Danielle Atkinson was named associate head coach for the Pitt women’s basketball program, as announced Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
“Danielle’s résumé is so impressive,” Pitt head coach Lance White said. “I was fortunate enough to spend the past four years with her at Florida State. I have seen firsthand that she is a great teacher of the game and is an excellent recruiter. She will be a fantastic role model to our student-athletes.”
Known as an experienced coach with a great deal of knowledge in a variety of coaching realms, Atkinson has risen through the ranks since starting her career as an assistant coach at Hofstra (2006-10). She enjoyed successful stops with the Pride, Illinois State (2010-12) and Kentucky (2012-14) before joining White and head coach Sue Semrau at Florida State in 2014.
Florida State reached the NCAA Tournament in each year of her term, including two Elite Eights (2015, 2017) and one Sweet 16 appearance (2016). She helped lead the Seminoles to a 111-26 (.810) overall record and a 52-12 (.813) ACC record over four years.
As FSU’s recruiting coordinator, Atkinson played a key role in signing three recruiting classes that ranked in the top-4 nationally (2016, 2018, 2019). Over her four career Division I positions, Atkinson has recruited and coached 25 all-conference, eight all-freshman/rookie, and seven all-defensive team selections, including the 2017 ACC Player of the Year (Coaches’ Selection) Shakayla Thomas. Her individual work with former Seminole guard Leticia Romero helped the Spaniard become the first three-time All-American in school history (2015, 2016, 2017).
While at Kentucky in her two seasons, Atkinson helped the Wildcats reach the NCAA Elite Eight in 2012-13 and the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2013-14. Responsible for coaching guard play, Atkinson was heavily involved in the progression of backcourt mates Jennifer O’Neill (All-SEC guard) and Linnae Harper (All-SEC freshman guard) in the 2013-14 year. In Atkinson’s first season in Lexington, former Kentucky guard A’dia Mathies was named the 2013 SEC Co-Player of the Year as well as a Wooden Award finalist under her watch.
In 2014, Atkinson helped the Wildcats land the 17th-ranked 2014 recruiting class, according to ESPNW.
At Illinois State, Atkinson helped guide the Redbirds to two postseason trips, which included a 2011-12 team that was chosen sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll and finished second with a 13-5 league record.
Atkinson started her coaching career at Hofstra and spent four seasons in Hempstead, N.Y., including her final two years as the recruiting coordinator in addition to her assistant coach duties.
At Hofstra, she was responsible for implementing the team’s offensive strategies, which helped the Pride record two 20-win seasons in her tenure, including a school-record 26 games in her first season. Atkinson’s influential coaching style helped nine of her former players at Hofstra earn All-Colonial Athletic Association honors, while four went on to play professionally overseas.
A Marietta, Ga., native, Atkinson earned several academic honors as a four-year letterwinner for the University of Florida (2002-06). She was a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, an Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholar Athlete Second Team member and a District 3 CoSIDA Academic All-America Team member. She finished her career seventh all-time at UF with 80 3-pointers, ranked 11th with 162 steals, 11th with 265 assists and fifth with a 78.2 free throw percentage.
While in Gainesville, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences with a concentration in Sport Management. Atkinson also minored in education and business administration.
On May 24, 2015, the former Danielle Santos married Cleveland Atkinson. The Atkinsons have a daughter, London.