This is a guest post by Karaya G.

My highlight profiles on Coach Nikki Caldwell, who is now entering her 3rd season at the helm of the UCLA Lady Bruins Womens Basketball Team.

I chose to highlight Coach Caldwell, because not only does she have an impressive basketball history, but she is making her mark with this season’s UCLA Womens team and in the PAC 10 Conference also. Having played for, and also coached under someone who is undeniably the best coach in the women’s game in Pat Summitt (UT Womens Basketball Head Coach), there is no argument that Coach Caldwell knows exactly what she is doing.

If you are not familiar with who Nikki Caldwell, she is a coach you should be on the lookout for. Coach Caldwell has 3 National Championships with UT as both a player and an assistant coach. The first came as player during the 1990-1991 season. After her playing days were over, Coach Caldwell was also an assistant coach at Virginia for a brief stint, she then returned to UT where her second and third championships came as an assistant coach during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons respectively.

In 2008, Coach Caldwell set out to begin her own coaching legacy at UCLA, in which she posted a record of 19-12. During her second year Coach Caldwell posted a record of 25-9, she also took the Lady Bruins to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. On top of having a great season, Coach Caldwell topped it off with winning PAC 10 Coach of the Year.

In only her 3rd season, Coach Caldwell right now has a team who is currently ranked #10 in the nation (1st time since 2001), and have posted a record of 15-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play. With a packed PAC 10 conference, and still half a season of basketball left, I see the Lady Bruins making even greater strides than what they have made so far. With an emphasis on defense, and hard work at both ends of the court, the Lady Bruins are poised to be top competition for not their conference counterparts, but the rest of the NCAA come tournament time.

Off the court, Coach Caldwell is heavily involved in promoting breast cancer awareness with her charity Champions for a Cause. This non-profit organization was started in 2007 alongside UT assistant coach Holly Warlick. Since that time, they have helped raise over $100,000 through Cruisin’ for a Cause, a long-haul motorcycle adventure to raise dollars and awareness for a cure for breast cancer. Caldwell and Warlick chronicled their cross-country rides on their website. In 2010, Caldwell joined the Board of Directors for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and is currently serving on the Executive Committee as Treasurer.

[note_box]Karaya G. is a native of California and has played four years of collegiate basketball, two at the junior college level (Taft Community College), and two at the division two level (CSU Stanislaus). She Graduated with a Bachelors in Physical Education and also was an assistant coach for 3 years at CSU Stanislaus. You can find her on Twitter @Jus_Kay[/note_box]

[info_box]Picture credit: JMRosenfeldCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]