University of Pittsburgh women’s basketball head coach Lance White announced the additions of Danielle Atkinson, Terri Mitchell and Josh Petersen to his coaching staff Wednesday.
“I am extremely excited about beginning this new chapter in Pitt women’s basketball with Danielle, Terri and Josh,” White said. “This is an incredible group of people – my absolute dream team. They bring knowledge, experience and energy to the game of basketball and I could not imagine a better group to have by my side. Together, we will do everything we can to make this program something to be proud of.”
Atkinson and Mitchell will serve as associate head coaches, and Petersen will be an assistant coach. Atkinson coached with White on the sidelines as an assistant at Florida State for the past four seasons. Mitchell, the all-time winningest women’s basketball head coach at Marquette, will return to coaching after a four-year break. Petersen was a graduate assistant at Florida State prior to spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach at UNC Asheville.
Known as an experienced coach with a great deal of knowledge in a variety of coaching realms, Atkinson has risen through the ranks since starting her career as an assistant coach at Hofstra (2006-10). She enjoyed successful stops with the Pride, Illinois State (2010-12) and Kentucky (2012-14) before joining White and head coach Sue Semrau at Florida State in 2014. Atkinson wrapped up her first year at FSU by playing a key role in the team’s record-breaking 2014-15 season. The Seminoles earned a school-record 32 wins, including 27 by double-figure points. Florida State reached the NCAA Tournament in each year of her term, including the Elite Eight twice.
A Marietta, Ga., native, Atkinson earned several academic honors as a four-year letterwinner for the University of Florida (2002-06). She was a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, an Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholar Athlete Second Team member and a District 3 CoSIDA Academic All-America Team member.
“Danielle’s résumé is so impressive,” White said. “I was fortunate enough to spend the past four years with her at Florida State. I have seen firsthand that she is a great teacher of the game and is an excellent recruiter. She will be a fantastic role model to our student-athletes.”
One of the most accomplished names in NCAA women’s basketball, Mitchell returns to the city of Pittsburgh with more than 20 years of coaching experience in tow. A 1989 graduate of Duquesne University, Mitchell’s remarkable career includes becoming the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach at Marquette. She spent 18 years at the helm of the Golden Eagles’ program (1996-2014) and acquired 348 wins while leading the team to the postseason 15 times. Mitchell earned conference coach of the year honors three times – Conference USA (1998, 2000) and Big East (2007). She led the Golden Eagles to 20 or more wins 10 times to go with seven NCAA Tournament appearances and eight trips to the WNIT, including the 2008 WNIT title. In addition to her time at Marquette, Mitchell’s extensive experience includes serving as an assistant coach for USA Basketball’s U18 Team that won the gold medal while going unbeaten at the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship. Most recently, Mitchell served as special assistant to Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne during the 2017-18 campaign.
A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Mitchell was a four-year letterwinner and team co-captain at Duquesne. Following an outstanding career with the Dukes, Mitchell graduated cum laude with a psychology degree in 1989.
“I pulled Terri back into the game and I can’t believe she had the faith in my message to do it,” White said. “She brings 18 years of head coaching experience from Marquette. She understands how to win and loves teaching the game. She might just be the best person I have ever met.”
Petersen arrives in Pittsburgh after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach under Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick at UNC Asheville. During his time with the Bulldogs, the team captured back-to-back Big South Conference Tournament crowns (2016, 2017), two NCAA Tournament berths (2016, 2017), three consecutive postseason berths (2016, 2017, 2018) and one Big South Conference regular season title (2016). With Petersen on the sidelines, nine Bulldogs earned All-Big South Conference honors, including 2015-16 league Player of the Year Chatori Major. Additionally, six players earned Big South Championship All-Tournament honors with Major and Sonora Dengokl being named Most Valuable Player in 2016 and 2017. Prior to his stint at UNC Asheville, Petersen was at Florida State with White for six seasons, including two years as a graduate assistant (2012-14). He was FSU’s head manager for four years prior to his graduate work (2008-12). In his six years at Florida State, the Seminoles went to five NCAA Tournaments, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2010.
A native of Abernathy, Texas, Petersen moved to Tallahassee, Fla., prior to his senior year of high school and graduated from Godby High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance in 2012 and his master’s degree in sports management at FSU in the spring of 2014.
“Josh is the most energetic guy I have ever been around,” White said. “He spent the last four years at UNC Asheville, but my history with Josh goes back to his sixth grade year. He is one of the hardest working people I know and I am thrilled that he will get to bring his positive energy to this group.”
Photos Courtesy Pitt Athletics