Three Olympic gold medalists, an Emmy award-winning broadcaster, a five-time national championship coach, and a two-time AIAW championship player were inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee. The six women being recognized with one of the highest honors in sports were Dawn Staley, Nikki McCray, Pam McGee, Robin Roberts, Nancy Fahey and Inge Nissen.
Staley, who was nominated in her first year of eligibility, has been an icon in women's basketball as a college, WNBA and Olympic player, and now as the head coach of the University of South Carolina. As part of the induction ceremonies, the Philadelphia native was introduced to the Rocky theme song by her college coach Debbie Ryan, formerly of the University of Virginia. While at Virginia, the point guard was a three-time Kodak All-American and is the only player in the ACC to record more than 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, 700 assists, and 400 steals. As an Olympian, Staley led the United States to gold in 1996, 2000 and 2004 and was twice named the USA Basketball Female Athelete of the Year. As a professional player, Staley helped launch the American Basketball League (A.B.L.) where she was an All-Star. Later during her WNBA career, Staley was a five time All-Star and was named to the All-Decade team.
Nikki McCray, the former Tennessee great and two-time Olympian, was welcomed into the Hall of Fame by her former coach, the legendary Pat Summitt. McCray, who now works alongside Staley as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks, was a two-time Kodak All-American and part of the Vols' national championship teams in 1987 and 1989. McCray was a three-time All-Star during her nine-year WNBA career.
In 1984 Pam McGee helped guide USA Basketball to their first gold medal during the 23rd Olympiad in Los Angeles. During her collegiate career, the former University of Southern California star, playing alongside Cynthia Cooper and Cheryl Miller, McGee helped lead a Trojan team that is widely considered one of the best of all time to back-to-back national championships in 1983 and 1984. The three time All-NCAA Team player is currently the sixth highest all-time scorer for USC with 2,214 points and the second-leading all-time rebounder with 1,255 boards. The Michigan native also helped guide Northern Flint High School to a state record 75-0 wins.
Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her contributions to women's basketball as a broadcaster. Roberts became the face and voice of our game as the host of ESPN's women's college basketball and WNBA coverage from 1996-2002. The three-time Emmy Award winner had an outstanding basketball career at Southeastern Louisiana University where she is still the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,446 points and the all-time rebounder with 1,034.
Nancy Fahey has forever left her impression on NCAA Division III basketball by winning five national championships. As the head coach at Washington University in Saint Louis, she led the Bears to four consecutive national championships from 1998-2001, including back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1999 and 2000. Over her 25-year career she has led her teams to 23 NCAA tournament appearances and has reached the Final Four 10 times. She ranks third among all active NCAA coaches with a .849 career winning percentage.
Inge Nissen helped guide Old Dominion University to the AIAW National Championship in 1979 and 1980, where she played alongside Anne Donovan and Nancy Lieberman. In 1980 she was named a Kodak All-American and finished her career as ODU's all-time leader in points with 2,647 and rebounds with 1,459. In 2006 the Denmark native was honored as one of ESPN.com's top 25 players of the pre-NCAA era.
In order to be considered for selection for induction, an individual must meet the following prerequisites:
- Player: Must be retired from the highest level of play for at least five years.
- Coach: Must have coached the women's game at least 20 years.
- Referee: Must have officiated the women's game at least 10 years
- Contributor: Must have significantly impacted the game of women's basketball.