APPLETON, Wis. -- Riley Woldt is the new head women's basketball coach at Lawrence, athletic director Christyn Abaray announced today.
Woldt has served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Midwest Conference rival St. Norbert since 2007. Woldt is set to join the Lawrence family on April 18.
He replaces Ashley Wellman, who stepped down at the end of the season. Her husband, Tyler, a college football coach, recently accepted a job at Aurora.
"I am excited to have Riley join us as our head women's basketball coach," Abaray said. "Not only does Riley have experience with every aspect of running a successful women's basketball program, he has familiarity with Lawrence. His knowledge, experience, philosophy and style set him apart so we are looking forward to what is in store for our women's basketball program. The development of our student-athletes and our program are in good hands under Riley's leadership."
Woldt began his college coaching career at Lawrence when he served as an assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Amy Proctor from 2005-07. During that stretch, Lawrence compiled a 32-16 record and qualified for the MWC tournament in both seasons.
"I'm extremely excited to come back to Lawrence and lead a program that I feel is gaining momentum in the Midwest Conference," Woldt said. "I think there is great potential to continue moving the program forward, and it starts with the wonderfully talented players that are already here. I look forward to celebrating Lawrence's rich tradition of academic excellence and dedication to creating a diverse university community as we grow the program. I also admire the direction and positive energy that is clearly evident within the athletic department."
Woldt takes over a team that saw a five-win improvement from the 2016-17 season and finished with an overall mark of 7-18. Lawrence returns four starters, All-Midwest Conference selection Kenya Earl, Leah Reeves, Erin Hill and Shonell Benjamin.
Woldt spent the last 10 seasons at St. Norbert under legendary coach Connie Tilley. During that time, Woldt has been a key component in seven MWC championships and seven Division III NCAA Tournament berths. St. Norbert has compiled a 206-51 record during Woldt's tenure.
"I'm eager to bring my knowledge and experiences competing within the Midwest Conference to our program here at Lawrence," Woldt said. "I'm blessed to have had mentors like former Lawrence head coach Amy Proctor and current St. Norbert head coach Connie Tilley open doors for me and provide me with so many opportunities to grow as a coach and be successful in the MWC. These experiences are invaluable as we look to build Lawrence into an annual conference contender."
Woldt, who received a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Coaching Staff of the Year award during his time at St. Norbert, has assisted in the development of one All-American, two D3hoops.com All-Region selections and 27 all-conference performers. While working at St. Norbert, the Green Knights have finished in the top 20 in all of NCAA Division III for scoring defense, field goal percentage, assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.
"I envision a program that values creating connections with people and building meaningful relationships that last a lifetime," Woldt said. "In doing so, the Lawrence women's basketball program will maintain a culture that focuses on developing confidence in oneself, molding the strengths of many into a true team and instilling great pride in current performance and past success. Everyone involved in and around the program will feel empowered to do the right things, serve others and relentlessly pursue excellence on the basketball court, in the classroom and in life. As a result, our program will continually provide opportunities for individual growth and put our team in a position to win."
Woldt, who served as the head girls' basketball coach at Green Bay Southwest High School from 1995-2005, earned a bachelor's degree in human development from UW-Green Bay in 1997. He also earned bachelor's degrees in special education and physical education and health from UW-Oshkosh. He received his master's degree in educational technology from Marian University in 2011.
"I am tremendously honored to have been selected as the women's basketball head coach at Lawrence and truly grateful for the opportunity to represent such an outstanding university," Woldt said. "I want to thank Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray and the entire search committee for their confidence in me."