preseason poll finish second and advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament. McWilliams helped the Vikings win the CIAA Northern Division title in 2010-11.

McWilliams, who has also coached at Livingstone and Winston-Salem State, has developed 10 players into all-conference honorees. That includes Tee’Ara Copney, USC Upstate’s all-time leading scorer (1,635 points), and Brittany Starling, the first player in USC Upstate history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

McWilliams played two seasons at East Carolina before transferring to Brevard College, where she is the program’s all-time leader in assists (296) and steals (288). McWilliams averaged 16.5 points, the second-most in school history, and was a two-time all-league honoree. McWilliams graduated from Brevard in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and received a master’s degree in sports management and sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy in 2011.


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