Mount Rushmore of NCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches
There have been some phenomenal coaches in the history of NCAA Women’s Basketball. Only choosing four coaches for my Mount Rushmore was an extremely difficult process because of the vast number of legends that have shaped the game over the years.
After careful consideration, I was able to lock in my choices. Here are the four individuals that belong on the Mount Rushmore of NCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches.
1985 – Present
I don’t think that you can have a Mount Rushmore and not include Geno Auriemma. I am a UConn alumnus, so I am biased towards the Huskies. However, Geno Auriemma is the greatest college basketball coach of all-time. His accolades over the years makes this statement undeniable.
As the head coach of the University of Connecticut, Auriemma has compiled a record of 1101-142. This means that his team is winning close to 87% of the time. Auriemma has won 11 National Championships at the helm of the Huskies.
He has taken his team to the Final Four 20 times since 1985. When Auriemma accepted the head coaching job at UConn in 1985, this program was nothing. He built the Huskies into the greatest women’s basketball dynasty of all time.
Auriemma has been named the Naismith Coach of the Year eight times and the Associated Press Coach of the Year nine times. In 2006, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Tennessee Lady Vols
1974 – 2012
The late Pat Summitt could be the most recognizable women’s basketball coach in the history of the game. Women’s basketball wouldn’t be where it is today without Summitt’s legacy. She was the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols from 1974 until 2012.
Summitt became the first ever women’s basketball coach to notch 1,000 career wins. In 2012, she retired with 1,098 wins and only 208 losses. Tennessee basketball is special because of Pat Summitt.
Summitt won eight National Championships in 18 trips to the Final Four. In her Tennessee tenure, she cut the net down in the SEC Tournament 18 times. In 2000, Summitt was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Pat Summitt was instrumental in bringing women’s basketball to the forefront of the sports world. Summitt passed away in 2016 at the age of 64.
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1985 – Present
Tara VanDerveer has won at multiple programs in her time as a head coach. She is currently the head coach at Stanford. VanDerveer has been at the helm of the Cardinal since 1985. Her head coaching career began in 1978 at the University of Idaho.
She departed in 1980 to lead The Ohio State University. In 1985, VanDerveer made the move to Stanford. She has a cumulative head coaching record of 1088-250.
With Ohio State, she won four Big Ten Championships. In her current tenure at Stanford, VanDerveer has led the Cardinal to 25 Pac 12 titles, 12 Final Four appearances, and two National Championships.
VanDerveer is a four-time National Coach of the Year, a 10-time Pac 12 Coach of the Year, and a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
With Stanford, she has compiled an 83% winning percentage. VanDerveer has set the standard for women’s basketball in the Pac 12.
North Carolina Tar Heels
1986 – 2019
Sylvia Hatchell left her mark on women’s basketball in more ways than one. She started her head coaching career at Francis Marion University from 1975-1986. Francis Marion is a Division II school in South Carolina. When Hatchell was leading the program, Francis Marion was part of the NAIA.
Hatchell won an NAIA Championship in 1986 before departing to the University of North Carolina to take over the Tar Heels women’s basketball program. Under Hatchell, UNC appeared in three Final Fours and won the National Championship in 1994.
She is sixth on the all-time wins list with 1,023. The UNC legend was named the National Coach of the Year in 1994 and 2006. In 2013, Hatchell received the highest honor in the game by being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
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