Former Kansas women’s basketball coach Marian Washington, who was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004, is one of 12 people named finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hall announced Friday to coincide with NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gene Keady, a native of Kansan who was a letter-winner in three sports at Kansas State and went on to coach 25 seasons at Purdue, is also a finalist, as is longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who served as a volunteer assistant coach Brown’s KU staff men’s basketball team during the 1986-87 season while on sabbatical from Pomona-Pitzer.
Washington, Keady and Popovich as well as nine others (Jennifer Azzi, Gene Bess, Gary Blair, Pau Gasol, Becky Hammon, David Hixon, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade), will have their names in front of 24 members. Committee. A finalist must receive a minimum of 18 committee votes to gain entry into Naismith Hall.
The nominees for the August ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts will be announced on April 1 at the Final Four in Houston. The dedication weekend will be August 11-12 at the Hall in Springfield.
Washington has achieved a lot
Washington – she went 560-363 in 31 years (1973-2004) coaching the KU women’s team – is the winningest women’s hoop coach in KU program history.
After her freshman season in 1974, Washington started KU’s women’s track and field program and served as the head coach during her freshman year. She was also the first athletic director for women’s sports at KU (1974-79).
Washington led the Jayhawks to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. His teams have reached the Sweet 16 twice. He also led KU to two WNIT appearances and three AIAW Sectional Finals, claiming seven league championships and six conference tournament titles.
Washington was awarded conference coach of the year three times (1992, ’96, ’97).
Washington received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Coaches Association (BCA) in 2003. She was named BCA Coach of the Year in 1992 and ’96. Washington was the first woman to serve as BCA president, as well as the first person to serve consecutive terms as BCA president.
An outstanding player from West Chester State University, Washington, played on the women’s national championship first team. Her undefeated West Chester State team won the National Women’s Invitational Tournament in 1969.
Washington, born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, became one of the first two African-American women to compete internationally in basketball at the 1971 World Championships. She was the first black woman to coach a U.S. team in international competition in the 1982 R. William Jones Cup.
She also worked as an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning Team USA team at the 1996 Olympics. She was the first black woman to coach an Olympic women’s basketball staff from the United States.
In January 2020, Kansas Athletics announced the creation of the Marian E. Washington Trailblazer Series, which according to KU, “recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of African Americans who helped shape the Jayhawk program. Each February, in conjunction with Black History Month, the feat chronicles several prominent African Americans and their impact on the Kansas Athletics.
Washington told WIBW.com several years ago, “I don’t think I’ve been someone who pats me on the back a lot. I certainly took great pride in the accomplishments that myself and others who were there (at KU) to help support me and work with me, but I never had time to think about just one milestone. And now that I’m older, much older, I feel really comfortable looking back and I can at least appreciate my commitment, the vision that I had for this program here at the University of Kansas.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard, who played for Washington at KU, told SI.com in her senior year of college, “I have no role model other than Coach Washington. He made me believe that I can accomplish anything if I work. She will also be graduating early when many of my friends didn’t even think about going to college because she made me feel it was worth it.
Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self spoke about Washington in 2020.
“He’s influenced this sport in ways that I’m sure are bigger than I could ever imagine,” Self said.
Keady played at K-State, coached at Purdue
Gene Keady – who graduated from Larned (Kansas) High School and went on to become a four-sport athlete at Garden City Junior College and a letter-winner in football, baseball, and track and field at Kansas State, where he is a 1958 graduate – is perhaps best known for his 25 years (1980-2005) as the men’s basketball head coach at Purdue University.
Keady’s record at Purdue was 512-270. His teams have won six Big Ten Conference titles with 18 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Keady was named Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times (tied with Bob Knight for most coach of the year honors in conference history) and national coach of the year five times.
At Kansas State, Keady was a letter-winner in football, baseball, and track and field. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL in 1958, but his pro career ended early with a knee injury.
Keady coached basketball at Beloit High School for six seasons. He was named head coach of Hutchinson Junior College in 1966 and led the team to six championship titles and a runner-up finish in the 1973 NJCAA tournament.
After serving as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas under Hall of Famer Eddie Sutton, Keady spent two years at Western Kentucky University before transferring to Purdue. In 2004, Keady received the 36th Naismith Outstanding Contribution to Basketball Award for his “outstanding basketball sportsmanship and a lifelong dedication to the sport.”
In 2006, he won the John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” award. Keady is a member of the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame and the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
Keady was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.
“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by great student-athletes, outstanding coaches, a supportive family, and so many people with whom I would like to thank and share this award,” Keady said at the induction. “I accept this honor with appreciation for NABC and with congratulations to my fellow nominees.”
Current Purdue head coach Matt Painter, who played for Keady from 1989 to 1993, said in 2013, “In addition to being one of the greatest coaches ever, head coach Keady has been a mentor to so many men who have played for him at Purdue. His accomplishments speak for themselves and his name remains synonymous with Purdue basketball. I’m thrilled to see him receive this well-deserved honor.”
Of the group of finalists, Jerry Colangelo, president of Naismith Hall, told ESPN, “I love the class. I think this is a loaded class. … I think this is unique in that we have a lot of first-timers, and it’s unusual when someone makes it on the first ballot. But this will be one of a kind. Because there might be four or five beginners. So, I’m very excited about it.