Brooke Atkinson Named NMSU Women's Basketball Head Coach

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia has announced Brooke Atkinson as the 11th head coach in Aggie women’s basketball history Wednesday morning to the community and media.

Atkinson joins NM State after spending the past three seasons at Colorado State University. However, Atkinson is no stranger Las Cruces as the Colorado native spent eight seasons on the Aggie bench from 2003-11.

In her three seasons in Fort Collins, Colo., the Rams enjoyed three-consecutive Mountain West Conference regular-season titles, including an NCAA appearance during the 2015-16 campaign – their first appearance in the Big Dance in 14 years (2002).

Her first season with CSU (2014-15) resulted in in a 23-8 overall mark and 15-3 record in Mountain West play. The Rams also appeared in the WNIT for the second-straight season, the first time Colorado State has made back-to-back postseason appearances since the 2002-04 seasons.

With Atkinson’s help, Colorado State has now produced the last three MWC Players of the Year with Ellen Nystrom laying claim to her second-straight player of the year accolade this past season.

Prior to joining the Rams, Atkinson spent three seasons at the University of South Dakota (2011-14) where she initially worked under current CSU Rams head coach Ryun Williams in her first season. The Coyotes enjoyed postseason berths in all three years Atkinsons was in Vermillion, S.D., including South Dakota’s first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in 2014.

The Coyotes claimed their first Summit League Tournament Championship in 2014 as well, beating out in-state rival South Dakota State 82-71 in route to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Atkinson also led the ‘Yotes to the conference tournament championship game in 2012-13. USD also advanced to the WBI Tournament semifinals that year and fell to the eventual champions, McNeese State.

Atkinson’s first season with South Dakota resulted in the Coyote’s first 20-plus win season as a Division I member institution. USD finished the 2011-12 campaign 23-8 overall and 12-6 in the Summit League – good for third – while earning its first WNIT bid. The ‘Yotes reached the second round of the WNIT with a 61-53 victory over Drake before falling to Colorado 64-55.

Before joining South Dakota, Atkinson coached at New Mexico State for eight seasons (2003-11). While in Las Cruces, she helped the 2009-10 Aggies reach the postseason for the first time in 16 years.

As a player, Atkinson started her career at Western Nebraska Community College (1998-00) before finishing her collegiate career at Wichita State (2000-02). Her 127 assists during the 1999-00 campaign still ranks seventh all-time while her 77 steals that season ranks 18th in Cougars history. In addition, Atkinson’s 203 career-assists at WNCC sit at No. 10 all-time. Meanwhile, her .328 career shooting clip from 3-point range at Wichita State places her 13th in Shockers history.

Atkinson graduated from Wichita State in 2003 with a bachelor’s in elementary education and earned a master’s degree in educational curriculum from New Mexico State in 2008.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT COACH ATKINSON…

Danielle Donahew
Executive Director – Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association

“The WBCA celebrates when a successful assistant women’s basketball coach is rewarded with their first head coaching position. Brooke Atkinson has proven herself as an assistant coach over the last 15 years as a contributing member of conference championship-winning staffs at New Mexico State, South Dakota and most recently Colorado State. Now she has been given the opportunity to lead a program of her own. Congratulations, Brooke, on your return to New Mexico State as head coach of the Aggies!”

Ryun Williams
Head Coach – Colorado State University

“New Mexico State hired a good one! Brooke will be an exceptional head coach and is no doubt ready for this amazing opportunity. She is a tireless worker who understands championship culture and character. Fans will be excited to support this amazing young woman and will enjoy watching her teams compete.”

Amy Williams
Head Coach – University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“New Mexico State University made a terrific hire for their women’s basketball program with Brooke Atkinson. She has had a positive impact on every program for which she has worked. Her ability to make positive connections with young women makes her an extremely effective leader and recruiter. The future looks very bright for the Aggies women’s basketball program.”

Tamara Inoue
Head Coach – UC Irvine

“Brooke is a tireless worker and values the commitment to winning championships. She has a huge respect for New Mexico State and will do everything to represent the University in a positive light. I’m excited for the future of the Aggies under the leadership of Brooke Atkinson.”