PALATINE HILL -- Two new coaches with Northwest Conference ties have joined Lewis & Clark coaching staffs this month.
Former two-time NWC Women's Basketball Player of the Year Kristina Williams has joined new head coach Pamela Findlay's hoops staff, while former Willamette pitcher Jimmy Meuel is the new recruiting coordinator for Pios baseball.
Williams returns to women's basketball
Kristina Williams is back on Palatine Hill, where she dominated the NWC women's basketball landscape from 2009-13. During her time at Lewis & Clark, Williams was named to the All-Northwest Conference First-Team three times, winning Player of the Year in 2010-11 and 2012-13, while also earning a second-team nod in 2009-10. In all three of her first-team seasons, the Pios made the NCAA tournament, twice advancing to the second round. The Pioneers also won the NWC regular season championship in 2012-13.
Since graduating from Lewis & Clark, Williams has been an assistant coach at Oak Ridge High School in California and a graduate assistant for Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she also served as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach.
"I am extremely excited and honored for the opportunity to return to my alma mater," said Williams. "I am forever grateful for the support I received from the athletic department and school as a whole during my time as a student-athlete. To be on the other side now as a coach and impact the current student-athletes in a similar way is a dream come true."
Williams, pictured left above, joins the staff led by Findlay, who spent four years as an assistant coach at Washington and Lee prior to being named head coach at Lewis & Clark last April.
"I am thrilled that Kristina is returning to Lewis & Clark," said Findlay. "She was a stellar student-athlete here, and she knows exactly what it takes to be successful at this level. With her knowledge and passion for the game, she's going to be a tremendous mentor for our players."
Lewis & Clark has won the third-most outright NWC women's basketball championships since 1993 and has had four conference player of the year awards, two by Williams and two by Kathy Gibson in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The pair is Lewis & Clark's all-time top scorers, with Gibson averaging 16.8 points per game over her career, while Williams scored 15.9 per game.
"The women's basketball program is ready to build upon the success it has had in the Northwest Conference with the guidance of coach Findlay, and I am thrilled to be on board," said Williams.
Williams is also top-five all-time at Lewis & Clark for rebounds, assists and steals.
Meuel to coach pitchers and catchers
Lewis & Clark baseball head coach Tom Flynn announced earlier this month the hiring of Jimmy Meuel as the team's new recruiting coordinator and pitchers and catchers coach.
Meuel joins the Pios from San Jose State, where he was the pitching coach last season and helped lower the team's overall earned-run average and total walks. Prior to SJSU, he was Director of Operations and an assistant coach for the University of California-Davis and Director of Baseball Information for the University of San Francisco.
As a member of the NCAA Div. III staff at Menlo College from 2008-10, Meuel served in the same roles as he will at Lewis & Clark. In 2011, his final season there, Menlo changed to NAIA. Over three seasons, 13 student-athletes from Menlo signed professional contracts.
"I want to thank coach Flynn and Athletic Director Shana Levine for the opportunity to join the Lewis & Clark family," said Meuel. "After meeting with them, as well as many people in the Pioneer community, it was clear that the culture and vision for Lewis & Clark Athletics and the baseball program was something I wanted to be a part of."
Meuel has direct knowledge of the Northwest Conference after pitching for Willamette from 2005-08. During his final two seasons, he led the Bearcats in relief appearances and set Willamette's Div. III record for appearances in a season in 2007.
"From the beginning of this search, we were committed to bringing into our program an individual who brought something significant to the table; someone whose presence would immediately bring us closer to accomplishing our goal of establishing a nationally-competitive baseball program at Lewis & Clark," said Flynn, who enters his seventh season as the Pios head coach. "With his wealth of experience and success, it became clear that Jimmy is that individual. Consequently, we are thrilled that he has agreed to join our staff, and we are eager to witness his impact on our program over the coming years."
"I look forward to working every day to help bring quality student-athletes to Lewis & Clark, as well as helping our current players reach their potential," said Meuel.
"He will be a great coach, a great recruiter, and a great mentor to our players," said Flynn. "He is a great addition not only to the baseball program but to the entire Lewis & Clark community."
After starting last season with 11 wins in its first 26 games, Lewis & Clark is off one of its most successful seasons in the last decade and is expecting its top four hitters to return next season.