College of Charleston women’s basketball head coach Nancy Wilson has announced she will retire after the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.
The winningest women’s basketball coach in school history, Wilson rejoined the program in 2003 having previously coached the Cougars from 1976-1984 leading the team to national prominence with seven 20-win seasons and three AIAW Division II National Championship appearances from 1980-82. She was named South Carolina Coach of the Year on three occasions, while sharing National Coach of the Year honors in 1982.
Wilson will enter her 17th season with the Cougars and 30th overall this fall with a marquee home matchup scheduled against seven-time national champion Connecticut on Dec. 21 at Carolina First Arena. She claimed her 300th career coaching victory at CofC in a 56-50 home win over Furman this past season on Jan. 24, 2011. Wilson has compiled a 304-193 record (.612) at The College and is one of only 31 active Division I coaches to surpass the 500-win milestone with 535 career victories to date.
“I have been truly blessed to have the opportunity to coach at the College of Charleston, not once, but twice in my career,” Wilson said. “The relationships I have made over the years with players, staff, colleagues and fans have been very special to me. I will have been a head coach in the sport of basketball for 30 years, which is a rare opportunity. My staff and I look forward to this last year with a special team and we plan on leaving the program with a solid foundation to build on.”
Wilson guided the Cougars to their most successful season in Division I history, earning a school-record 23 wins as well as a program-best 14 league wins in 2008-09. She also became the 24th active Division I coach in NCAA history to reach 500 career victories in a 63-43 rout of Georgia Southern on Feb. 16, 2009. CofC won a school-record nine games in a row and made its first-ever appearance in the Southern Conference Tournament championship game.
Prior to her return to CofC, Wilson was the head coach at the University of South Carolina from 1984-1997, where she is still the all-time leader in coaching victories (231). After five NCAA Tournament appearances with the Gamecocks, including a trip to the Sweet 16, she served a stint as the associate head coach of the American Basketball League’s Seattle Reign.
“Nancy has enjoyed an outstanding career and I hope several of her former players and coaches get to celebrate with her during the season,” CofC Director of Athletics Joe Hull said. “She has been a wonderful, positive influence on many young women. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Nancy led CofC women’s basketball to extraordinary success. And over these past eight years, she has been able to celebrate significant milestones like her 500th career win and her 300th CofC win with her teams. She will retire as a winner, a teacher, a mentor and a leader. Congratulations to Coach Wilson.”
Wilson earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Coker College in 1973 and obtained her master’s degree in physical education from The Citadel in 1982. She began her coaching career as an assistant at CofC, while teaching elementary physical education at nearby Mt. Pleasant Academy. She coached basketball and volleyball at Charleston’s Garrett High School for one year from 1974-75, while also coaching volleyball at CofC.
A native of Lake City, S.C., Wilson was bestowed the Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2010, which is named after the late North Carolina State great and presented annually to a coach who has exemplified biblical principles over the course of his or her career.