Joan Bonvicini, one of the most successful coaches in women's collegiate basketball history and former coach at the University of Arizona and Long Beach State, was named head coach of the Seattle University women's basketball team on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.
The veteran head coach is in her fourth season at Seattle University behind an all-time 661-361 (.647) record (as of Feb. 27, 2013) and is currently 11th on the NCAA Division I all-time wins list for women's college basketball. She became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to reach the 600-win mark in February 2007. The Redhawk head coach also boasts 21 20-win seasons over her historic coaching career.
Bonvicini led the Redhawks to one of the most successful seasons in program history during the 2011-12 season, notching their first 20-win season as an NCAA Division I program, as well as leading them to their first Division I postseason appearance (and wins) in school history. Seattle U made it to the semifinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational before falling to the University of Northern Iowa, 68-64.
Seattle U showed significant improvement during the 2010-11 season, earning eight victories against a tough schedule. The team earned victories at Portland and at Long Beach State as well as home wins over Idaho, Navy, and Eastern Washington. Behind the work of Bonvicini, the Redhawks also hosted the Seattle U Thanksgiving Tournament, featuring Bowling Green, UALR, and Montana State, and the State Farm Holiday Classic, involving eventual national finalist Notre Dame, Elite Eight team Gonzaga, and Loyola Marymount.
Bonvicini helped guide the Redhawks through their first full season at the NCAA Division I level. During the season, she coached Seattle U to six DI victories in 2009-10. Under the first season head coach's tutelage senior Ashley Brown to become the most prolific three-point shooter in SU history, behind 87 three's in a single season. Brown was also named MVP of the Seattle U Thanksgiving Tournament, to the Longwood All-Tournament Team and to the All-Independent Second Team. Fellow senior Cassidy Murillo earned Seattle U Thanksgiving All-Tournament Team honors and junior Tatiana Heck was named to the All-Independent Second Team, as well.
In addition to their improvement and growth as a reclassifying institution on the court, the Redhawks saw great success in the classroom. Seattle U was named to the WBCA Top 25 Team Honor Roll among all NCAA DI institutions. The Redhawks were ranked No. 20 for their team cumulative grade point average of 3.341.
Prior to joining Seattle U, she coached 13 All-Americans and two former US Olympic Team members. While at Arizona, 54 student-athletes earned Pacific-10 accolades and 21 earned conference academic honors.
At Arizona, Bonvicini accumulated a 287-223 (.563) record over 17 seasons. She led the Wildcats to nine postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournament berths and the WNIT Championship in 1996. She was head coach at Arizona from 1991 to 2008.
Bonvicini is in five halls of fame: the Southern Connecticut State Hall of Fame (1989), the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (1994), the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame (1996), the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame (2005), and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2007).
She started her head coaching career at Long Beach State in 1979, posting a 325-71 record (.821) in her 12 seasons with the 49ers. Long Beach State won 24 games or more every season with Bonvicini at the helm. The 49ers earned ten conference championships and ten straight berths in the NCAA Tournament, including Final Four appearances in 1987 and 1988.
With the 49ers, she was named the 1981 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year. Following the 1985-86 season she was named the Region VIII and PCAA Coach of the Year. In 1984, she was named WCAA Coach of the Year and has also been honored by the city of Long Beach as their 1989 "Citizen of the Year".
The East Coast native spent two seasons as an assistant at Long Beach State before being promoted to head coach at age 25. Prior to joining the 49ers, she began her coaching career as an assistant at Cal Poly - Pomona in Southern California.
A guard during her playing days, Bonvicini helped Southern Connecticut State earn third-and fourth-place finishes in the AIAW Championships. In 1975, she was named Region I-A MVP and an honorable mention All-American. She was a finalist for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.