Public Invited To Meet Women's Basketball Coach LaVonda Wagner On Monday, May 2

April 28, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's Department of Athletics invites the public to attend an open house on Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. in Gill Coliseum to welcome head women's basketball coach LaVonda Wagner to Corvallis.

The event begins with a question and answer session that will be hosted by Mike Parker and Jon Warren. Wagner's family as well as members of the women's basketball team will also be in attendance. Afterwards, Wagner will mingle with the public and sign autographs. Light food and drink will be served.

Wagner, formerly of Duke University, was named the fourth women's basketball head coach in school history on April 15, replacing Judy Spoelstra who was relieved of duties after leading the Beavers for the past 10 years.

'We are extremely excited to get a person with LaVonda's credentials,' said De Carolis. 'When you meet her, she lights up the room, and I felt within the first minute of the interview that we had someone special here.'

'I'm very excited about being the next head coach at Oregon State University,' said Wagner. 'I embrace the opportunity to coach in a prestigious conference like the Pac-10.

'I'm honored to be a part of the Oregon State University family and to be involved in the lives of the student-athletes at OSU. I look forward to continue bringing in outstanding young women to the university.'

A native of Bristol, VA, Wagner spent the last three seasons (2002-05) as an assistant coach at Duke University, where she was heavily involved in recruiting, scouting, and working with the Blue Devils' post players.

In her time at Duke, Wagner helped the Blue Devils bring in three top five national recruiting classes, including the top recruiting class in 2003 and the second-best recruiting class in 2005. Duke advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in each of Wagner's three seasons and earned a trip to the 2003 NCAA Final Four.

Prior to joining Duke's staff, Wagner spent eight seasons at University of Illinois (1994-02), where she played a large role in the rise of Illini basketball. She was instrumental in garnering one of the top five recruiting classes in 2000, while she attracted many of the top players from Illinois and recruited on a national scale.

'She has been mentored by some outstanding coaches in Theresa Grentz (Illinois) and Gail Goestenkors (Duke),' said De Carolis.

Grentz, the head coach at Illinois, is approaching win number 600 and is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, while Goestenkors, the head coach at Duke, has amassed over 300 career victories.

Wagner began her stint at Illinois in 1994 as an assistant coach and four years later she was promoted to recruiting coordinator. After the completion of the 1998-99 season, Wagner was promoted once again to associate head coach where she spent four seasons (1998-02).

'One of the things that impressed me, was the fact that she made the move from Illinois as associate head coach, to going back to being an assistant at Duke to get a different perspective,' said De Carolis. 'She's had a meticulous game plan to get to being a head coach.'

Prior to arriving at Illinois, Wagner spent six seasons at East Tennessee State (1988-94) where she served as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Before joining the basketball ranks, Wagner coached volleyball at ETSU from 1986-88.

A successful student-athlete as well, Wagner earned National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-America honors in basketball and volleyball in 1986 at Mars Hill College in North Carolina. On Oct. 23, 1998, Wagner was inducted into the Mars Hill Hall of Fame.

Wagner earned a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in recreation from Mars Hill in 1986 and a master's degree in education with an emphasis in athletic administration from East Tennessee State in 1988.

An acclaimed public speaker, Wagner has spent time talking at Rotary, Kiwanis, high school clinics, elementary schools, DARE programs and other civic organizations.

'She brings a very dynamic character in recruiting,' said De Carolis. 'She will do a great job in the community of increasing support for Oregon State women's basketball and we expect big things down the line as we go through this journey together.'

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