May 10, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Holy Cross' head women's basketball coach, Bill Gibbons has been selected to assist the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Pan American Games Team. He will join three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team assistant coach Dawn Staley, head coach at Temple University (Pa.), who has been selected to lead the team. Also on the sidelines will be two-time USA Basketball coaching staff member Kathy Delaney-Smith of Harvard University (Mass.).
The selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball, and approved by the USA Basketball Executive Committee. Final approval from the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors is still pending.
The 2007 Pan American Games women's basketball tournament will be held July 20-24 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will feature eight national teams from North, South, Central Americas and the Carribean. In addition to the U.S., nations competing for women's basketball gold in Rio will be Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. The U.S. opens play against Columbia on July 20, goes up against Argentina on July 21 and closes out preliminary round play against defending Pan American Games gold medalist Cuba on July 22. The semifinals will be held July 23 and the gold medal will be contested July 24.
"One of the more important things the committee accomplished in selecting these three coaches was to put together a coaching staff whose strengths and skills complement one another," Donohoe said.
"In Kathy and Bill, they have demonstrated a great knowledge of the game, excellent teaching skills and sustained success both on and off the court. More than that, however, these coaches have proven their ability to relate to young women in a positive and instructive manner. For this level of international competition, it's important that the coaches have the varied experiences and communication tools, and we believe we have selected such a coaching staff."
"This is a tremendous honor. I'm very humbled, honored and extremely excited all at the same time," said Gibbons. "Certainly it was a dream in the back of my mind, but I never really expected it. Anytime you can represent your country is an honor. It's going to be a great experience.
"Dawn has had a great experience representing USA Basketball in the Olympics and now as an assistant with the (USA Senior) National Team," added Gibbons. "I'm really excited to work with her and learn from her. This is going to be a new ball game for me, and I can't think of anyone better to learn from and work with than Dawn. And of course I've known Kathy for a long time, we're probably the two deans of coaches in Massachusetts and maybe even in the northeast. We compete against Kathy, and I have tremendous respect for her and the job she's done at Harvard and I look forward to working with her and learning from her, along with Dawn."
A 22-year (1985-86 through present) head coach at Holy Cross, Gibbons is the winningest women's basketball head coach in school history with an overall 444-197 record for a 69.3 winning percentage. Additionally, Gibbons has amassed 11 Patriot League regular season titles, 11 Patriot League Tournament crowns, one Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament championship and advanced teams into postseason play 12 times, including 11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT.
Most recently, the Crusaders finished the regular season winning three of their last four contests and entered the Patriot League Tournament with a 12-17 slate, including 7-7 in conference play. Despite losing both point guards to season ending injuries, the team rebounded to win the 11th title in the 17-year history of the Patriot League. Gibbons turned the squad around and catapulted Holy Cross into the NCAA Tournament. Holy Cross took the Patriot League Tournament field by surprise for the title and the league's NCAA Tournament berth.
The six-time Patriot League Coach of the Year has steered the Crusaders to no less than 15 20-win seasons, including a string of nine consecutive 20-win seasons between 1994-95 and 2002-03.
Not only is Gibbons the winningest women's basketball coach in Holy Cross history, but in terms of sheer number of wins and winning percentage ranks second among coaches of all Crusader teams throughout history.
During his tenure a pair of his athletes have been recognized as All-America honorable mentions and eight have earned at least a share of 11 Patriot League MVP awards.
Among the 20-win seasons, Patriot League success and NCAA Tournaments, the 1990-91 season was the Crusaders' best in history. Not only did Gibbons pilot Holy Cross to an unblemished 12-0 conference slate for the regular season championship, his squad then tore through the Patriot League Tournament for that crown as well. After earning an at-large berth to the 1991 NCAA Tournament, the Crusaders upset Maryland 81-74 for the school's first NCAA Tournament victory in history and finished the season with a school record 25 wins (25-6). That season Gibbons also earned his first of an eventual six Patriot League coaching honors.
His athletes have also been successful off the court as each woman who has competed four years for Gibbons has earned her collegiate degree. In fact, in 2005 Holy Cross was one of only three teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field with a 100-percent graduation rate. With 15 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections in 22 years, Gibbons' athletes have garnered three Patriot League Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors and five Patriot League Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades.
Off the court, Holy Cross received the 2006 Boston Final Four Committee's community outreach award for its work at Mercy Center, a school for he physically and mentally challenged.
Gibbons tipped-off his coaching career as an assistant coach at his prep alma mater, Doherty High School (Mass.) in 1979-80. He then spent one season (1980-81) at Clark University (Mass.) before acting as the Holy Cross men's assistant coach for four seasons (1981-82 through 1984-85).
A native of Worcester, Mass., Gibbons was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.