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Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Black coaches to watch in the NCAA women’s tournament — Andscape

Get This Before It Disappears!


Get This Before It Disappears!

Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Alex Simmons has been a champion at every level, and at every position, she’s ever held on a basketball team. 

In high school, she won three Tennessee state championships. As a member of the Lady Vols, she won two national championships. As an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State, she was part of a staff that won multiple Sun Belt Conference titles.

Since becoming a head coach at Gardner-Webb in 2018, however, Simmons had yet to cut down a net of her own. 

At the beginning of the 2022-23 season, Simmons had each of her players write down a goal. That assignment extended to the coaching staff, including Simmons.

Simmons’ goal for the season: Win the Big South.

Simmons and her team went on to not only win both the Big South regular-season title for the first time since 2009-2010 and the Big South tournament for the first time since 2011, they did so without losing a single conference game.

By the time Gardner-Webb hoisted the Big South trophy and punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament, it had finished a perfect 21-0 against conference competition.

Gardner-Webb will look to make more history in the upcoming NCAA tournament, which begins Wednesday. A victory in the tournament would mark the program’s first win in the NCAA tournament.

Said Simmons: “I think we still have that ‘not done yet’ mentality.” 

This year’s tournament will feature Black head coaches who, like Simmons, will be looking to make their own March Madness history. Andscape has compiled a complete list of the Black head coaches in this year’s tournament.

Let the games begin.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley leads her team against the Tennessee Lady Vols in the third quarter during the championship game of the SEC tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 5 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Dawn Staley, South Carolina

Record: 32-0

Seed: No. 1

Opponent: No. 16 Norfolk State

For a second consecutive year, Dawn Staley will lead her team into the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.The Gamecocks haven’t lost a game all season and will be the favorites to repeat as champions. Last year Staley made history as the first Black coach in Division I to win multiple national championships in women’s basketball. The SEC Coach of the Year will look to join an elite company — only three other coaches in NCAA history have won three or more championships.

Notre Dame guard Olivia Miles (left) with head coach Niele Ivey (right) during the game against Florida State at Joyce Center on Jan. 26 in South Bend, Indiana.

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Niele Ivey, Notre Dame

Season Record: 25-5

Seed: No. 3

Opponent: No. 14 Southern Utah

Notre Dame will make its second-straight appearance in the NCAA tournament under Niele Ivey. The ACC Coach of the Year, Ivey made history this season when she led her team to a regular-season conference title, becoming the first Black head coach in ACC history to do so. Ivey has had to deal with some tough blows to her rotation this season, beginning with the loss of sharpshooting guard Dara Mabrey to a knee injury in January. The status of star point guard Olivia Miles remains uncertain after she sustained a knee injury in late February.

Arizona head coach Adia Barnes (left) huddles with her team during the game against UCLA at McKale Center on Feb. 24, 2022, in Tucson, Arizona.

Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

Adia Barnes, Arizona

Season Record: 21-9

Seed: No. 7

Opponent: No. 10 West Virginia

Behind a fifth-straight 20-win season, Adia Barnes and the Wildcats are tournament-bound – their third consecutive appearance. The last time Arizona made three consecutive appearances in the tournament was 2002-05. Barnes, who became the fifth Black head coach to appear in the women’s national championship game in 2021, will try and put together another historic run this postseason.

Norfolk State head coach Larry Vickers led his team to victory over Howard to win the MEAC tournament semifinals at Norfolk Scope Arena on March 11 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Larry Vickers, Norfolk State

Season Record: 26-6

Seed: No. 16

Opponent: No. 1 South Carolina

Norfolk State is appearing in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 21 years. Behind Larry Vickers, the Spartans put together one of their best seasons in school history, winning their second straight MEAC regular-season title and second ever MEAC tournament title. Norfolk State’s 26 victories this season are the most for the Spartans during the Division I era. Vickers was named the MEAC Coach of the Year.

