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Huskers' Hart soaking in Nebraska experience

Alexandria native Amanda Hart is in her second season at the director of basketball operations for the Nebraska women's basketball team. (Isabelle Thalken / Nebraska Athletic Communications)

LINCOLN, Neb.—If the University of Nebraska women's basketball team is like a ship, Amanda Hart is there to steer it.

The Alexandria native is in her second season as the director of basketball operations for the Husker women's basketball team.

"The best way to put it probably is I am just here to kind of help steer the ship," Hart said.

For the Huskers, Hart coordinates all aspects of Nebraska's team travel and assists in scheduling. But she also does a little bit of everything for the Huskers and coach Amy Williams.

"It's making sure that everyone is on the same page," Hart said. "Because here we have so many people, from support staff, to people in academics, people in administration and just making sure that all of those people are in the loop on everything we are trying to do."

The Husker ship is sailing smoother than last season. Nebraska went 8-22 in Williams' first season at the helm. This season, Nebraska is 9-3 entering today's game against Washington State University at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

"We are really happy with the way things are progressing for us," Hart said. "Last year, it was more so about just instilling our culture and getting the players to understand how things were to be done and how our system works."

Hart admits she would someday like to get back into coaching. But for right now, she's enjoying the journey with Williams and the Huskers.

"I truly believe Amy is one of the best coaches in the country and to get to learn from her everyday is something I can't pass up at this point and there isn't anybody else I would rather work for and work alongside other than this staff," Hart said. "I can't say I ever envisioned myself being a director of operations when I was growing up. I thought I would maybe a coach or something else, but for now, I couldn't be in a better place."

She's working for Williams for the third straight season—two at Nebraska and one at the University of South Dakota. Williams hired Hart as the USD director of basketball operations in August 2015.

In April 2016, Hart followed Williams to Lincoln when she was named the Husker head coach.

"It's been a heck of a ride," Hart said. "I am riding the right coattails, that is for sure. Amy is the best. I will be forever indebted to her for taking a chance on me when I was still young."

In Lincoln, it's a South Dakota affair. In addition to Hart and Williams (Spearfish), Nebraska men's basketball coach Tim Miles (Doland) and wrestling coach Mark Manning (Vermillion) also hail from the Rushmore State.

"They are two great resources here at the university as well," the 25-year-old Hart said. "In terms of recruiting ideas, or really anything. Two great guys that Amy and I are both fortunate enough to have here."

Before Hart was representing the red and white at both USD and Nebraska, she was sporting the blue and white at DWU. The former Tiger played for Jason Christensen from 2010-14, finishing with 1,406 points and a school-record 391 3-pointers made.

The former coach and player communicate regularly.

"(Jason) and I have a great relationship," Hart said. "We used to butt heads all the time, but it was in the best way. We both made each other better and I can't thank him enough for everything he did for me through the years. We still have a great relationship to this day."

Hart might discuss mainly basketball with Christensen, but for administrative topics, she keeps that in the family. Hart's brother, Jon, is the current athletic director at Dakota Wesleyan and her father, Curt, is the former athletic director and current assistant athletic director.

"They've been a huge help for me in the transition from college to coaching to now with what I am doing," Hart said. "I can't thank those guys enough for what they do. I can tell you they help me more than I will ever be able to help them."