Head Coach Jody Conradt
38th season overall -- 1,207 games: 900-307 (.746)
Multi-Hall of Fame legend and six-time National Coach of the Year Jody Conradt just completed her 31st year at The University of Texas, where she has been the architect of a model program for collegiate women's athletics.
Her blueprint for a collegiate women's basketball program has emphasized both academic achievement (99 percent graduation rate of her players) and on-court success (900 career coaching victories). She has coached in the collegiate ranks for 38 years overall and is a respected teacher of the game of basketball.
Her overall record in this her 38th year after 1,207 games on the sidelines is 900-307, for a winning percentage of .746. At Texas, her 31-year record stands 783-245 (.768 winning percentage) after 1,028 games on the Longhorns sidelines (a .761 winning percentage).
Conradt's passion is dual: teaching basketball to talented, motivated elite female student-athletes; and, helping these same young women develop discipline, social skills, effective communications abilities, and leadership qualities that will serve them capably later on in life, long after their sports skills have diminished.
Conradt has established an enviable tradition of success. With her coaching accomplishments elevating her to one of the best all-time, Conradt stands No. 2 in all-time career college basketball victories among all men's and women's coaches (active and non-active coaches). Her Texas teams have reached the NCAA Final Four three times (1986, 1987 and 2003), with her 1986 squad capturing the NCAA championship with a perfect 34-0 mark – the first women's team in Division I history to go undefeated.
Recipient of numerous National Coach of the Year awards, she has led Texas to 27 national post-season tournaments in 31 seasons at the Forty Acres, including 21 NCAA Tournament showings with three Final Four, five Elite Eight and 11 "Sweet Sixteen" appearances. During the AIAW years, Conradt led UT to six consecutive AIAW tournaments (1976-82), with Texas finishing second nationally in 1981-82.
Conradt's long-term commitment to the sport has been recognized as a key factor in elevating women's basketball into the national spotlight. And UT's great successes since 2002 – a NCAA Final Four berth in 2003 and two NCAA Sweet 16 showings (in 2002 and 2004), along with claiming Big 12 regular season championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04 - moved Texas back into national prominence.
Conradt's full attention has been on coaching since the spring of 2001 when she relinquished her dual role as Texas Women's Athletics Director, which she had held since 1992. In April of 2001, after serving in this challenging dual role of Women's AD and head basketball coach for nine years, Conradt re-dedicated her entire efforts to the hardwood by announcing her resignation as Women's AD in order to fully concentrate on the Longhorns' basketball program.
Since that time, her Longhorns have compiled an impressive overall mark of 134-59 (.694) in 193 contests the last six years (2001-02 season to present).
In this span, UT earned its first three Big 12 championships, the regular-season titles in 2003 and 2004 and the Big 12 Tournament crown in 2003, which gives Conradt's program a total of 22 league championships. UT also was the Big 12 regular season runnerup in 2004-05. Texas vaulted to the No. 1 national rank in February of 2004 and finished 2002-03 and 2003-04 in the top 10 nationally with records of 29-6 and 30-5, respectively. UT also gained a No. 2 seed (2003) and No. 1 seed (2004) in those NCAA Championships.
In the last four years, six of Conradt's players received national and All-America honors from numerous organizations and were All-Big 12 performers (Stacy Stephens, Heather Schreiber, Jamie Carey, Tiffany Jackson, Nina Norman, Erika Arriaran). All but Arriaran were National Player of the Year finalists, while Jackson was named the nation's top freshman in 2003-04 by ESPN.com and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USWBA) and was a USBWA and Associated Press All-American in 2004-05. Jackson is a finalist for All-America and National Player of the Year honors again in 2006- 07.
Conradt garnered two National Coach of the Year awards in the process - gaining ESPN.com honors in 2003 and the Victor Award (voted by broadcasters) in 2004 - and was voted Big 12 Coach of the Year both seasons.
Included in Conradt's 900 wins are 29 from 2002-03 during a storybook run to the 2003 Women's Final Four. Gathering momentum and national attention as the year progressed, the Longhorns pushed past their No. 13 preseason ranking and mounted an incredible run in February, March and April to go 29-6 en route to the program's third NCAA Final Four appearance. Texas came extremely close to playing for the national championship, losing a heart-breaking 71-69 decision to Connecticut in the Final Four semifinals at the Georgia Dome.
