Hatchell inducted into Naismith HOF

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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports NetworkUNC

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield Symphony Hall on Sunday.

Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown & Hall of Fame player Nancy Lieberman presented Hatchell during the ceremony.

“This is absolutely incredible,” Hatchell said when she stepped up to the stage to acknowledge her recognition and entrance into the Hall.

“This class has been so much fun to spend time with them, and I am so humbled and honored to be here.”

Hatchell was part of the Class of 2013 inductees that included nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton; seven-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino; four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian; five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley; five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis; four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King; three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell; ABA legend Roger Brown; early African-American pioneer Dr. E.B. Henderson; Brazilian scoring machine Oscar Schmidt; six-time NBA All-Star Richard Guerin and former President of USA Basketball and NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik.

Hatchell acknowledged many family, friends, coaches, staff and players and specifically highlighted former coaches Pat Summit (Tennessee) and the late Kay Yow (NC State) for their role in being a part of her career.

“People never understood why Kay and I were such good friends because she was at NC State and I was at North Carolina, and as you know, (they) were our number one competitors,” Hatchell said.

“Kay was my best friend and I miss her very much.”

The upcoming 2013-14 season will be Hatchell’s 28th season in Chapel Hill and her 39th overall as a head coach.

Hatchell’s career record of 908-321 gives her more wins than any other active women’s coach.

With a 636-241 mark at North Carolina, she also stands as one of only three coaches, along with Kay Yow and Debbie Ryan, to reach the 600-win mark at an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) school.

Beyond the sheer magnitude of total wins accumulated, Hatchell’s list of credentials include induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004, being been named National Coach of the Year three times, and leading teams to at least 20 wins in a season on 29 different occasions.

While Hatchell stands alongside others in many categories, she is part of an exclusive club that features only one member.

When the Tar Heels defeated Louisiana Tech to win the 1994 NCAA Championship, Hatchell became the first and only coach to lead teams to national championships at the AIAW, NAIA and NCAA levels.

Those titles – the first two coming at Francis Marion – are the crown jewels in one of the most decorated coaching careers in women’s basketball history.

With the nation’s top recruiting class coming in, it is highly likely that Hatchell will continue to accumulate more career wins at North Carolina while the Tar Heels will strive to work towards earning another national title under her leadership.