INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn has been named to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, it was announced last weekend while Dunn was coaching the East All-Stars in the WNBA All-Star Game. Dunn heads a class of six inductees who will be formally inducted into the WBHOF on June 14, 2014 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Dunn’s career spans 43 years since she assumed head coaching duties at Austin Peay State University in 1970. Dunn had politicked for a women’s basketball program during her undergraduate years at Tennessee-Martin, from where she graduated in 1969. She earned a master’s degree from UT-Knoxville a year later and by the following fall, she was coaching at Austin Peay.
Since that time, Dunn has been a trailblazer in the sport – winning games, earning championships and growing the sport from its infancy even before the national passing of Title IX legislation in 1972. Her induction into the WBHOF follows her championship season with the Fever in 2012, and a slew of related hall of fame inductions. She has earned induction into athletics halls of fame at her alma mater (2010) and three universities at which she has coached – Purdue (2012), Miami (2003) and Austin Peay (1982). She was an inductee into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, both in 2010.
“I’m thrilled and honored,” said Dunn, who also has twice been the runner-up for WNBA Coach of the Year accolades. “I am looking forward to sharing this moment with my current and former players, assistants, family and friends.”
“It’s overwhelming, it’s humbling, it’s a tremendous honor,” she added. “Some of my colleagues and peers are already in the basketball Hall of Fame and to be able to join them is a wonderful moment for me.”
Dunn, 66, is currently in her sixth year with the Fever and her ninth year as a WNBA head coach, counting three years as head coach and GM with an expansion Seattle franchise in its first seasons from 2000-02. She is the winningest coach in Fever history (111-76) and ranks seventh in all-time WNBA coaching wins (144).
Among women, Dunn’s sixth straight season as head coach in the league makes her the longest-tenured female coach in the WNBA. Her 144 regular season coaching wins are second among women to Anne Donovan and her 18 playoff victories are more than any female coach. Dunn, Donovan and Cheryl Reeve are the only female head coaches ever to win a WNBA title.
In her past six seasons as a WNBA head coach, Dunn boasts the WNBA’s longest active streak without a losing record, just one year shy of coaching streaks by Van Chancellor (1997-03) and Donovan (1991-97).
With Indiana, she has guided the Fever to three trips to the conference finals and a pair of appearances in the WNBA Finals, reaching the playoffs in each of five seasons at the helm.
Overall, her coaching resume includes 37 years as a head coach, nearly 1,100 games coached and currently 654 total college and pro victories through five different decades. She spent 25 seasons on the college sidelines before embarking on a pro career during the 1996-97 season with the now-defunct American Basketball League (ABL). She has spent the past 18 years as a scout, assistant coach or head coach in the pros.
Prior to her six-year stint with the Fever, she was perhaps best known as the architect of the Purdue University women’s basketball program, guiding the Boilermakers for nine seasons and collecting three Big Ten conference titles. She led the Old Gold-and-Black to seven NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet Sixteen appearances and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. She earned a 206-68 record and catapulted the school among the elite women’s programs in the country.
She boasts a .635 winning percentage (447-257) at four different schools. She left three of those – Austin Peay, Miami and Purdue – as the winningest coach in program history. She also led Mississippi to a 25-15 mark in 1977-78 while being named the Mississippi Coach of the Year.
Within the quarter of a century that she coached at the college level, she was a longtime chair of the Kodak All-America Selection Committee (1982-89) and the president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 1984-85. She was an assistant coach with USA Basketball teams from 1990 to 1995, including a gold-medal USA team in the 1990 World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and a bronze-medal USA team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Dunn resides in Dresden, Tenn., in the same home where she grew up and attended high school. She has dedicated the Fever’s 2013 season to her mother, LaRue, who passed away last December.
It was an instructor from her junior high school years in Florence, Ala., though, who Dunn gives credit for inspiring her career. Noona Kennard, herself a pioneer in girls athletics and an inductee in the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, was Dunn’s physical education coach/instructor. “It wasn’t always popular for females to be so competitive in those days,” said Dunn, “but she inspired me to pursue a career in sports.”
A WNBA playoff participant in eight straight seasons and nine times since 2002, the Indiana Fever became the champion of women’s professional basketball after defeating the Minnesota Lynx for the 2012 WNBA Championship. The Fever is the only team in WNBA history to record seven 20-win seasons during an 8-year span, a current streak that dates to 2005. During that time, the Fever has reached at least the Eastern Conference Finals five times while appearing in the WNBA Finals in 2009 and 2012. Indiana hosts the East-leading Chicago Sky on Saturday, August 3 (7:00 p.m.). For 2013 season ticket information, visit FeverBasketball.com or call (317) 917-2528. FeverBasketball.com