BARRY NAMED COACH OF USA JUNIOR WORLD QUALIFYING TEAM
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Eight years after assisting the historic 1996 U.S. Olympic Team to the gold medal, University of Colorado's Ceal Barry will return to USA Basketball as head coach of the 2004 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team. USA Basketball also announced today that Barry will be assisted on the sidelines by 1984 Olympic gold medalist Lea Henry (Georgia State) and 1999 NCAA championship head coach Carolyn Peck (Florida). The coaching staff was selected by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, chaired by University of Texas Senior Associate Athletics Director for Men's and Women's Athletics Chris Plonsky.
Trials to select the 18-and-under squad, comprised of U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 1986, will be held June 20-23 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Finalists will regroup in Denver for training camp July 22-28, where the eventual 12-member team will be announced. Following three days of training in Florida at a site to be determined July 29-31, the 2004 USA Junior National Team will travel to Mayagquez, Puerto Rico, for the Aug. 4-8 FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament. The top three finishing teams will earn qualifying berths to the 2005 FIBA Junior World Championship, slated to be played in Tunisia in July.
"I'm excited about this," said Barry. "I think that representing your country in any competition is quite an honor. It's been awhile since I've had a USA Basketball shirt on and been overseas coaching a team. This particular junior team will be a challenge. I know this competition has been a challenge for us at this age level. I've got a great staff and I know we have a tremendous pool of players to choose from. That will be the first step towards qualifying to play in the (FIBA Junior) World Championship."
"We are thrilled with this coaching staff," said Committee chair Plonsky. "Ceal is a vaunted and veteran coach in this profession and someone who has not only been long-committed to her institution, but someone who continues to be very involved in USA Basketball and I think we're seeing that at every level. Our assistant coaches are people who are very respected in the industry. The fact that they've all committed part of their summer, they're taking time out of their schedule and their recruiting commitments this summer to coach what will be our future talent in USA Basketball, speaks volumes about women's basketball, as well as the people in the leadership positions within the sport."
The U.S. juniors boast a 19-2 record at this particular qualifying event, which has been held every four years dating back to 1988, and have captured two golds and two silver medals. In 2000, at the most recent Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, a USA Basketball team piloted by University of Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and featuring players like Alana Beard and Diana Taurasi collected the gold medal with a perfect 5-0 record.
"This is more of a developmental team and program and the competition is a major competition," commented Barry on the challenges of putting young team together for international competition. "Kids coming out of high school need quite a bit more teaching and a lot more mentoring, a little more supervision. The Olympians are professional players and they handle themselves in a professional manner, where high school players are still learning the whole procedure. It'll be shifting gears a little bit, but it will be very similar to the college level where you take kids from the high school level into the college game.
"You're on foreign soil. You don't have your local referees, the language is different, the food is different. Those adjustments will be so different for this age group. Yet, the level of competition is much more serious than any tour that any of these kids may have taken overseas with a club team. One false move and you're out of the competition, you don't win the gold medal. We are going to have to impress upon them the level of intensity that it's going to take to compete for a gold medal."
A veteran with a quarter of a century (1979-80 to present) of experience as a head coach, Barry is undertaking her eighth USA Basketball coaching assignment with the ?04 juniors. In addition to helping Stanford University's (Calif.) Tara VanDerveer guide 1996 U.S. Olympic team to an 8-0 record and the gold medal, Barry was an assistant to VanDerveer for the 1994 World Championship and Goodwill Games teams that won bronze and gold medals, respectively. Involved with USA Basketball dating back to 1987, Barry guided a pair of medal winning USA squads, the silver medal 1988 R. William Jones Cup Team and the bronze medal 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival East contingent. Additionally, she lent her expertise as an assistant to the 1993 USA Junior World Championship Team, as head coach to the 1992 USA Junior Select Team and as an assistant for the 1990 USA Junior Select Team.
After spending four years (1979-80 through 1982-83) as head coach at the University of Cincinnati (Ohio), Barry has spent the last 21 years (1983-84 to present) at Colorado where she has guided the Buffs to a 418-223 overall record for a .652 winning percentage. In her four years at Cincinnati, Barry posted an 83-42 record for a .662 winning percentage. All told, in her 25 years as a head coach, Barry has tallied an overall record of 501-265 for a .654 winning percentage.
Barry reached a pair of milestones during the 2003-04 season, during which time her Buff squad posted a 22-8 record overall, finished third in the Big 12 Conference with an 11-5 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Notching her 400th victory at the helm of CU in Boulder on Nov. 28, Barry, the winningest coach in the history of Colorado athletics, reached her 500th overall victory in CU's final home game of the season on Feb. 24.
Her tenure at CU has seen the Buffs enjoy great success, evidenced by 13 20-win seasons, 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament, including six Sweet Sixteens and a trio of Elite Eights. Her squads captured four Big Eight Conference regular season crowns (1989, 1993, 1994 and 1995), four Big Eight Tournament titles (1989, 1992, 1995 and 1996) and the 1997 Big 12 Tournament championship.
One of the highlights of her CU career came in the record-setting 1994-95 season when Colorado compiled a 30-3 overall record, including a Colorado all-sport record 25-game winning streak, its third consecutive Big Eight regular season title with a spotless 14-0 mark, as well as its third consecutive conference tournament crown. Barry's ?94-95 squad climbed as high as number two in the national rankings and earned a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it fell just three points shy of a trip to the Final Four.