Along the way, the Longhorns claimed their first Big 12 regular-season title (15-1), clinched the program's first Big 12 Tournament crown, won the NCAA West Regional Championship as a No. 2 seed, and fashioned the nation's longest win streak (at 17 games) heading into the Final Four. Conradt also added to her many accolades by recording her 800th career win in dramatic fashion on January 22, 2003 when Texas upset No. 7 Texas Tech, 69-58, in Austin. Her 900th career victory came on March 6, 2007 against Missouri (70-57) in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship first round. That win placed her with Tennessee's Pat Summitt as the only coaches in collegiate men's or women's basketball history to reach the 900-victory milestone.
Conradt has been the recipient of numerous Hall of Fame and national coach of the year honors. In 1998-99, Conradt reached a richly-deserved spot in the sport of basketball: enshrinement into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. In October of 1998, she was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, the birthplace of the game of basketball. With that induction, Conradt became just the second women's basketball coach in history (following basketball coaching pioneer Margaret Wade) to be elected into the elite Hall. Conradt also was a member of the inaugural class of inductees (26 inductees) into the 1999 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Additionally, Conradt was one of seven finalists for Naismith Women's Basketball Coach of the Century honors. She also was inducted into the prestigious International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame (at the Institute for International Sport in Providence, RI) in the summer of 2003.
During the 1997-98 season, Conradt reached a coaching milestone that no other women's basketball coach had attained - the 700 career victory plateau. She won her 700th game on December 18, 1997 against Northwestern (89-86) in Austin. At that time, she became only the eighth coach in Division I men's and women's basketball history - and the first and only women's basketball coach - to reach the illustrious 700-career victory milestone.
Her players' accomplishments are a testament to Conradt's success as a teacher. Conradt has coached four U.S. Olympic Team members, one Olympic Team head coach (Nell Fortner in 2000), one Broderick Cup National Female Athlete of the Year (Kamie Ethridge in 1985-86) and three Wade Trophy National Players of the Year (Ethridge, Clarissa Davis and Edwina Brown). She is one of only two women's basketball coaches in history to have three or more different players honored with the Wade Trophy. In addition to the Olympic, National Player of the Year and All-America honors earned by the Longhorns, Clarissa Davis was an NCAA 1980's Player of the Decade. Davis and Etheridge also have joined Conradt as inductees in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (located in Knoxville, Tenn.).
In addition, 26 of her former players have gone on to professional basketball careers, including 16 Texas Exes who have graced the rosters of the WNBA (14 as players, two as head coaches). Conradt's players have claimed a total of 35 All-America awards (NCAA and AIAW) and 64 All- Conference honors. Add to that the following Longhorn accolades under Conradt: 64 All-Conference honorees (27 in the Big 12 since the league commenced in 1996-97); 37 in 15 years in the Southwest Conference); six conference Players of the Year; nine conference Freshman or Newcomer of the Year recipients. Four Longhorns were selected to the SWC All-Decade (1980-90) First Team and one to the Second Team. Nine have earned Tournament MVP honors (seven in the SWC, two in the Big 12).
Conradt's players have gained Big 12 All-Academic Team honors a total of 21 times. Danielle Viglione was a 1996-97 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship recipient and Jamie Carey was a two-time national Academic All-American in 2004 and 2005.
Under Conradt's direction, Texas has won 22 conference championships (two Big 12 regular season titles, 10 Southwest Conference regular season titles, one Big 12 Tournament and nine SWC Tournament crowns). UT earned 10 of a possible 14 SWC regular season championships and nine of the possible 14 SWC tourney titles.
Conradt began her illustrious basketball career in Goldthwaite, Texas - a small town about 100 miles northwest of Austin. She was a prep standout in her own right, averaging 40 points per game for the GHS Eagles. [This was before the three-point shot was in existence.] Hard work and a relentless pursuit of excellence paid off for Conradt, who was among the first to put up those kinds of numbers at that level.
Upon graduation from high school, Conradt headed to Waco, where she attended Baylor University, earning a degree in physical education in 1963 while averaging 20.0 points per game during her basketball career. She then went on to pursue a professional teaching and coaching career at Waco Midway High School before returning to her alma mater to earn a master's degree in 1969.
