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Leonhard-Perry named St. Norbert College women’s basketball coach

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

DE PERE – For the first time in 42 seasons, the St. Norbert College women’s basketball program will have a new head coach.

Former UW-Green Bay assistant coach Amanda Leonard-Perry was formally named the head coach of the Green Knights at an April 18 press conference.

“I would like to thank God for being blessed with this opportunity,” said Leonhard-Perry. “I am honored, humbled and excited. Those are words you hear often in an introductory press conference, but I will also say I am ready to spread my wings and become the next head coach of this program. I feel my values and vision line up well with St. Norbert and its mission.”

Leonhard-Perry at her introductory press conference April 18. Rich Palzewic Photo

Leonhard-Perry will be taking over for long-time St. Norbert head coach Connie Tilley, who stepped down after 42 years of being on the sidelines.

“I’ve been asked, ‘How do you follow Coach Tilley?’ Honestly, I can’t fill those shoes. I know how much St. Norbert means to her, and I can only hope that in my shoes, through her blessing, I can continue on that same path that she paved – one as a teacher, a leader and a role model to the young women in our program.”

Leonhard-Perry spent the last 11 seasons as an assistant coach at the highly-successful NCAA Division I program at UWGB.

She helped the Phoenix to 10 regular-season Horizon League titles, eight conference tournament championships, nine NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the WNIT.

During those 11 seasons, Green Bay fashioned a 333-62 record, a winning percentage of .843.

“Any search for a head coach is only as good as the talent in that search,” said St. Norbert College athletic director Tim Bald. “Amanda came from a rich pool of candidates. A lot of names in that list would be well known – it was a very good list to choose from. We are happy that she will be joining us at St. Norbert College.”

Bald joked that he only had one request of Leonhard-Perry when she was hired.

“I asked Amanda for a 42-year commitment,” he laughed.

Leonhard-Perry responded, “I don’t know if I’ll last 42 years like Connie did, but I promise to do my best to honor her legacy.”

Ironically, it was Leonard-Perry’s 5-year-old daughter Addison who helped her realize she made the right choice.

“Tim called me (April 16) and offered me the job,” Leonhard-Parry said. “I wanted to talk to my family one more time and to (UWGB) Coach Borseth. I called Tim back and said I’d love to take the job. I went to pick up my daughter at school and told her I wouldn’t be coaching for the Phoenix anymore, but I’d be coaching for the Green Knights. She pondered for a little bit and pulled a book out of her backpack she had checked out from the library. She was holding a LEGO Green Knights book.”

Prior to joining the UWGB staff, Leonhard-Perry served as an assistant coach at North Dakota State University for three seasons.

After completing her playing career, she was an assistant coach at Green Bay Preble High School for three seasons, helping the Hornets to the semifinals of the 2003 WIAA Division 1 State Tournament.

A decorated, four-year player at UWGB, Leonhard-Perry was a part of teams that finished 86-35 and played in three NCAA Tournaments and won four regular-season conference championships.

She led the Phoenix in scoring and was a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore, finishing her career with 1,097 points, 332 assists, 189 steals and 114 three-point field goals.

Leonhard-Perry was also a two-time academic all-conference selection.

She is a 2003 graduate of UWGB with a degree in business administration and completed a master’s degree in sport and recreation at North Dakota State in 2010.

A native of Ladysmith, Wisconsin, she is married to Ray Perry.

The couple and their daughter reside in Green Bay.

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