WBCA announces 2021 Assistant Coaches of the Year

ATLANTA (March 18, 2021) — The Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced today the 2021 Assistant Coaches of the Year in all six WBCA membership divisions.

The WBCA Assistant Coach of the Year award is presented to one associate head coach or assistant coach in each membership division who demonstrates commitment to their program, their student-athletes and their head coach; their impact coaching on court; their mentorship and impact on other coaches; and their professional manner and attitude.

The 2021 WBCA Assistant Coaches of the Year are:




NCAA Division I

Stephanie Norman

University of Louisville

NCAA Division II

Michael Nicholson

University of Central Missouri

NCAA Division III

Elsebeth Birman

Shenandoah University


Sara Chrenko

Siena Heights University

Two-Year College

Jalisa Mitchell

Moberly Area Community College

High School

Stephanie Kyser

Kent Denver School

“The role of an assistant coach is vital in reinforcing a positive student-athlete environment with encouragement, excellence, structure, security, support and integrity. The WBCA is proud to honor these individuals as our assistant coaches of the year in their respective divisions of membership," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Each coach was selected by vote of their peers, and the WBCA celebrates and applauds their lasting commitment to use our game as a platform to positively impact their student-athletes, institutions and communities.”

Norman, in her 14th year at Louisville and her ninth as associate head coach, has served on the Cardinals' staff since the hiring of head coach Jeff Walz. She has helped the Cardinals to a 382-107 overall record since the 2007 season. In that time she has aided Louisville to nine Sweet 16 appearances, five Elite Eight appearances, and three Final Four appearances, including a pair of national championship contests. Norman has been instrumental in the Cardinals’ recruiting efforts, helping sign the No. 1 class of 2015 that featured three McDonald’s All-Americans; helped pen the No. 6 freshman class in 2016, the No. 4 class in 2017, and the No. 5 class in 2020.

Nicholson is in his seventh season as assistant coach at Central Missouri. He is the Jennies’ top bench coach during games and works with the guards in practice. He's helped in the development of three-time All-American Paige Redmond as well as All-Americans Morgan Fleming and Megan Skaggs. The Jennies have had five All-Americans during Nicholson's tenure and 20 named to the All-MIAA team. He is also the lead recruiter and in charge of scouting. Off the court, Nicholson is heavily involved in the academic side and is in charge of study hall. In Nicholson's six years, 60 Jennies have earned MIAA Academic Honor Roll honors.

Birman is in her fifth year on the Shenandoah staff; her second year as the squad's lead assistant. She came to Shenandoah in the fall of 2016 after serving as an assistant coach at Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland. In July 2019, she was promoted by head coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft to the full-time assistant position after three years in a part-time role.

Chrenko is in her 16th season as assistant coach on the bench for Siena Heights. Over her tenure she has been responsible for both guard and post player development. This season she is responsible for post player development, opponents’ offensive schemes, and assists with the coordination of recruiting. Chrenko's ability to develop players has lead to Siena Heights having a two-time conference player of the year recipient (2020 & 2021). Chrenko has been an integral part of the success of the program, which currently ranks first in winning percentage at Siena Heights, and last season tied the program record for wins in a season, with 27. Off court, she assists student-athletes with educational and post-college opportunities, such as arranging for tutors, reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews, and connecting student-athletes with job shadowing and prospective employment opportunities. 

Mitchell is in her third year as assistant coach at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Missouri. She serves as “post coach” and is responsible for the development of forwards as well as their outgoing recruitment by four-year institutions. In addition to providing on-court instruction, Mitchell lives in and supervises the residence hall, coordinates all team travel, directs academic monitoring for half the players, supervises daily study halls, coordinates recruiting, and runs the program’s social media accounts.

Kyser is in her 11th year as assistant coach at Kent Denver in Englewood, Colorado. She is the Sun Devils’ post-player coach and is also in charge of implementing the team’s read and react motion offense. Kyser also oversees the middle school program, providing guidance to three middle school grade coaches each day before the high school team practices. Kyser is also the school’s assistant athletics director and assistant girls’ volleyball coach.

The Assistant Coach of the Year award originated in 2016 and is presented annually.

Visit www.wbca.org/recognize/ to see a list of past recipients of the award.

About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to the organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit WBCA.org for more details about the association.

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