South Dakota School of Mines Athletics Director Joel Lueken has announced the hiring of Jeri Jacobson as the new Hardrocker women’s basketball coach effective Aug. 4. Jacobson, a former assistant at the University of Idaho, becomes the fourth head coach of the Hardrocker women’s program.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Jeri Jacobson to the Hardrocker Athletic Family,” Lueken said. “She is an impressive professional with tremendous work ethic and great knowledge of the game of basketball. I’m confident that Jeri will mentor our ladies through their ‘Hardrock’ journey by becoming the very best they can be on and off the court.”
Jacobson spent the last four years as an assistant coach for the Idaho Vandals, joining the program in 2015. Jacobson worked primarily with the guards/wings and assisted with a variety of duties including: overseeing the team’s academics, social media accounts, marketing, community outreach, organizing travel, assisting with scouting, video coordinator and equipment.
“I am ecstatic to be joining the Hardrocker Family. To be able to get back closer to home as the head coach of a program with such high character scholar-athletes at a phenomenal institution within a great conference is a dream come true,” Jacobson said. “I am humbled and honored for this opportunity to impact lives while coaching basketball at South Dakota School of Mines.
In her four seasons as part of the Vandals’ coaching staff, Idaho has gone 84-15 (.622) and made an NCAA Tournament appearance, a WBI appearance and two WNIT appearances. The Vandals have also captured a Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship (2015) and Big Sky Conference Regular-Season title in 2019.
Jacobson’s work with the guards helped produced two of Idaho’s most prolific shooters, Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce. In their careers, both rose to the top of the national charts as the Top 3 three-point shooters in women’s basketball. Ferenz holds the record for the all-time leading scorer for both the Big Sky Conference and Idaho with 2,466 career points. Pierce holds the NCAA record for threes made per game with 4.53, while draining a career and Idaho best 472 triples.
“I have been blessed to work with some of the best people in college basketball and I would be remised if I didn’t thank them for their guidance, time, and effort that they invested in me along the way,” Jacobson said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.”
Vandals’ head coach Jon Newlee stated, “”I am so happy for Jeri that she is moving on to become the head coach at South Dakota School of Mines. All of her hard work has really paid off for her. I will be forever grateful for all of Jeri’s contributions to the great success of our Vandal program, the conference championships and trips to the NCAA tournament. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be an amazing head coach and a great mentor for the student athletes at SDSMT. Good luck to Jeri, we will miss her.”
Idaho’s men’s basketball head coach Zac Claus agreed, “Jeri will make a great head coach. She has learned from some outstanding mentors at Idaho and played a key role in building a winning culture for us, while focusing on developing the whole student-athlete. She will build a program that your fans and alums will enjoy supporting and will be an asset to the SD Mines Community.”
University of Idaho Interim AD Peter Isakson said, “Jeri will make a great head coach. She has learned from some outstanding mentors at Idaho and played a key role in building a winning culture for us, while focusing on developing the whole student-athlete. She will build a program that your fans and alums will enjoy supporting and will be an asset to the SD Mines Community.”
Prior to her arrival at Idaho, Jacobson spent the 2014-2015 season as the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of North Dakota. Her coaching career started at her alma mater, Upper Iowa University, where she was a graduate assistant from 2012-2014.
While at North Dakota, Jacobson was involved in an array of day-to-day operations of the program. She organized team travel and summer camps as well as maintained the yearly budget. She also oversaw the team’s community service and was the marketing liaison.
Prior to UND, she spent two seasons at Upper Iowa as a graduate assistant. Her duties included: overseeing the strength and conditioning and player development programs with both guards and posts, organizing team travel, film exchange, marketing, community service and served as the team’s academic liaison. While at Upper Iowa, the Peacocks were named the number one team in the nation in the WBCA Top 25 Academic Honor Roll under her supervision.
Jacobson’s playing career started at Central Wyoming College where she played two seasons and was named to the All-Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference team. She led her team to a 20-10 overall record and a semifinal berth in the Region 9 tournament as a sophomore. She then continued her playing career, transferring to Upper Iowa University for her last two years where she was named to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference All-Academic Team.
Jacobson graduated from Upper Iowa in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. She went on to earn a master’s degree in higher education administration with an emphasis in leadership from UIU in 2015.
“The vision Athletic Director Joel Lueken has for the department is exactly what I want to be a part of and I want to thank him as well as the rest of the hiring committee for allowing me this opportunity,” Jacobson added. “I’m looking forward to getting started. Go ‘Rockers!”DII RMAC