UCLA hires Tennessee assistant Caldwell as new coach

LOS ANGELES -- Nikki Caldwell, who assisted Pat Summit at Tennessee the past six seasons, was hired Thursday to coach the UCLA women's basketball team.

The 35-year-old Caldwell becomes just the fifth women's coach in UCLA history. She succeeds Kathy Olivier, who resigned last month after 15 years on the job. The Bruins were 16-15 last season and 232-208 overall under Olivier, who will continue to work for the athletic department on undetermined special projects.

"We are thrilled to welcome Nikki to the Bruin family," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "She is bright, articulate and an outstanding coach and recruiter who is a rising star in her profession. Nikki has been a winner as a student-athlete and an assistant coach and is the perfect person to make our program nationally competitive on a regular basis."

Tennessee, which won the NCAA championship the past two years, had a 195-24 record during Caldwell's tenure as an assistant coach. She joined the Volunteers' staff before the 2002-03 season and became recruiting director in the spring of 2003. Before that, she was an assistant coach at Virginia for three seasons.

Caldwell played at Tennessee from 1991-94, helping the Volunteers to a 118-13 record. She still ranks among the top 10 at the school in 3-point field goals and 3-point attempts.