Updated Oct. 24, 2008
After posting a 3-24 record in her first season at Southern Illinois, head coach Dana Eikenberg guided the Salukis to a 21-11 overall record and 16-2 league mark during the 2007 campaign. In addition, SIU earned its first regular season Missouri Valley Conference championship for the Salukis in 20 years. Eikenberg also led SIU to the postseason for the first time in 15 seasons, accepting a bid to the Women's National Invitational Tournament before falling in the second round at Kansas State.
In 2008, the Salukis slipped to 10-20 overall and 5-13 in Valley play, but captured their third-straight double-digit win season, the first time the program has accomplished the feat since 1995-98.
The Valley Championship in 2007 earned Eikenberg the `Rawlings' MVC Coach of the Year award only one season after the Salukis finished 10-18. The one-year program turnaround ranked in the top-10 of all Division I women's basketball programs in the nation for the 2006-07 season.
A number of milestones have been reached under Eikenberg's tutelage, including the posting of just the ninth 20-win season in program history, which is the first time since 1991-92. The 16 conference victories are the best since 1986-87 and in the MVC era.
In just her first four seasons at SIU, Eikenberg was able to land the 2006 Valley Newcomer-of-the-Year (Carlai Moore). In 2007, Moore went on to become the first Saluki since the 1998-99 season to earn first team honors. Moore transferred from UMKC in 2004 after Eikenberg took the job at SIU and was forced to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer rules. The SIU graduate ended her Saluki career with 890 points, making her the highest scoring transfer in school history by over 250 points.
During Eikenberg's tenure, the Salukis tallied the 19th 1,000-point scorer in program history in Jayme Sweere, the first since 2003.
In three years, Southern has earned considerable MVC recognition including two second-team (Moore, Sweere), one honorable mention (Erica Smith), two all-freshman (Jasmine Gibson, Ellen Young), two all-defensive (Sweere, Smith) and five scholar-athlete team honorees (Erin Pauk - 3, Sweere - 3, Smith - 2).
The 2006-07 team built their season around stingy defense, holding 23 teams under 70 points to hold the No. 1 scoring defense in the league at 55.9 points per game. SIU dominated the league's defensive statistical categories, also leading the MVC in scoring margin (+10.3 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.397) and rebounding defense (30.7 rpg).
Most notably, Eikenberg and her team have created a renewed interest in a once tradition-rich program that fell in the late 90s. The 2006-07 season saw the highest average attendance per game, including the highest single-game attendance in program history on November 12, 2006 against Missouri.
Eikenberg became the seventh head coach in SIU's 47-year women's basketball history on April 20, 2004. Prior to taking over the Saluki helm, she revitalized the women's basketball program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In 2000-01, Eikenberg inherited a team with four ineligible players that posted a 2-25 record. Two years later, the team recorded a 14-14 mark, its first .500 season in 10 years, and finished tied for second-place in the Mid-Continent Conference. Eikenberg then polished off her four-year MCC stint with an overall 15-14 record and another second-place MCC finish.
Off the court, Eikenberg sets standards for her players to achieve academic success and recognition.
In three of her four seasons at SIU, Eikenberg guided SIU to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division I Academic Top-25 Team Honor Roll. In 2007-08, the Salukis recorded their highest ranking, 12th nationally with a 3.371 team cumulative grade point average. In 2004-05, the Salukis claimed a No. 22 ranking (3.314 GPA), its first in school history. The 2006-07 squad boasted a 3.31 team GPA, which ranked 19th nationally. In four seasons at UMKC, her teams registered at least a 3.028 grade point average each year.
Before accepting her first head coaching position at UMKC, Eikenberg served as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa (1997-2000). She organized Iowa's national recruiting strategy and helped lead the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten Championship in 1998.
Eikenberg became familiar with the MVC throughout the early stages of her coaching career as well. From 1995-97, she was an assistant coach at Indiana State, where she oversaw the perimeter players and recruited the 1997 MVC Newcomer-of-the-Year (Amy Amstutz).
Before her stint with the Sycamores, she was a restricted earnings coach at the University of Illinois (1993-95), where she obtained a master's degree in Kinesiology.
As a player at Penn State, Eikenberg was a four-year starter at point guard from 1988-92 under nationally respected head coach Rene Portland. During her career with the Nittany Lions, Eikenberg played on three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams (1990, 1991 and 1992), while helping the program achieve its first No. 1 national ranking in 1991.
After graduating from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in Communications in 1992, Eikenberg spent one season playing professionally in Germany.