CHARLESTON, S.C. - College of Charleston head coach Nancy Wilson will retire as the winningest women's basketball coach in school history. Wilson, who coached at CofC for 17 years and 30 total years, is 18th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches with 542 victories.
On Saturday Feb. 18, family, friends, alumni and former players came together to honor Wilson and her contributions to the College of Charleston and the game of women's basketball.
"This is truly a special day in recognition of one of the College of Charleston's most outstanding people," Director of Athletic Joe Hull said. "Nancy Wilson is a first class outstanding basketball coach. When I think about Nancy Wilson I think about a teacher, a loyal friend and a good person."
Special guests that spoke during the recognition included Hull as well as South Carolina Senator John Land, former CofC men's basketball coach John Kresse, Tennessee Women's Director of Athletics Joan Cronan and former CofC student-athlete Scooter Barnette.
In addition to the speakers, a video was shown of coaches congratulating Wilson, including Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma, Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt and North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell.
After the speakers, Wilson was presented with a retirement gift, a golf cart for her beach house in Myrtle Beach. Wilson also got plenty of chocolate chip cookies to complete her "Chocolate Chip Cookie Tour."
Chocolate Chip Cookie Story
Debbie Antonelli and Coach Nancy Wilson are good friends, and they were having lunch near the start of the season and talking about Nancy's last year, since she is retiring at the end of this year. A lot of times coaches receive gifts from other coaches along the way in their final season, but what Nancy wanted was simple. She told Debbie all I want is chocolate chip cookies. So Debbie has dubbed this season the "Chocolate Chip Cookie Tour."
Almost every coach this season has given Coach Wilson cookies. Wes Moore, the head coach at Chattanooga said he was going to buy her a car, but all she wanted was cookies.
Antonelli met Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields cookies and she sent Wilson a tin of cookies with a personal note inside.
During an ESPN3 interview with Robin Muller prior to Wilson's last home game, Muller presented Wilson with cookies on behalf of ESPN.
The NCAA will be running a photo feature of Wilson in this year's final four program with a picture of her dunking a cookie in a glass of milk.
Wilson has had a very successful coaching career and has made a lasting impact on many people and a great contribution to the game of women's basketball.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT COFC HEAD COACH NANCY WILSON
"Nancy has had a very long and successful career. She has given greatly to our great game. In a world, sometimes darkened by sporting news, Nancy has been a beacon of light. Many lives were changed through sport during her illustrious coaching career and she will be greatly missed." - Nevada Head Coach Jane Albright
"I don't know if there is anyone I respect more than Nancy Wilson, because of who she is. We have coached against each other for many years and have a great relationship. She is a great person and coach and cares deeply about her players and staff. She is the type of coach you would want your daughter to play for. She is a tremendous mentor, has such high integrity and will be missed." - North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell
"Coach Wilson has had a fulfilling career. She has been an inspiration as a teacher, coach and friend to so many of her student-athletes and coaching colleagues. Nancy's involvement in the growth of the women's game has been met with integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the sport, the players she's coached, and the opponents she has faced. Nancy will be missed on the sideline, but her contribution to the game as a person and coach will be remembered by those of us fortunate to know her. Nancy, thank you for the positive example you've set and maintained throughout your coaching tenure. May the 2011-12 season be your best ever!" - Belmont Abbey College Head Coach and Former WNBA Assistant Coach Susan Yow
"Nancy has been a huge mentor for me in coaching and as a person. She has such high integrity and has influenced so many people in a positive way. She has made her mark on players and coaches and everyone she has touched will miss her very much." - Western Carolina Head Coach Karen Middleton
"Nancy is a legend in the game of women's basketball. She has influenced so many athletes and coaches. She is a positive role model and someone with high integrity." - Miami (Ohio) Head Coach and Former South Carolina Assistant Coach Maria Fantanarosa
"She had a tremendous impact on me as a player. She taught me many life lessons far beyond the game of basketball. She has always been a great teacher and someone that has provided a model for the way things should be done." - Western Carolina Assistant Coach and Former South Carolina Women's Basketball Player Tréka McMillian
"The cornerstone of Coach Nancy Wilson's career has been that of service to others through the game of basketball. She has coached winning teams and championship-caliber young women at South Carolina, the American Basketball League and at the College of Charleston. Calling Coach Wilson a teacher is the highest compliment I can pay to her legacy. She leaves the game better than when she started and for that, I am personally thankful and grateful to have crossed paths with and to have learned from her for many decades." - ESPN Women's College Basketball Analyst Debbie Antonelli