Peatross Named Western Oregon Women's Basketball Coach
Jessica Peatross led Salam University to its most wins in 22 years while leading the program during the 2022-23 season.
Jessica Peatross led Salam University to its most wins in 22 years while leading the program during the 2022-23 season.

Sunday, June 25, 2023
by Western Oregon Athletic Communications

MONMOUTH, Ore. --- Western Oregon University Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Randi Lydum announced Jessica Peatross as the Wolves' women's basketball head coach on Friday (June 23).

Peatross is the eighth women's basketball head coach in WOU history and comes from NCAA Division-II Salem University where she was the head coach for the 2022-23 season - leading the team to its most wins in 22 years by going 14-17. The team was led by its defense as it finished fifth in Division II in defensive field goal percentage (34.2 percent) and led the nation in defensive rebounds per game and was 12th in rebounds per game.

"We are excited to welcome Coach Peatross to Western Oregon University as our new head women's basketball coach," Lydum said. "Upon meeting Jessica, we felt a strong connection and believe she shares our vision for the women's basketball program. Her passion and enthusiasm for coaching and student-athlete development, will help our team continue to ascend within the GNAC and beyond."

Prior to Salem, Peatross was the head coach at Delta College - an NJCAA Division III school out of University Center, Michigan. In her first season in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season - she was named the MCCAA North Conference Coach of the Year thanks to leading the team to a conference title and a regional runner-up finish. The team was ranked as high as No. 20 in the nation and she coached the player of the year, freshman of the year and defensive player of the year in the conference.

The following season (2021-22), Peatross guided Delta to a 21-8 record, a regional runner-up finish, a Great Lakes East Region Final Four appearance and again coached the conference player of the year, freshman of the year and defensive player of the year - including an NJCAA Second Team All-American. That season, the team led the region in scoring and steals. At Delta, she also served as the head men's golf coach from 2019-2021 and as an assistant athletic director of sports information and athletic marketing from 2021-22.

"I'm extremely blessed, thankful and excited for this opportunity at Western Oregon University," Peatross said. "Randi Lydum and everyone at WOU have made this decision very easy to make in every aspect. Winning is the standard and I'm grateful that Randi wants to win. She sees the vision, believes in the pillars of our program, what we're about and in the rapid impact we plan to make on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I'm eager to get to work immediately and look forward to competing in the GNAC. It's a great time to be a part of the WOU Wolves family."

A native of Lansing, Michigan, Peatross graduated from Holt High School in 2010. There she was twice named All-State honorable mention in basketball. She holds the school record for career assists at Holt and is a member of the 1,000-point club. In her senior year, Peatross was named Lansing State Journal (LSJ) Female Athlete of the Year as well as LSJ All-Decade Team and LSJ Dream-Team for both basketball and golf.

Peatross received a Division I scholarship to participate in golf, basketball and track at Chicago State University. There she was also an active member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Peatross is a 2014 graduate of Chicago State University with a degree in communications. After completing her playing career at Chicago State University, she continued her education at Valparaiso University where she received her master's degree in sports administration, information & marketing in 2016. While there, she joined the women's basketball program as a graduate assistant, assisting with daily practice planning, player development and social media marketing and more.

Peatross start date is set for July 1.

She takes over for Holli Howard-Carpenter, who has accepted a position with the WOU Foundation after being the WOU women's basketball head coach since 2013.

"I would like to thank Coach Holli Howard-Carpenter for her service to our program and wish her well in her new role within the WOU Foundation," Lydum said.