During her 14 years at the helm of the Cleveland State women’s basketball team, head coach Kate Peterson Abiad has systematically built a program that has turned into one of the perennial contenders in the Horizon League. Now that Peterson Abiad has established the Vikings as one of the top programs in the Horizon League, that is where she would like to keep it.
For the upcoming season, Peterson Abiad will have a core group of returners to build her lineup around, including the trio of Horizon League honorees in Ashanti Abshaw, Khayla Livingston, and Jade Ely. Along with this trio, Peterson Abiad also returns seniors Olivia Voskuhl and Shadae Bosley - both of whom appeared in the starting lineup last season. In addition to the returners, Peterson Abiad will also have a strong incoming freshman class to work with in Anyia Pride, Nadia Dumas, and Mariah White.
Throughout her first 14 years at Cleveland State, Peterson Abiad has had a coaching career filled with success, including the highlight of becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history during the 2011-12 season. With a 70-68 victory over Milwaukee on Feb. 18, 2012, Peterson Abiad earned her 116th victory and the title of winningest coach. She enters the 2017-18 season with 187 career wins and a .436 career winning percentage.
During the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons Peterson Abiad led the Vikings to the top of the Horizon League, as they captured the program’s first-ever tournament championships. During the 2007-08 season, CSU posted a 70-56 victory over Wright State in the championship game, securing the program’s first bid to the NCAA Tournament in school history. The Vikings finished the season with a 19-14 record - an 11-win turnaround from the prior season - the fifth best turnaround in the nation.
Two years later, Peterson Abiad led her squad back to the top of the Horizon League, defeating Butler, 66-57 in the championship game to earn Cleveland State’s second trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Vikings had a matching 19-14 record during the 2009-10 season, with the 19 wins marking the third most wins in a single season in CSU history.
Over the past 14 seasons, 13 Vikings have earned Horizon League accolades under Peterson Abiad’s guidance, including Kailey Klein (2006-10) who was named the 2010 Co-Player of the Year. Klein, who was a major part of both NCAA Tournament teams, also finished her career as CSU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,140 points. Peterson Abiad’s teams have also excelled on the defensive end of the court, with three players earning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year honors; Shalonda Winton (2009-2013), Shawnita Garland (2007-2011), and Dominique Butler (2005-2009).
In all of her 26 seasons as a collegiate coach, she has been part of five NCAA tournament teams and three WNIT teams, including the 1999-00 WNIT Champions at Wisconsin.
Before being named the sixth head coach in Cleveland State history on April 25, 2003, Peterson Abiad served as an assistant coach for a combined 12 seasons at Indiana, Eastern Illinois and Wisconsin.
An assistant at Wisconsin for six seasons prior to her arrival in Cleveland, Peterson Abiad served as the Badgers’ chief recruiter, beginning in 1998. Under head coach Jane Albright, Peterson Abiad helped the Badgers bring in two top-10 freshman classes during her final four years with the Badgers.
She was responsible for the signing and development of WNBA draftees Tamara Moore and Jessie Stomski and was instrumental to the Badgers inking Nina Smith,who was named the 1999 National Player of the Year by USA Today.
While in Madison, the Badgers advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times (1998, 2001 & 2002). In addition, Wisconsin won the 2000 WNIT championship after falling in the title game the year before. Wisconsin posted a 104-79 mark with Peterson Abiad on the bench, including 21 win seasons in 1997-98 and 1999-2000.
Prior to her stint at Wisconsin, Peterson Abiad was an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois for four years (1993-97), joining the staff as the chief assistant in 1993. She played a large role in the Panthers posting a 16-12 record and advancing to the conference semifinals in 1994-95 - two years after the team won just two games.
During her tenure in Charleston, Ill., Peterson Abiad served as the recruiting coordinator, was responsible for scouting opponents, and developed a strength and conditioning program. She also assisted with practice planning and implementation and coached individual workouts.
Peterson Abiad received her first coaching opportunity during a two-year stint at Indiana, helping the Hoosiers to a 30-25 record from 1991-93. While at Indiana, she gained familiarity with the Big Ten, serving as a graduate assistant for one year and a restricted earnings coach. She later took on unexpected duties including scouting, on-campus recruiting, and on-court coaching in 1992-93, helping the Hoosiers to a 14-13 mark.
A native of River Falls, Wis., Peterson Abiad graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she earned honorable mention Kodak All-America honors as a senior in 1990-91. A four-year starter and the 1991 Team MVP, she twice garnered all-conference recognition and set an NCAA Division III national record for three-point field goals made per game (3.85) during the 1990-91 season. She was inducted into the UW-Stevens Point Hall of Fame in 2000.
Peterson Abiad earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stevens Point in 1991, and her master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology from Indiana in 1995.
In addition to her college coaching experience, Peterson Abiad served as the coach for an Athletes in Action camp held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1992, and has worked a variety of summer basketball camps and served as the director of the UW-Stevens Point summer basketball camp in 1991.
Peterson Abiad lives in North Royalton with her husband, Phil Abiad, an assistant coach with the CSU volleyball program for the last 17 seasons. Peterson Abiad and her husband have two daughters, seven-year old Mea, and one-year old Remi.