VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota women’s basketball coach Carrie Eighmey is pleased to announce the hiring of Amber (Hegge) Cunningham as an assistant coach for the Coyotes.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the addition of Amber to our staff,” said Eighmey. “Amber is a decorated alum, Hall of Famer, and fan favorite of this storied Coyote program. She will take great pride in helping us build on the foundation and success that’s already been achieved over the years. Amber is an incredible coach on the floor with a brilliant basketball mind. She will be extremely valuable in our recruiting efforts as she has been recruiting this region for the past several years. I think Yote fans everywhere will be excited to have Amber coming home!”

Cunningham returns to Vermillion after spending the last eight seasons on the bench at Colorado State under former Coyote head coach Ryun Williams.


Cunningham has helped Colorado State to three-straight 20-win seasons from 2021-24. Williams, Cunningham and longtime USD head coach Chad Lavin all made the return to Vermillion back in 2018 as Colorado State faced South Dakota in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

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Originally of Crofton, Nebraska, Cunningham was inducted to the Henry Heider Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in the fall of 2022. She was a two-sport standout for the Coyote women’s basketball and track & field programs through the Division I transition. She played for the 2008 NCAA Division II Championship as a freshman before going on to become the first Coyote women’s basketball player to garner all-Summit League honors in 2012. She led the Coyotes in scoring and rebounding for three consecutive seasons from 2009-12.

Cunningham graduated as the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,759 points, second in blocks with 176 and fifth in rebounds with 841. She was also ranked in USD’s top-10 for indoor and outdoor high jump. Cunningham averaged 19.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a senior, leading the Coyotes to their first Women’s National Invitation Tournament. She was named to the “Mount Rushmore of DakotaDome Basketball” by fan voting in 2016.

Following her collegiate career, Cunningham played professionally for five seasons. She spent four seasons in Australia between the Ringwood Hawks and the Melbourne Boomers, and was a member of the Herne Turn Club in Germany.

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