UVU wraps up the regular season at Bakersfield next Saturday at 2 p.m. MT.
Cathy Nixon recently completed her 19th year as the head coach of Utah Valley women's basketball in 2013-14. During her tenure, Nixon's teams have consistently displayed hard work and character, on and off the court. Nixon spent the past 11 seasons of her coaching career ushering Utah Valley into NCAA Division I Athletics, and now she shifts those attentions to UVU's first season of WAC play.
Last season, Nixon led Utah Valley into its first season as members of the WAC. The Wolverines finished 7-23 overall and were eighth in the WAC behind a 4-12 conference mark. UVU, as the No. 7 seed, was edged in overtime by second-seeded Bakersfield, 65-63, in the first round of the WAC Tournament. Two players were named to the WAC All-Tournament team in redshirt sophomore Katie Kuklok and true freshman Rhaiah Spooner-Knight. In addition, five student-athletes were named to the WAC All-Academic team.
In 2012-13, the Nixon-led Wolverines finished 15-15 for the second consecutive season and grabbed their first-ever Great West Conference regular season championship. UVU went 7-1 in league play to claim the crown, ultimately falling to NJIT in the GWC Tournament championship game. In four years as a member of the GWC, UVU played in three tournament championships, winning one.
Nixon was named the GWC Coach of the Year in 2012-13, while Sammie Jensen earned Player of the Year honors and Kaycee Mansfield took home Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
On Dec. 15, 2012, Nixon collected her 300th career victory as UVU ran past Northern Arizona 62-44 in Flagstaff. She enters the 2013-14 season as one of three WAC coaches to have eclipsed the 300-win plateau.
Following the season, the WBCA recognized the Wolverines as having the top GPA in the country. It was the second time in Nixon's Division I tenure that her squad has earned the No. 1 recognition. UVU has appeared in the WBCA Academic Top 25 in each of the last seven seasons. Sammie Jensen, a two-time GWC Player of the Year, was also awarded the GWC's Scholar-Athlete of the Year -- the top individual honor bestowed by the conference that recognizes unprecedented athletic and academic success.
Nixon had another successful year in 2011-12 as she led the Wolverines to a 15-15 overall record, a second place finish in the GWC (6-4 record) and to the GWC Tournament championship game. She also coached the conference's Player of the Year a year ago, as Sammie Jensen was named the GWC Player of the Year with a double-double average of 13.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg.
In UVU's first season of play in the GWC (2009-10), Nixon's squad peaked right at the end of the season as they went on to win the inaugural GWC Tournament Championship. Nixon not only coached her team to a championship season on the court in 2009-10 but also in the classroom as her team was honored by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for having the best NCAA Division I team GPA in the nation, with a 3.630.
In 2008-09, Nixon led the team to its best record, 17-10, at the NCAA level and to the Division I Independent Championship after three straight tournament wins to end the year. The 2008-09 season was also the third consecutive that Robyn Fairbanks earn All-America status. As a senior, Fairbanks became just the 20th player in NCAA history to surpass 2,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.
In four seasons the Division I level, Nixon has produced 12 all-conference performers, one 3-time All-American, one two-time GWC Player of the Year, a Defensive Player of the Year, a Newcomer of the Year, and has earned one Coach of the Year award.
In 2007-08, Nixon coached Utah Valley to what was then its most successful record in five years at the NCAA level, finishing with a 16-12 mark and garnering her first Division I Independent Coach of the Year Award.
That season also saw the first time a Utah Valley program received a vote in any top 25 poll, in any sport, as the team received one 25th place vote in the Associated Press Poll for two consecutive weeks in December. A small feat for many but for Nixon an accomplishment that validates the successful progression from junior college to NCAA Division I.
In the spring of 2009, six of Utah Valley's players were also named Great West Academic All-Conference team. Under Nixon, Fairbanks was also selected to the ESPN Academic All-District Second Team during her sophomore season and as a senior was named to the NACDA I-AAA Scholar Athlete Team.
In 2005-06, she led the team to a 11 wins, including 10 against Division-I schools. All of it came with four freshmen in the starting lineup for the majority of the season.
During the inaugural NCAA season in 2003-04, the Wolverines finished with a respectable 11-13 record seeing its first action against Division-I competition.
During Utah Valley's days at the junior college level, Nixon coached three Academic All-Americans, four Kodak All-Americans and two NJCAA All-Americans, including Utah Valley Hall of Fame guard Tricia Ferrin (1995-96).
In her inaugural year (1995-96), Nixon guided Utah Valley to its best finish ever during the school's junior college era. After claiming the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC), Region 18, and District crowns, Nixon's squad went on to take fourth in the country at the NJCAA National Championships. The Wolverines finished 29-6 that year, earning Nixon Region 18 Coach of the Year honors.
Nixon also led Utah Valley to the SWAC title in her second year (1996-97) with a 15-3 league record and 25-7 overall mark.
She led the Wolverines back to the NJCAA National Championships in the 2000-01 season. The team finished the year 27-10 and in seventh place at the national tournament.
Her entire junior college coaching career saw her amass an impressive 190-73 record in eight total seasons.
Prior to taking over as head coach, Nixon served four years as an assistant to long-time coach Tom Perkins. During that time, the Wolverines had four Academic All-Americans, three Kodak All-Americans and two NJCAA All-Americans.
Before coming to Utah Valley, Nixon served as an assistant coach at Brigham Young University for three years; one year under Courtney Leishman and two years with Jeanie Wilson.
In May of 2000, Nixon served as an assistant coach at the R. William Jones Cup Team Trials at the US Olympic Trainning Facility in Colorado Springs.
There Nixon served under gold medal winning USA Women's Basketball Coach Nell Fortner, who is the current coach at Auburn, and coached gold medalist and WNBA All-Star Sue Bird.
As a player Nixon earned All-State honors four times at Duncanville High School in Duncanville, Texas, and led her team to the state finals twice. She was named a high school All-American during both her junior and senior seasons.
She played at Duncanville for legendary coach Sandra Meadows, who led the school to four state titles during her tenure. Meadows is enshrined in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the Duncanville Pantherettes now play in Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena, named after the late coach.
After graduation from Duncanville in 1984, Nixon, who was one of the most sought after prep recruits in the nation, went on to play college basketball for Brigham Young University, where she became a four-year starter for a Cougar club that finished no worse than second in the conference during her time there.
Nixon is the fifth highest scorer in BYU women's basketball history with 1,771 career points. She is also sixth all-time in blocks at BYU with 79. On October 19, 2007, Nixon was enshrined into the Brigham Young University Athletics Hall of Fame.
In addition to receiving numerous conference, region, and tournament awards, she garnered All-Conference recognition all four years, and All-America status her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Nixon final averages as a Cougar are 16.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. She shot 50 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line.
Her career best in scoring came against Florida in 1987 when she netted 36 points. Her career high in rebounds came against Nebraska on December 4, 1985, when she pulled down 16 boards.
Nixon graduated from Brigham Young University in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She later completed her master's degree in education, also from BYU.
She comes from a basketball family with four older brothers, who all played basketball throughout high school. Her brother Tom also played for BYU on the junior varsity squad. She also has 27 nieces & nephews and five great nieces & nephews.