Nikita Lowry Dawkins
My desire to impact the lives of others come from a life-long passion of wanting to help people reach their goals. I find that working with others gives me the opportunity to pay it forward as I stand on the shoulders of the great men and women that have impacted my life in ways I couldn’t begin to describe. There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than to assist individuals as they work hard to make their dreams a reality!
As the former Associate Head Coach for the Texas Tech Women’s Basketball program I was fortunate to help in the program’s rapid turnaround, helping guide the Lady Raiders to the most wins for the program in nearly a decade during the 2019-20 season. As the post coach I was able to help in the development of All-American and WNBA draft pick Brittany Brewer, who was the only player to average 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game during the 2019-20 campaign. During my two years we racked up four All-Big 12 selections, the program’s first All-American and WNBA draft pick in 14 years, the team’s first road win over Iowa State in 18 years, the first sweep of Oklahoma in 15 years and the most successful Lady Raider season in recent memory.
From 2014-2018 I served as the Associate Women’s Basketball Coach for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Under my watch, Minnesota had two of the best posts in school history. Amanda Zahui B. was named a first-team All-American by WBCA, the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers Association and ESPNW. She was the Big Ten Player of the Year after the 2014-15 season and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First Team. Shae Kelley also earned a spot on the media’s All-Big Ten First Team and the coaches’ All-Big Ten Second Team. Both Zahui 8., the No. 2 overall pick by the Tulsa Shock, and Kelley (third round pick of the Minnesota Lynx) were selected in the 2015 WNBA Draft.
In 2015-16, my tutelage helped the Gophers break a 34-year-old program record as we averaged 83.6 points per game to rank fourth in the nation. Minnesota’s 2,676 points broke the program record set in the first year under Stollings’ staff. Rachel Banham earned Big Ten Player of the Year, All-America First Team and Wooden Award Top Five honors before being selected fourth overall in the WNBA Draft.
Prior to Minnesota, I assisted Coach Stollings for two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where I was able to play a significant role in orchestrating one of the largest turnarounds in the nation in 2013-14 and helped assemble a six-player recruiting class that ranked 38th nationally and third-highest among non-BCS programs.
Prior to joining Stollings’ staff at VCU, I spent seven seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Old Dominion University under legendary Hall of Fame Head Coach Wendy Larry. We helped lead the Lady Monarchs to a 158-67 overall mark, four CAA Tournament titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2008. We participated in six NCAA Tournaments and won five league championships. I coached 15 WNBA players during my career, including Katie Smith, who is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and was named one of the top-15 players in WNBA history.
Honored as one of the most influential African American athletes to play at Ohio State, I was fortunate to win three Big Ten Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances from 1985-89. During my playing career, named to the Kodak All-America First Team and Street & Smith All-America First Team honors, Chicago Tribune Player of the Year recognition, All-Big Ten First Team accolades and was named the Scarlet and Gray Player of the Year. A member of the Big Ten 1980 All-Decade Second Team, the Ohio State All-Century Team and was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
One of my most cherished achievements are my four gold medals representing my country, three as a player and one as a coach, with USA Basketball. In 2002, I was an assistant with the U.S. 20-and-Under squad that won the gold medal at the COPABA Young Women’s World Championships in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. During her collegiate days, a member of two USA Select Teams (1988 & 1990), the World University Team (1989) and the Junior National Team (1987).
A graduate of The Ohio State University in 1989 with a degree in Economics. Following graduation, I spent one year abroad playing professionally for the ltalmeco Bari Club in Bari, Italy. After a career ending knee injury, I accepted a job at Ford Motor Company as an accountant. A year later I was named the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach for the University of Michigan Wolverines and my coaching career began.
I believe that basketball and business are a microcosm of life. The characteristics and teamwork you need to be successful in both are the exact same! Dedication, discipline, communication skills, ability to work with others, determination and the capability to think outside the box are the keys to success at any level. I enjoy teaming up with a group of people, meeting new challenges and achieving elite excellence from start to finish. There is no greater more rewarding experience anyone can have!