Regardless of making a number of pivot steps all through her life, Nancy Wilson by no means stepped out of the state that helped her step into the sport of basketball. The previous Gamecock ladies’s basketball coach is a member of the 2021 College of South Carolina Athletics Corridor of Fame class.
The Lake Metropolis, S.C., native started her historic teaching profession within the Palmetto State after taking part in at Coker School in Hartsville. Nancy Wilson head shot “I’ve at all times valued the truth that I used to be in a position to coach in my dwelling state as a result of not that many individuals get to say that,” Wilson stated.
In 1976, Wilson turned the top coach on the School of Charleston, the place she had a 193-61 report and led the Cougars to a few AIAW Division II Championship appearances, making her the winningest coach in class historical past.
“We had completed very properly on the School of Charleston within the AIAW Division II, and the time was proper if I needed to attempt one other stage,” Wilson stated.
In the summertime of 1985, Wilson was named the top coach at South Carolina.
Although she confronted many challenges making an attempt to rebuild this system, Wilson was lucky to recruit expertise from inside the state, reminiscent of Columbia native and Hammond star Martha Parker. “Through the time, we have been within the strategy of rehabilitating the notion of this system, and he or she was the proper out-front individual for this as a result of she might communicate to folks of any age, and on the court docket, she might play any place,” Wilson stated. “She did an incredible quantity in the direction of transferring our program ahead.”
Different key South Carolina standouts for Wilson have been Lisa Diaz, a guard from Columbia; Beth Hunt, a ahead from Backyard Metropolis; Marsha Williams, a middle from Moncks Nook; and fellow 2021 Corridor of Fame inductee, Brantley Southers, from Columbia.
“At one time, 10 out of 12 gamers have been from the state,” Wilson stated. “I respect the truth that we have been in a position to present for folks from our state the chance to play basketball at such a excessive stage.” After the college joined the SEC in 1990, Wilson relied closely on skilled stars, reminiscent of Hartsville native Shannon “Pee Wee” Johnson.
“Shannon did not play on a extremely robust crew that was very aggressive within the SEC, and that compelled her to do extra,” Wilson remembers. “She was simply an excessive athletic expertise.” “The variety of actually good groups has developed. The variety of actually good gamers who’ve the sources to perform one thing like that has escalated a fantastic deal, as properly.”
The previous Olympic Gold medalist and present Coker School head coach nonetheless ranks third in profession factors (2,230) in Gamecock ladies’s basketball historical past.
Wilson deems the 1988 College of Alaska at Anchorage Invitational, a key turning level in her profession, when the Gamecocks beat UNLV and Western Kentucky to win the event.
“It is what moved us into the nationwide scene, making folks conscious of us,” Wilson stated. “It was the primary time we have been ever ranked.”
The 1990 transition from the Metro Convention to the Southeastern Convention was fairly the problem for Wilson, although, as a result of caliber of competitors. Nancy Wilson womens basketball “Some felt that recruiting could be simpler now that we have been within the SEC, but it surely was tough since you have been recruiting towards such confirmed winners,” Wilson stated. “It meant that night time in and night time out, you have been taking part in groups that you simply had beforehand put in your schedule as large video games. These video games have been now everyone in your schedule.”
Throughout her 12 seasons on the helm, Wilson led this system to 5 Metro Convention regular-season titles (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991) and three Metro Convention Match Championships (1986, 1988, 1989). 5 of Wilson’s groups superior to the NCAA Match (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), with the 1990 crew reaching the Candy 16.
Along with teaching within the Palmetto State, Wilson helped coach Olympic groups and World College Video games groups. She served as the top coach for the 1992 Junior Olympic Workforce in Seoul, South Korea, the place she led the crew to a silver medal. Wilson served on the choice committee for the U.S. ladies’s crew, as properly.
“I used to be at all times astounded on the quantity of expertise we had at tryouts,” she remembers. “I might simply sit there and take a look at the expertise and assume we might have so many alternative groups that would beat so many alternative nations. To journey with younger women of that caliber and watch them compete is one thing I’m very appreciative of.”
Whereas serving as the executive assistant for the 1991 World College Video games ladies’s basketball crew, Wilson was in a position to watch present Gamecock ladies’s basketball head coach Daybreak Staley.
“She was at all times a enjoyable one to look at,” Wilson recollects. “I revered her mannerisms a lot as a result of she was one among our greatest gamers on the time, but she shared the purpose guard place with anyone who had been an Olympian earlier than and was making an attempt to get again in form to be an Olympian once more. [Staley] shared that place willingly, competed exhausting, and did what was requested of her.”
Staley was an important asset in america victory over Spain within the 1991 World College Video games gold medal sport.
“That would have been a really tight sport due to Suzie McConnell, however Daybreak got here in and have become the explanation we gained that sport,” Wilson stated.
In 2003, Wilson returned to the School of Charleston and accomplished her profession in 2012, with a 542-365 report.
“I acknowledge that I’m very blessed that I used to be given the chance,” Wilson stated. “I’ve received a lot of fond recollections of relationships with gamers, assistant coaches, and followers.”
Trying again, Wilson is glad to see how ladies’s basketball has superior nationally and worldwide.
“It has grown by leaps and bounds,” stated Wilson. “The variety of actually good groups has developed. The variety of actually good gamers who’ve the sources to perform one thing like that has escalated a fantastic deal, as properly.”
Wilson now resides in Surfside Seashore, South Carolina.
Induction ceremonies will likely be held on Thursday, October 14, and the inductees can even be acknowledged at Saturday’s soccer towards Vanderbilt at Williams-Brice Stadium.