Danielle Santos Atkinson introduced as new women's basketball head coach
The Hofstra women’s basketball program began a new chapter on Monday, April 15, as the school introduced the team’s new head coach, Danielle Santos Atkinson.
Santos Atkinson has spent 13 years as a NCAA women’s basketball coach, beginning her career at Hofstra back in 2006 as an assistant coach.
“This is where it all started,” Santos Atkinson said after the press conference. “I learned so much in my four years here.”
After her initial four-year stint at Hofstra, Santos Atkinson served as an assistant coach at Illinois State University, University of Kentucky and Florida State University before spending last season as an associate head coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I’ve pulled so much from every single school that I’ve been a part of,” she said. “Whether it’s leadership philosophies, X’s and O’s, recruiting styles and different ideas. That all has shaped my philosophy as a coach.”
“I’m looking forward to bringing everything that I’ve learned and then building a successful program here at Hofstra,” she added.
Prior to taking this position, which is her first head coaching job, she spent two years at Kentucky and four years at Florida State. Santos Atkinson helped lead her teams to six NCAA tournaments during that six-year span, including three Elite Eight and two Sweet 16 appearances.
However, it was not just her resume that made her stand out as a top candidate for the head coaching position.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s her criteria as much as I think it’s about who she is as a person,” said Hofstra Athletic Director Rick Cole Jr. “She’s an absolute pit bull of a worker. She just works. Her reputation is that you can’t outwork her.”
“She has all the tools to be exceptional. Not just good – exceptional,” he said.
Santos Atkinson served as recruiting coordinator during her four years at Florida State, bringing in two recruiting classes that were ranked top five nationally.
“Recruiting is all about relationships,” she said. “Not just relationships that are built to get what you need in the moment, but long-standing relationships. Relationships that you care about. Relationships that are a two-way street.”
“I just want to come here and develop those relationships. It’s really important to me that players and families know that they’re going to be taken care of at Hofstra,” she added.
Her ability to connect with others also stood out to Cole.
“To me, the greatest selling piece was how she related to everyone,” Cole said. “Not just her athletes, not just her staff, but everyone across campus.”
Although Santos Atkinson has only been on the job for a few weeks, she already has goals set for the program.
“I want to see growth,” she said. “I want to see them reach their maximum potential. I want to see this team be their best team. Whatever that looks like, we’re going to strive for that.”
Spirits are high around Hofstra Athletics. Santos Atkinson brings a successful resume and exceptional work ethic to the table to try and turn around the women’s basketball program after an 11-22 finish last season.
“We have a lot of confidence,” Cole said. “Every day we’re going to get better and better. I believe with her at the helm, people will define us as a winning program.”
Her time as Hofstra’s women’s basketball head coach may have just begun, but Santos Atkinson already knows the legacy that she wants to leave behind.
“I want them to say, ‘She gave everything she had to that program. She poured every last ounce of herself into making that program a successful program.’”
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics