Nikki Fargas

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Nikki Fargas
LSU Basketball Coach Nikki Caldwell.jpg
Nikki Fargas when she was coaching at UCLA
Sport(s) Women's basketball
Current position
Team LSU
Conference SEC
Record 113–83 (.577)
Biographical details
Born (1972-05-21) May 21, 1972 (age 45) [1]
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Playing career
1990–1994 Tennessee
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1998–1999 Tennessee (asst.)
1999–2002 Virginia (asst.)
2002–2008 Tennessee (asst.)
2008–2011 UCLA
2011–present LSU
Accomplishments and honors
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (2010)

Nikki Fargas (née Caldwell; born May 21, 1972)[2][3] is an American women's basketball coach, who is currently the head coach for the LSU Lady Tigers at Louisiana State University.

Early life[edit]

Fargas is a native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where she was raised by her mother[4] and attended public schools. She graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1990. She was a member of the school basketball team, coached by Jill Prudden, that won the Tennessee state championship in 1988. As of 2009, she still held the high school's single-season records for total points scored and for successful free throws.[5]

College and career[edit]

She attended the University of Tennessee from 1990 to 1994, playing as a guard under coach Pat Summitt on the university's Lady Vols basketball team, which compiled a 118–13 won-loss record during her playing years. Fargas was known for her strong defensive play and her three-point shooting. Her defensive play in the 1991 NCAA tournament final game, in which the Lady Vols defeated the University of Virginia in overtime, was considered a key factor in her team's victory. She was named to Southeastern Conference (SEC) All-Freshman team that same year, and in both her junior and years she received the university's Gloria Ray Leadership Award. Although she missed portions of two seasons due to injuries, her four-year statistics as a three-point shooter, with 128 three-point field goals made out of 364 attempts, place her in the all-time top 10 at Tennessee.[4][6]


After receiving a bachelor's degree in public relations from the University of Tennessee in 1994, she became a color analyst for Fox Sports Net South broadcasts of Lady Vol basketball games. In 1995 she added the position of color analyst for Fox broadcasts of the SEC Game of the Week, which she continued until 1997, when she became host for sports segments on the Shop at Home Network.[6]



Fargas returned to basketball in 1998 as a member of Pat Summitt's coaching staff, serving as graduate assistant for administration, in which position she served the coaching staff in all aspects of basketball operations during the 1998–1999 season.[6] The following season she joined the University of Virginia as an assistant coach, assuming responsibilities for recruiting, scouting, film exchange, player development, monitoring academic progress and camps.[6] In 2002, she left Virginia to return to the University of Tennessee as an assistant coach for the 2002–03 season and recruiting director beginning in the spring of 2003.[6]


She was appointed head coach for UCLA on April 17, 2008, with a five-year contract valued at nearly $1.5 million,[7] succeeding Kathy Olivier. In her first season as coach, the UCLA team compiled a regular season record of 18 wins and 11 losses.[8] During the 2009–2010 season, her team placed second in the Pac-10 (25–9) and was defeated by second ranked Stanford in the Pac-10 tournament. Her success was unprecedented at UCLA's women's basketball and she sought a large raise in her contract. Despite a reported offer of a generous increase by UCLA, the school could not match the $900,000 annually that LSU offered so she returned to coach in the SEC at LSU.


On April 2, 2011, Louisiana State University announced that Fargas would become the head coach for the LSU Lady Tigers team.[9] Her contracted called for her to be paid $900,000 per season. In four seasons with the Lady Tigers, she has posted a 93–69 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in her first four seasons; however, she has lost more games and posted a lower winning percentage with each passing season which culminated to posting her first losing record in 2016 and missing the NCAA tournament.

Head Coaching Record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
UCLA Bruins (Pac-10 Conference) (2008–2011)
2008–09 UCLA 19–12 9–9 T–4th
2009–10 UCLA 25–9 15–3 2nd NCAA Second Round
2010–11 UCLA 28–5 16–2 2nd NCAA Second Round
UCLA: 72–26 (.735) 40–14 (.741)
LSU Lady Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (2011–Present)
2011–12 LSU 23–11 10–6 4th NCAA 2nd Round
2012–13 LSU 22–12 10–6 6th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2013–14 LSU 21–13 7–9 T-6th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2014–15 LSU 17–14 10–6 T-4th NCAA First Round
2015–16 LSU 10–21 3–13 13th
2016–17 LSU 20–12 8–8 7th NCAA First Round
LSU: 113–83 (.577) 48–46 (.511)
Total: 185–109 (.629)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

NCAA tournament[edit]

Year School Record Winning % Notes Final RPI
2012 LSU 1–1 .500 Eliminated by (Penn State Lady Lions) in NCAA Second Round 17
2013 LSU 2–1 .667 Eliminated by (California Golden Bears) in NCAA Sweet 16 26
2014 LSU 2–1 .667 Eliminated by (Louisville Cardinals) in NCAA Sweet 16 15
2015 LSU 0–1 .000 Eliminated by (South Florida Bulls) in NCAA First Round 60
Totals 5–4 (.556) 4 NCAA First Round (Won 3)
3 NCAA Second Round (Won 2)
2 NCAA Sweet 16

Public service activities[edit]

In the company of Holly Warlick, an assistant coach for University of Tennessee women's basketball, Fargas has conducted a series of three long-distance motorcycle road trips, called "Cruisin' for a Cause", to promote awareness of breast cancer and to raise money for research on this disease. In their first trip, in 2007, they rode their Harley-Davidson motorcycles from Berkeley, California to Knoxville, Tennessee.[10] As of 2008, the two women's non-profit organization, Champions for a Cause, had raised nearly $100,000.[4] The 2010 road trip took them through Washington, DC and New York City to Niagara Falls and back.


In May 2009 she received the Woman of Excellence Award from the LadyLike Foundation for her excellence as a coach and for fund-raising activities for breast cancer awareness.[11] Fargas was named 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year by the conference coaches and by the media in her second year of coaching at UCLA.[12]


An uncle, Mike Caldwell, played for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League.[4] In March 2012, Fargas gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Justice[13][14] with her husband, former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders Justin Fargas.[14]


External links[edit]