As a player on Ashland University's women's basketball team, Kari Pickens needed just two years to ascend to the top of the conversion of best player in program history.
As a coach on the Eagle women's hoops staff, Pickens has needed another short period of time to climb the coaching ladder, as she has been promoted to associate head coach by Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick.
"I am so excited for this opportunity, and so grateful for coach Fralick for trusting me enough for this promotion," said Pickens. "Ashland University's women's basketball program means so much to me. It's truly an honor to be named the associate head coach."
"Kari is very deserving of this promotion," said Fralick. "She is a tireless worker, loyal and very thorough in everything she does. Ashland women's basketball is better because she's a part of it."
Pickens, also the program's recruiting coordinator, is in her fourth full season on the Eagle staff and fifth season overall. In 2016-17, during Ashland's 37-0 and national-championship season, she was named Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) NCAA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year.
In 2015-16, Pickens earned one of the WBCA's inaugural "Thirty Under 30" awards.
The most decorated player in AU women's basketball history, known then as Kari Daugherty, Pickens helped lead the Eagles to the 2013 Division II national championship and a 2012 Division II runner-up finish. As a senior, she earned D-II national Player of the Year (second year in a row) and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. In 30 games in 2012-13, Pickens averaged 22.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from 3-point range and 82.9 percent from the free-throw line.
As a junior, Pickens averaged 21.3 points, 14.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 35 contests, and hit 50.3 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from 3-point range and 84.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Pickens was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year. She also earned the Honda Sports Award as NCAA Division II Athlete of the Year in both 2012 and 2013 (first player to earn that honor twice), as well as the 2012-13 Capital One Division II Academic All-America of the Year and the 2012-13 GLIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
She also has the NCAA Division II record for most consecutive double-doubles (34).