Nampa vs Columbia Basketball

Nichole Williamson shouts instructions from the sideline during a game against Columbia on Dec. 2, 2016. Williamson was named Tuesday as the new Middleton girls head basketball coach.

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Everywhere Nichole Williamson had gone, she was tasked with the challenge of trying to rebuild a program.

But after nearly a decade of being in rebuilding mode, Williamson will finally get the opportunity to show what she can do with an already established program. The former Nampa High girls basketball coach was named Tuesday as the new Middleton High girls basketball coach. She replaces longtime coach Andy Jones who resigned March 5 before taking the same po Run top with photo. Jump to B3 sition at Timberline High.

“I’m really thrilled for the opportunity because this job is obviously a whole another standard and a level of basketball. I’m excited to come in and keep it going,” Williamson said. “The girls are great and I know they are extremely committed. It will be a good new chapter for me and I think for the program as well.”

Williamson most recently served as the Nampa head girls basketball coach for three seasons. She compiled an 8-56 record and went 3-19 in her final year with the Bulldogs this past season.

Nampa went 5-45 in 5A Southern Idaho Conference games with four of those wins coming against the exact same team in Columbia during her tenure. The job was her first as a head coach.

“The kids were great and ran through a wall for me. But unfortunately, a lot of them don’t come from the club basketball scene and didn’t play a lot of basketball prior to coming into high school even,” Williamson said. “Every year we had a handful of kids that had never played basketball before and that’s a little different compared to the rest of the 5A schools where their kids have been playing since they were young.

“So I kind of had to take a different approach and not be so intense because they had to learn. It was tough. But it was still an enjoyable experience for both sides and it helped me grow as a coach because you’re not always going to be gifted a team like I have been now. You have to do what you can and help kids get better where they’re currently at.”

Before taking over her alma mater in 2015, Williamson was an assistant women’s basketball coach at the college ranks for a few different programs. She was at Western Oregon for two seasons from 2008-2010.

The Wolves went 19-29 during that span. Williamson then moved to San Francisco State for the next four years, three of which as an assistant basketball coach. The Gators went 26-55.

However, all those records don’t concern Middleton Athletic Director Andy Ankeny. It was actually one of the reasons why he thought Williamson was the perfect candidate for the job.

“There’s a hunger there. One of the things I always heard about Nichole’s programs were they would always compete hard and played with great effort,” Ankeny said. “The programs were getting better year in and year out even though it might have been difficult to see that at times. Her teams have always played extremely hard and that’s a big deal. It’s not easy to get programs that are not having the best of seasons to do that for you. So I think that says a lot about her and the type of coach she is.”

But the 31-year-old, who played basketball at Nampa and Northwest Nazarene will still have big shoes to fill.

Jones went 317-89, had 13 state tournament appearances, claimed nine district titles and won five state championships during his 16-years at Middleton. He also won another state title at Caldwell before coming to Middleton for a grand total of six championships. It’s the second most of any girls basketball coach in Idaho history, behind only Emery Roy.

Williamson, though, said she is more than ready for the challenge. After all, she’s already faced more than her fair share of coaching hardships in her young career thus far. So what’s one more?

“I’m excited to come in and hit the ground running and not be like ‘wow how am I going to figure this thing out? Going through all of that has made me hungry and want to win at a place like this even more,” Williamson said. “I’m going to come in with intensity to win a state title. I know what the expectations are here and I’m ready to exceed them.”

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