WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- As a player Cynthia Cooper-Dyke did it all. She won two national championships at Southern California. She won four WNBA title with the Houston Comets. She's a gold medal winner at the Olympics as well.
Monday she reached another milestone. She became part of the UNCW Seahawk family.
"I will teach these players everything I know, and one thing I know is about winning," Cooper-Dyke said at an afternoon news conference. "I know how to win. I know how to win at life. I know how to win on the basketball court. These young ladies need to learn how to win on the basketball court. When they leave UNC Wilmington they need to know to win to be successful at life."
For UNCW Athletic Director Kelly Mehrtens this is the second big name hire in the last month at the university. Buzz Peterson took over the men's basketball program in April.
For Cooper-Dyke UNCW is a fresh start. The Prairie View University women's basketball team is currently on NCAA probation.
"The mishap happened my first year," Cooper-Dyke said about what the NCAA called "major violations," including cash payments to players, free tickets for players to Houston Comets games and off-season practice violations among others. "I was a rookie coach. It hasn't happened since and will never happen again. I have immersed myself in the bylaws and the rules and the exceptions and the new legislation. I have a little black eye there, but luckily a little ice will heal that."
Cooper-Dyke replaces Ann Hancock, who coached at UNCW for ten years.
Julia Finlay will be one of the returning players. Finlay told WWAY she's thrilled with the coaching choice.
"I was just so happy," Finlay said. "She's been my idol. I watched her growing up. She's been my mom's favorite player, so I know a lot about her."
Cooper-Dyke agreed to a four-year contract at UNCW. Her first year salary will be $100,000. It will increase $5,000 each year. There are incentives in the contract for CAA coach of the year, NCAA coach of the year, conference championships and post-season play.
At Prairie View Cooper-Dyke had a losing season her first season. She finished her tenure there with four consecutive winning seasons.
Cooper-Dyke was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. She'll be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.