In the fall of that year, Conradt made her entrance into the collegiate coaching ranks at Sam Houston State (Huntsville, Texas), where she was head basketball coach and in charge of the volleyball and track teams. Her basketball career got off to a tremendous start, as the Bearkats were 74- 23 (.763).
After four years, she moved to the Dallas Metroplex and joined the staff at the University of Texas- Arlington in 1973. UTA needed someone to initiate a women's athletics program, and Conradt was called on to serve as Athletics Director and to coach basketball, volleyball and softball. Her teams qualified for the national tournaments during her three-year tenure and went 43-39 overall.
In 1976, Conradt arrived at The University of Texas to take over the fledgling programs in basketball and volleyball and wasted no time in charting the path which would lead Texas to unprecedented levels. Conradt's successes on the court, visibility in the community and her charismatic nature helped Texas build a major fan base for women's collegiate athletics. In her tenure, nearly 2.3 million fans have marched into the "Drum" to watch Texas Basketball.
After joining the NCAA in 1982-83, Conradt took Texas - and the fan excitement - to even greater heights. Texas was ranked No. 1 in the nation four straight years (1983-84 through 1986-87) and was undefeated in Southwest Conference action. In 1985-86, Conradt assembled one of finest basketball teams ever and steered UT through the first unbeaten season (34-0) in NCAA women's history. It was a feat that would take almost 10 years to duplicate. Highlighting Southwest Conference play (the women's basketball league existed from 1983-1996) were 10 conference championships out of a possible 14, and the team's 183-game winning streak against SWC teams - a streak which ranks among the longest wins streaks ever for any sport in history.
Conradt's involvement in the community extends beyond UT, as she spends her time in numerous charitable and educational efforts. Conradt is a long-time member of Coaches vs. Cancer, an American Cancer Society initiative to help fund cancer research and provide educational support. Active in breast cancer awareness, Conradt and the Texas basketball team were honorary chairs of Austin's Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure fundraising walk/run in November of 2003. In October of 2004, she served as Austin's honorary chair of the America's Walk for Diabetes. Annually, Texas Basketball and Conradt lead thousands of volunteers in fund-raising efforts and the annual walk for Austin's SafePlace (to stop domestic violence and assault).
For her community outreach and teaching, Conradt was honored in November of 2003 by Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit social service agency, with the 2003 Harvey Penick Award for Excellence in the Game of Life. This honor is given annually to a prominent Central Texas leader whose life emulates that of golf legend, teacher and mentor Harvey Penick, who helped his students to be their best as he exemplified dedication, discipline and humility.
In the summer of 2004, Conradt received the elite CASEY Award from the Kansas City Sports Association in recognition of her contributions to amateur athletics. In May of 2005, Conradt was honored with a Central Texas "Women of Distinction" recognition from the Girl Scouts-Lone Star Council for her powerful impact and contributions to the community and as a role model.
Around the game of basketball, Conradt has been honored by her peers and the media as the National Coach of the Year six times. She has been a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors (given by the Wooden Award and Naismith Award organizations) four times in the last six years. Conradt has been awarded Conference Coach of the Year honors seven times (five in the SWC, twice in the Big 12).
In 1987, Conradt received the Carol Eckman Award, the highest honor given annually by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and in 1991 the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports gave her its national award for outstanding commitment to women's athletics. Conradt also received an award for her contribution to the sport from the NCAA during the 10th anniversary of the basketball championship in 1992.
There is a quartet of international Halls of Fame into which Conradt has been enshrined - the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame (New York City, 1995) where she joined her rightful place among such legendary sports pioneers as Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Betsy Rawls, Billie Jean King and Wilma Rudolph; the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (October 1998); the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (June 1999); and the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame (June 2003). Additionally, she has been inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame (1986), Texas Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and the UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor (in the inaugural class of 2000).
These Hall of Fame enshrinements, coupled with her nomination as Naismith Coach of the Century and the outstanding achievements of her student-athletes, are a most fitting tribute to a woman who has spent her life charting paths for others to follow and providing opportunities for young women to pursue their dreams.
(Last updated 3/12/2007)