Associate Head Coach - Allison Pohlman
Allison Pohlman was promoted to associate head coach of the Drake University women’s basketball program by head coach Jennie Baranczyk in July, 2014.
“Allison exemplifies everything that we strive for in our program,” commented Baranczyk on the veteran assistant coach. “She is an exceptional teacher and recruiter. Allison values hard work, loyalty and loves Drake. She is such an integral part to the success of our program and we are lucky to have her here! This is a well-deserved promotion.”
After Baranczyk was named head coach in April of 2012, her first hire was retaining Pohlman from the previous coaching staff. Pohlman, who was a standout player at UNI, has been an assistant coach at Drake since the 2007-08 season.
As the Bulldogs recruiting coordinator, she was instrumental in the recruitment of Kyndal Clark, the 2014 Jackie Stiles Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Lizzy Wendell, the 2017 MVC Player of the Year and Becca Hittner, the 2017 MVC Player of the Year.
Her primary responsibilities for the Bulldogs are serving as recruiting coordinator, tutoring the Drake guards and assisting with the preparation of opponent scouting reports.
No stranger to the Missouri Valley Conference, Pohlman joined the Bulldog staff in 2007 after spending seven seasons as a coach at Northern Iowa, including serving as the Panthers’ associate head coach during the 2006-07 campaign.
While at Northern Iowa, she was in charge of academic monitoring, summer camp operations, served as facility liaison, and coached UNI’s perimeter players. She also aided in recruiting, scouting, fund-raising and public relations events in the community.
Pohlman began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northern Iowa during the 2000-01 campaign before being elevated to an assistant coach for the following season, a position she held until being promoted to associate head coach in 2006-07.
One of the best all-around players in Northern Iowa history, the former Allison Starr competed from 1996-2000 as the centerpiece in the rejuvenation of Panther basketball under retired head coach Tony DiCecco.
In 1997 she was named to the MVC’s All-Freshman team. Her final three years, she was named All-MVC first team and to The Valley’s All-Defensive Team.
Pohlman arguably had one of the finest single seasons in UNI history in 1999-2000, leading the Panthers in steals and assists while setting school records for points and rebounds in a season. A runner-up to Jackie Stiles for the league’s player of the year award, she was named The Valley’s defensive player of the year, as well.
Pohlman capped her career by ranking second in UNI history with 1,463 points, third with 711 rebounds, second with 274 steals, fifth with 278 assists and as the school record holder for free throws made, free throws attempted, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, double-doubles and steals per game. Pohlman was inducted in the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 2011.
The Wellsburg, Iowa native and her husband, Kirk, have triplet daughters, Quinn, Rubie and Sidny. Pohlman holds a bachelor's of science in dietetics and a master's degree in Health Education from UNI.
Assistant Coach - Nicci Hays Fort
Nicci Hays Fort was hired as a Drake University women’s basketball assistant coach in July of 2016.
Hays Fort brings an impressive coaching background to the Bulldogs having been head coach at three different institutions, including most recently serving as the head coach of the Colgate University women’s basketball team for five seasons. She was also head coach of Division II Barry University and the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where she helped start the service academy’s program.
“We hit the jackpot with Nicci,” said Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “She is an awesome person, who has coached at several levels and is going to be a great compliment to our entire coaching staff. We have known each other for many years and I have great respect for her as a coach. Our fans and team are going to love her and we’re blessed and lucky to have her part of our program.”
Hays Fort also served as associate head coach at DePaul University, where during her stint the Blue Demons made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the 2006 NCAA Sweet Sixteen. She was also as an assistant coach at Nicholls State University for two seasons. In total, Hays Fort has compiled 16 years of collegiate coaching experience.
Hays Fort was a two-sport student-athlete in basketball and softball at Truman State in Kirksville, Mo., before finishing her career at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. She earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Culver-Stockton.
Assistant Coach - Markisha Wright
Former Des Moines East High School and Notre Dame standout Markisha Wright is an assistant Drake women's basketball coach. She was promoted to the assistant coach position in Sept., 2016.
Wright was hired as graduate team manager for the program in Aug., 2015 and served in that role for the 2015-16 season.
Wright led East to a state title in 2011 and a second-place finish in 2010 before going to Notre Dame where she appeared in 138 career games, scoring 443 points and grabbing 353 rebounds. Wright played in four Final Fours and advanced to the championship game three times while a member of the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame compiled an impressive 143-10 record during Wright’s four seasons. Her East teams were also highly successful as the Scarlets went 87-10 in her four prep seasons.
Wright served as a team captain for the Fighting Irish as a senior and was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll. She graduated in May 2015 from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She is pursuing a master’s degree in leadership development at Drake.