May 3, 2012
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University has named Kellie Lewis-Jayas its women's basketball head coach, announced Melissa Dawson, FAU's interim director of athletics. Lewis-Jay, who has signed a five-year contract, is the fourth head coach in the young program's 28-year existence.
"We are excited to welcome Kellie Lewis-Jayinto the FAU family," Dawson said. "Coach Jay has achieved success at every level as a player, club and high school head coach, and most importantly, as an assistant at the collegiate level. It was important for us to find a coach that would be passionate about developing our student-athletes as individuals, students and athletes. We have found that in Kellie."
Lewis-Jay has vast playing, coaching and NCAA Tournament experience across three major conferences and comes to FAU as an accomplished student, athlete, coach and mentor. She spent the last five seasons at Nebraska, where she coordinated the Cornhuskers' recruiting efforts resulting in a top-25 recruiting class in 2011. Lewis-Jay also assisted with on-court coaching responsibilities, including opponent scouting, and was responsible for developing Nebraska's guard play.
"Today marks a new beginning for the FAU women's basketball team, and I am happy that Kellie Lewis-Jay will be at the helm as the leader," said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. "I look forward to what lies ahead for FAU women's basketball, as well as the excitement she will bring for the team and its fans."
In her five seasons in Lincoln, Lewis-Jay helped the Huskers to four postseason tournament appearances, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament and the program's first Sweet Sixteen. In 2009-10, the Huskers recorded the best season in school history with a 32-2 record, a perfect 16-0 conference mark, and the school's first Big 12 regular-season crown.
"I would like to thank FAU President Mary Jane Saunders and Melissa Dawson for the opportunity presented to me," said Lewis-Jay, FAU's newly hired head women's basketball coach. "I look forward to building a foundation of success starting with the young women currently representing our program. I also would like to thank the University of Nebraska and Connie Yori for an amazing five years and June Daugherty, at the University of Washington, for giving me a great opportunity. Florida Atlantic University has a bright future, I am honored to represent this program and lead it to a championship level."
Prior to joining Connie Yori's staff at Nebraska in 2007, Lewis-Jay spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington where she helped guide the Huskies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and 2007. Lewis-Jay's duties at Washington included opponent scouting, coordinating the Husky defense, recruiting, on-floor coaching and serving as the team's academic coordinator. She was also instrumental in signing one of the nation's top recruiting classes for the 2007-08 season, as Washington's six-player class was ranked eighth nationally by Blue Star Basketball.
A native of Auburn, California, Lewis-Jay was a standout player at Placer High School and went on to have a successful collegiate career at Boise State University. She was a four-year letter winner and two-time team captain for the Broncos and earned All-Big West Conference honors and team MVP honors in 1997 and 1998. During her senior campaign, Lewis-Jay earned Big West Conference
All-Tournament honors. Her name still appears among many single-season and career top-10 lists in Boise State women's basketball history. Along with achieving excellence on the court, Lewis-Jay performed well in the classroom. She was a 1997 and 1998 recipient of the National Arthur Ashe Scholar Athlete Award and a four-time academic all-conference pick.
Lewis-Jay earned her bachelor's degree in social science/public affairs with an emphasis in sociology and psychology from Boise State in 1998 and began her coaching career at the high school and club levels before breaking into the collegiate ranks in 2003.
"The FAU women's basketball team is about to embark on an exciting new chapter of its 28-year history," said Robert J. Stilley, chair of FAU's Board of Trustees. "FAU's Board of Trustees welcomes Kellie Lewis-Jay to the FAU family."
Lewis-Jay and her husband Chris Jay have a daughter, Kobie, who is 8.
FAU athletics will host a press conference and meet and greet with the new coach on Monday, May 7 at 4 p.m. in the Tom Oxley Center Founders' Lounge, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. All media members and fans are welcome.
Lewis-Jay's Coaching Resumé
Assistant Coach, Nebraska (2007-2012)
Assistant Coach, Washington (2003-07)
Head Coach/Co-Founder, Idaho Elite (1999-2003)
Head Coach, Bishop Kelly High School (1998-2003)
What They're Saying About Lewis-Jay
Quote from Connie Yori - University of Nebraska
"Everybody here at Nebraska is excited that Kellie is becoming a head coach. Kellie has done a tremendous job in building our program. She is a tireless worker and she is dedicated to excellence in everything in the coaching profession."
On Basketball:"She is a tremendous teacher of the game. She has a brilliant basketball mind. Her character is unmatched. Florida Atlantic is getting an outstanding coach and person of character."
Quote from June Daugherty- Head Coach Washington State University
"Kellie is an outstanding individual and a wonderful person. She is a mother and that is a big part of her life. Kellie knows the game inside and out. She played point guard for me at Boise State. Kellie then went on to be on my staff at the University of Washington. She has been associated with good programs and consistent winners."
"Kellie has really solidified her recruiting not just regionally, but nationally. She even has done a good job recruiting internationally, as well. Kellie is a diamond in the rough in the coaching profession."
Quote from Karl Smesko - Head Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University
"I feel Kellie is one of the best recruiters in the country. She has a very strong basketball background and IQ. She is very eager to be a Division I basketball head coach and I expect her to have great success at Florida Atlantic."