Nikki Caldwell named LSU coach

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has hired Nikki Caldwell as its women's basketball coach, vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva announced Saturday night.

Caldwell, who won a national championship as a player at Tennessee and then two as an assistant with the Lady Vols, was 72-26 in three seasons at UCLA. The Bruins were 28-5 this season and lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"Nikki is one of the best and brightest coaches in the country," Alleva said in a release. "She has been successful on every level -- as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach -- and she has all the qualities to bring our program to national prominence."

Caldwell will replace Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor, who stepped down last month after LSU failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 13 years. Chancellor was 90-40 in four seasons with the Tigers.

Caldwell, who also spent three seasons as an assistant at Virginia, will be formally introduced at a news conference on Monday.

She was selected the Pac-10 coach of the year in 2010 after going 25-9 in her second season with the Bruins and reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament. UCLA's five losses this season were the fewest in school history in the NCAA era.

"I met with Nikki earlier this week and made her what we felt was a very attractive multiyear offer to keep her in Westwood," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "It was our hope that Nikki would want to continue building what she has started at UCLA and we did all we could to make that desire a reality."