Sonya Beeler has proven excellence in both piloting winning teams and developing the skills of her student-athletes during her tenure as women’s basketball head coach at Cincinnati State.
Since Beeler’s arrival at Cincinnati State, the Surge program has averaged 22 wins per season, posted a pair of runner-up finishes in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference, won a district championship and made an appearance at the NJCAA National Championships.
Beeler has developed three All-Americans, Cameron Vaughn, a second team selection in 2013, Phylicia Johnson, a second team choice in 2014, and Jonessa Moore, an honorable mention selection in 2015.
Beeler has also shown that she can build and rebuild a program very quickly. Upon her arrival at Cincinnati State, she took over a program that had made back-to-back appearances in the NJCAA National Championships, but had only one returning sophomore. Beeler directed that team to a 25-7 record and narrowly missed a third straight trip to the national tournament.
The 2013-14 team posted a 21-12 record. The Surge won the district tournament championship and advanced to the NJCAA National Championships for the third time in four seasons. The 2014-15 team overcame the in-season losses of four contributing players to finish at 19-12.
An accomplished post player as a collegian, Beeler helped hone Vaughn into the power forward who was second in the nation in total rebounds in 2012-13. Johnson scored 570 points in her only season as a Surge—she transferred to Eastern Illinois following her freshman season in 2013-14. Both players have their jerseys on display at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Further underscoring Beeler’s success at developing her student-athletes, five of her former players advanced to continue their basketball careers at four-year colleges—two at the NCAA Division I level. Seven of the eight sophomores to play under Beeler earned their associate’s degrees and/or transferred to four-year colleges.
Beeler began her coaching career as an assistant at South Carolina Upstate. A year later she became head coach at Spartanburg Methodist College. From 2002 until 2011, Beeler performed work for ESPN, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports South as a color analyst. She returned to coaching in 2011 as the head coach at Monroe High School.
A native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Beeler played basketball for four years at Bradley University, where she majored in Early Childhood Education. In 1998, she earned a Master’s in Sport Administration from Ohio University.
Derek Williams joined the Cincinnati State women’s basketball coaching staff in 2013 to serve under head coach Sonya Beeler.
Williams works with the Surge guards, and he has helped the team and players succeed at Cincinnati State and beyond. The Surge won conference and district titles on their way to nationals in Williams’ first season on the staff. Also, Cincinnati State guard Phylicia Johnson earned All-America and all-conference honors in 2013 before going on to play for NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois.
A Cincinnati native, Williams was the girls’ varsity basketball head coach at Western Hills High School for seven years, a boys’ varsity assistant coach at Shroder High School for two seasons and the freshmen boys head coach at Withrow High School for three years. Additionally, Williams has 12 years of AAU coaching experience.
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in sports science from United States Sports Academy and currently is working on a master’s degree in athletic administration.