We already know what you’re thinking – there’s a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Which is correct, it was established in 1999 and hosts many incredible women. But the original Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame which was established in 1959 hosts a little over 30 women from nearly 400 people.
Decades ago you wouldn’t be able to find NBA betting odds which listed any female as an inductee. But in 1985, Margaret Wade was the first female coach inducted, and since then, many have followed in her footsteps. Let’s look at the female coaches who have managed to break barriers in basketball and land themselves in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
1. Margaret Wade (1985) – With a playing career cut short due injury, Wade made up for it by coaching the Delta State women’s basketball team to three consecutive national championships. To honour her legacy, the top women’s collegiate player is now awarded the Wade Trophy each year.
2. Jody Conradt (1998) – In 2010, Conradt was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently the Special Assistant to the Women’s Athletic Director at the University of Texas but in her coaching career has achieved a record of 900-307.
3. Pat Summit (2000) – Summit is known for her outstanding record as the coach for the most career wins in women’s collegiate basketball, which stands at 1,098. In 2000 she was named as ‘Coach of the Century’ but retired from coaching in 2012 when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Sandra Kay Yow (2002) – Even though she was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before, Yow coached the women’s basketball team to Olympic gold in 1988. Sadly in 2009, she passed away from her illness. In her memory, the CollegeInsider.com ‘National Coach of the Year’ award is named after her.
5. Sue Gunter (2005) – Gunter’s coaching career began with incredible success, two consecutive seasons, undefeated. She was announced as Southeast Conference’s ‘Coach of the Year’ in 1997 and 1999, and after passing away at the age of 66, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously.
6. Cathy Rush (2008) – After her incredible journey as a coach, her story was developed into a film, The Mighty Macs in 2009. During her career, Rush coached players who would find themselves in the Hall of Fame, as well as coaching in the first women’s basketball game in Madison Square Garden. In 1973, she coached Immaculata to an undefeated season including the post-season tournament.
7. C. Vivian Stringer (2009) – She was the first coach to lead three different women’s teams to the NCAA Final Four. Cheyney State College, University of Iowa, and Rutgers University teams were all coached by Stringer throughout her career. She has been the Head Coach at Rutgers for over 20 years now and even featured in a documentary about the side titled This Is a Game, Ladies.
8. Tara VanDerveer (2011) – Since 1985 VanDerveer has been the Head Coach at Stanford University. With two NCAA championships and 12 trips to the Final Four, VanDerveer has racked up over 900 wins in one school. She also managed to coach the United States Women’s Basketball team to Olympic gold in 1996.
9. Lidiya Alekseyeva (2012) – She is the first and only Russian female coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She coached the USSR Women’s National Team for 22 years in which time the side won every competition they entered. Alekseyeva has one of the most impressive coaching careers of all time in the sport.
10. Sylvia Hatchell (2013) – Earlier this year Hatchell resigned from her role of Head Coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of her most memorable achievements with the side is winning the Atlantic Coast Conference four years in a row, from 2004 to 2008.
Published by Daphenee Plaisir