Gardner-Webb head coach Alex Simmons reacts to a call during the Big South tournament championship game against High Point on March 5 at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alex Simmons, Gardner-Webb

Season Record: 29-4

Seed: No. 15

Opponent: No. 2 Utah

Alex Simmons, the Coach of the Year in the Big South, became the first Black head coach to win a Big South title since Charlene Curtis, whom Simmons called a mentor. After putting together the best season in Big South history, Simmons and her veteran-led Gardner-Webb team will try to create more magic in the tournament.

Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks cuts down the net after the team’s win against Louisville in the ACC tournament championship game at Greensboro Coliseum on March 5 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Kenny Brooks, Virginia Tech

Season Record: 27-4

Seed: No. 1

Opponent: No. 16 Chattanooga

Kenny Brooks continues to raise the bar every season in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech returns to the NCAA tournament for a third straight year after winning its first ACC championship in school history. Brooks became the first Black head coach to win an ACC women’s basketball tournament title. Virginia Tech’s 27 total wins and 14 conference wins this season are both program records. The Hokies will be a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history.

Duke head coach Kara Lawson (right) talks to guard Shayeann Day-Wilson (left) during the game against Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena on Feb. 19 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

G Fiume/Getty Images

Kara Lawson, Duke

Season Record: 25-6

Seed: No. 3

Opponent: No. 14 Iona

Kara Lawson makes her first appearance in the NCAA tournament as a head coach. She leads a Duke team that has surprised many this season by finishing third in the ACC regular season after being picked to finish seventh. Under Lawson, the Blue Devils have built an identity as one of the top defensive teams in the country. This will be the program’s first appearance in the tournament since 2018.

Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin (left) talks to forward Snudda Collins (right) during a timeout against Texas A&M in the second quarter of the SEC tournament quarterfinals at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 3 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Yolett McPhee-McCuin, Ole Miss

Season Record: 23-8

Seed: No. 8

Opponent: No. 9 Gonzaga

Yolett McPhee-McCuin and her program took another leap this season. The Rebels’ 11 SEC wins were their highest total since 1992. With McPhee-McCuin at the helm, Ole Miss has now put together back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1993-95. The Rebels will be making their second consecutive appearance in the tournament, the first time for the program since 2004-05.

East Carolina head coach Kim McNeill instructs her team during a game against Memphis in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament on March 8 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Kim McNeill, East Carolina

Season Record: 23-9

Seed: No. 13

Opponent: No. 4 Texas

What a year it has been for Kim McNeill, the AAC Coach of the Year, and her East Carolina team. The Pirates were picked to finish last in the conference at the beginning of the season, and ended the year as the conference champions. McNeill, who notched her first winning season since taking over ECU in 2019, is the first Black head coach to win an AAC women’s basketball tournament title. ECU’s 11 conference wins were the most since 2014-15 and their 23 total wins are the most since 2009-2010.

Iona head coach Billi Chambers calls out during the second half against Manhattan in the championship of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament on March 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Billi Chambers, Iona

Season Record: 23-6

Seed: No. 14

Opponent: No. 3 Duke

Billi Chambers, the MAAC Coach of the Year, will be making her second appearance in the NCAA tournament as the head coach of Iona after she led the Gaels to both a conference regular season and tournament championships. Iona tied the program record for its most conference wins in a season. Iona’s two appearances in the tournament have both come during Chambers’ tenure with the Gaels.

Southern head coach Carlos Funchess calls a play during the first half against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the championship of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament March 11 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Butch Dill/AP Photo

Carlos Funchess, Southern

Season Record: 18-14

Seed: No. 16

Opponent: No. 16 Sacred Heart

Carlos Funchess and Southern are dancing after an impressive championship run in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, which included unseating reigning champion Jackson State on a fourth-quarter buzzer-beater in the semifinals. It’s the Lady Jaguars’ first tournament appearance since 2019 and Funchess’ second appearance as the head coach. The SWAC is still looking for its first ever win in tournament history. The Lady Jaguars have a chance to make history in the First Four.


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