HEAD COACH LEANNE WILLIAMSON
Leanne (Felsing) Williamson was named South Dakota’s head volleyball coach on April 9, 2014, becoming the ninth head coach in program history. She previously was the assistant coach from 2009-13 and helped the Coyotes transition into the Division I level.
Williamson garnered the Summit League Coach of the Year honors in her third season at the helm as the Coyotes captured the program's first conference title in history. The 2016 season also saw the debut of the Sanford Coyote Sports Center with more than 2,400 fans in attendance at the home opener on August 30. The Coyotes finished 10-1 inside their new home with the only loss coming at the hands of NCAA Tournament participant Iowa State. USD also set a program record for wins in a season with 25 victories in 2016.
In addition to the Summit League regular season crown, Williamson's 2016 squad picked up three of the four individual Summit League awards. Audrey Reeg earned Summit League Player of the Year, Brittany Jessen repeated as the Summit's Setter of the Year and Elizabeth Loschen was named the league's Freshman of the Year. In four seasons as head coach, Williamson has coached ten all-Summit League honorees. One of those all-Summit League honorees includes Brittany Jessen who she coached to earn the title of USD all-time assists leader. Jessen ended her career with 4,826 assists, fourth most in Summit League history. Williamson holds a 76-46 career record as a head coach.
In her five years as an assistant, she helped lead the Coyotes to their first Summit League postseason berth in 2013, the first since the team joined the Summit. USD posted a 19-13 overall record and 9-5 mark in the Summit League. USD was 8-0 at home during the season. She helped coach Kendall Kritenbrink to Summit League Player of the Year honors. Kritenbrink led the Summit with 521 kills, ninth most in League history. Kritenbrink was selected to the Division I Honorable Mention All-America Team and was also chosen by USA Volleyball to be part of the U.S. Collegiate National Team.
In 2011, the Coyotes made the move from the Great West Conference to the Summit League. In their inaugural year in the Summit, South Dakota was picked to finish ninth in the League, but recorded a solid sixth-place finish with a 7-11 mark. In non-conference, South Dakota defeated Oregon State at the Wyoming tournament for the Coyotes' first win over a school from a BCS conference.
Williamson came to USD after a decorated playing career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2004-07. Williamson put together one of the best all-around seasons in UWM history in 2007, leading the nation in triple-doubles while earning AVCA All-Region and honorable mention All-America honors for a second-straight season. Williamson finished her career with 1,146 kills, 1,329 digs and 2,264 assists while helping the Panthers to four regular season league titles. She was a two-time national player of the week honoree and, earlier in her career, claimed League Newcomer of the Year recognition.
Williamson also excelled in the classroom throughout her career, collecting academic all-league and all-region recognition. Williamson was named the Horizon League Player of the Year, an All-Horizon League honoree, ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection and Horizon League All-Academic Team.
Williamson, a native of Hartland, Wis., graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in education. She completed her master's degree from USD in Dec. 2010. Williamson and her husband, Tyler, live in Vermillion with their twin boys, Jaxson and Logan.