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WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — UNCW women’s basketball coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who piloted the Seahawks to back-to-back appearances in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), has resigned, Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass announced Tuesday.
The former college hoops great, Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA Most Valuable Player has accepted the head coaching position to Texas Southern University, pending approval by school officials. TSU is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) located in Houston.
Associate Head Coach Jimmy Garrity has been named interim head coach. A national search for Cooper-Dyke’s permanent replacement will begin immediately.
“We appreciate everything Cynthia has done for the program and wish her the very best as she returns home,” said Bass. “She coached our teams to over 40 wins in two seasons and a pair of post-season berths. I’m sure she will continue that legacy of success in Houston.”
Cooper-Dyke was named the ninth head coach in UNCW’s history on May 10, 2010, following a five-year stint at Prairie View A&M. She entered collegiate coaching after completing a professional career overseas and with the Houston Comets of the WNBA.
Most recently, Cooper-Dyke recently led the Seahawks to a 20-13 record and a berth in the 2012 WNIT. In Cooper-Dyke’s two seasons, the Seahawks have compiled a 44-22 record, including a 28-13 ledger in the Colonial Athletic Association. UNCW tied for second place in the 2011 CAA standings and tied for fourth place in 2012.
In her first season with the Seahawks in 2010-11, Cooper-Dyke guided the Seahawks to a school-record 24 victories and their first post-season appearance with an at-large berth in the 2011 WNIT. UNCW was victorious in its first post-season contest, recording a 63-54 victory over Richmond, before falling to Eastern Michigan in the second round. .
As a result, Cooper-Dyke was named 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year, capping a memorable year for the veteran coach. Before the season began, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
At Prairie View A&M, Cooper-Dyke coached the Panthers to their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season title, SWAC Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth in 2006-07. PVAMU repeated as SWAC regular season champions in 2008 and 2009 and the 2008 club made its first appearance in the WNIT.
A native of Chicago, Cooper-Dyke was a four-year standout at Southern California, where she sparked the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984. She then began her professional playing career overseas and competed10 seasons in Spain and Italy before returning to the United States in 1997 to play with the Houston Comets of the newly-formed WNBA.
Cooper-Dyke led the Comets to four consecutive WNBA championships and was named WNBA Finals MVP four times. She was voted the league’s MVP in 1997 and 1998 and was a four-time WNBA All-Star, retiring in 2000.
In seven seasons as a head coach at UNCW and PVAMU, Cooper-Dyke has amassed a 130-94 overall record and a 92-39 mark in conference games.
TSU finished with a 5-26 record in 2011-12 under Coach Yolanda Wells-Broughton, who resigned on April 6 after four campaigns with the Lady Tigers.