- Guided Ashland to a 29-3 record and a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament title in her first season as head coach.
- Still ranks eighth on Ashland's all-time scoring list (1,414 points) despite playing just two seasons in the program.
Former Ashland University standout Kari Pickens is well on her way to duplicating as a head coach what she accomplished as a player for the Eagles.
Pickens is in her second season as the Eagle women's basketball head coach. She was named the women's basketball program's 13th head coach on April 3, 2018, following five seasons as an assistant, including one as the program's associate head coach.
In her first season leading the Eagles in 2018-19, Pickens went 29-3 overall and 18-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and AU won its fourth consecutive GLIAC Tournament championship and made its fifth consecutive NCAA Division II postseason appearance.
Pickens is synonymous with the success Ashland's women's basketball program has had over the last eight seasons, starting with putting up perhaps the best back-to-back seasons as a player in Division II women's basketball history after transferring from Division I Dayton.
During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, in which Ashland was the national runner-up and won its first national championship, Pickens recorded 1,414 points and 903 rebounds, seventh- and fourth-most all-time at Ashland, respectively. She has the Division II women's basketball record for most consecutive games with a double-double in a career (34), and still claims Eagle program records for single-game rebounds (24), single-season points (744), single-season rebounds (492), single-season rebounding average (14.1) and career scoring average (21.8).
In 30 games in 2012-13, Pickens averaged 22.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from 3-point range and 82.9 percent from the free-throw line. As a junior, Pickens averaged 21.3 points, 14.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 35 contests, and hit 50.3 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from 3-point range and 84.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Pickens' playing accolades included being named two-time Honda Sports Award D-II Female Athlete of the Year, 2013 Capital One Female Student-Athlete Academic All-American of the Year, 2013 Capital One Women's Basketball Academic All-American of the Year, two-time WBCA National Player of the Year, two-time WBCA first-team All-American, 2013 D-II Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player, two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and 2013 GLIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
As an assistant coach, Pickens was named WBCA NCAA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016-17, and earned one of the WBCA's inaugural "Thirty Under 30" awards in 2015-16.
Before coming to AU, Pickens played two seasons at Dayton, where she scored 389 points and averaged 6.0 ppg. and 16.0 minutes per game. She was named to the all-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team, and, as a sophomore, was cited as a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-District pick.
At River View High School, Pickens was a two-time first-team all-Ohio selection. In 2009, she was the Ohio co-Player of the Year. Pickens was a member of two state-championship teams (2006-07) and a state runner-up (2009).
In the spring of 2014, Pickens played professionally for the Lakeside Lightning in Perth, Australia. She was the team’s Most Valuable Player, averaging 21.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Pickens led the State Basketball League in free-throw percentage (85.4) and rebounds (299), and was second in points per game.
Pickens is married to husband Brad, and they have a son, Elijah, who was born in January of 2019.