Acknowledged for her triumphs on the sidelines on numerous occasions, Barry in 1994 was named the National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times and Basketball America. She is a two-time Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist (2001 and 2002), was named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) District Coach of the Year twice (1993 and 1995), and was a four-time Big Eight Conference coach of the Year honoree (1989, 1993, 1994 and 1995).
Graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1977 after spending four years as a guard for the Wildcats hoop squad, Barry attended Cincinnati as a graduate assistant for the women's basketball program during the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons before assuming head coaching duties for the Bearcats' 1979-80 season.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ceal Barry and I'm looking forward to working with her," said Henry. "I feel I can help Ceal in any way she needs help. Whether it's working with the guards or helping with game situations. The fact that I did play international basketball will help because I understand the game and the level of competition you have to play against. By being a point guard for so many years, playing for Pat (Summitt), then having the opportunity to be a head coach for 14 years, the experience factor will help.
"It brings back a lot of great memories because I was with USA Basketball for seven consecutive summers. It was a big part of my life, it really helped open a lot of doors and it was a great opportunity for me. So I'm really excited about going back and trying to help USA Basketball now from a coaching perspective. Hopefully I'll be a good role model for the young players because I did follow the same path. I had the opportunity to play every summer and compete at a high level in Division I. I'm excited about this. It's going to be a great learning experience for me also."
A veteran of 10 USA Basketball teams as a player, with this summer's assignment Henry joins her first USA Basketball team as a member of the coaching staff.
Taking over in 1994-95 a program that had seen a drought of eight losing seasons, in her fourth season, 1997-98, Henry's squad went 17-11 for the school's first winning record since the 1985-86 season. She capped the year with a 10-6 Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) record and advanced her team to the TAAC Tournament championship game.
Continuing to post winning records and improve the Lady Panther program, in 2000 Henry guided Georgia State to its first postseason berth since the 1981 AIAW Tournament. Seeing action in the 2000 Women's National Invitational Tournament, Henry's squads advanced to postseason play in each of the following three seasons. Earning the TAAC Tournament title in 2001, Georgia State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the Lady Panthers went on to capture the 2002 and 2003 Atlantic Sun Conference (the TAAC changed its name to the Atlantic Sun Conference prior to the 2001-02 season) crowns to compete in an additional two NCAA Tournaments.
In all, Henry's Georgia State's squads have compiled a 170-118 record for a .590 winning percentage. However, over the last seven seasons, Henry's winning percentage bumps up to .668 as she boasts a 139-69 record since the 1997-98 season. She has collected three conference tournament titles (2001-03), a pair of regular season championships (2000 and 2002), finished as the conference runner-up in 2001, and was tabbed as the 2000 TAAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to arriving at Georgia State, Henry spent four years as the head coach at conference rival Mercer University (Ga.), where she posted an even 55-55 record in four seasons (1990-91 through 1993-94). During her stint at Mercer, Henry led the Bears to the 1991 conference title and to a share of the 1992 crown, earning a pair TAAC Coach of the Year accolades (1990 and 1991).
During the 1989-90 season Henry served six games as the interim head coach at the University of Florida and earned a 3-3 record. In her 14-plus seasons as a head coach, Henry has tallied an overall record of 228-176 for a .564 winning percentage.
An accomplished player, Henry saw action on 10 USA Basketball squads from 1978-1984. In addition to earning the starting guard position on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team that won the gold medal, Henry earned gold at the 1979 ABAUSA International Invitational, 1983 World University Games and 1984 R. William Jones Cup. She also collected silvers at the 1982 Jones Cup, 1981 World University Games, 1978 U.S. Olympic Festival as a member of the South Team and in 1978 Henry was on the silver medal winning USA Junior National Team that played in Peru. Further, she came home with the bronze at the 1980 Jones Cup and finished fourth in the 1979 U.S. Olympic Festival.
A four-year (1980-83) letterwinner at the University of Tennessee, Henry was tabbed 1983 All-Southeastern Conference as a senior, while also garnering 1983 Academic All-America third team honors and was a 1983 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner. A member of UT's 1,000-point club, Henry compiled 1,128 career points (8.4 ppg.) and 593 assists (4.4 apg.). She helped the Lady Vols compile a stunning 105-29 record for a .784 winning percentage, while advancing to the 1980 and 1981 AIAW Tournament Final Four, the 1982 NCAA Final Four and the 1983 NCAA Regional Finals. Additionally, UT won the 1980 SEC Tournament crown.
"It's a great honor anytime you can feel you're a part of something where you're representing your country," said Peck, who returns to the USA Basketball sidelines after assisting the 1997 USA R. William Jones Cup Team to a 6-1 record and the silver medal. "That's a special honor. With Ceal Barry being the head coach, I think the world of her, she's a great coach. I look forward to doing some good things.
"I think that the talent pool to pick from is incredible and I think that talent pool will be challenged to compete on the international level. But I think it's a challenge they're definitely ready for."
With just four years (1997-98 to present) of collegiate head coaching under her belt, Peck has built quite a resume' along the sidelines. Boasting an 85-41 record for a .675 winning percentage, Peck is one of only eight active collegiate basketball head coaches to have captured a NCAA championship.
After serving the 1996-97 season as an assistant coach for a Purdue University (Ind.) squad that finished 17-11 and advanced to the NCAA second round, Peck was elevated to the head coach position. In her first season she led the Boilermakers to a 23-10 record, the Big Ten Conference Tournament crown and the 1998 NCAA Elite Eight. She topped that the following season by going 34-1, 16-0 in the Big Ten regular season, earning another Big Ten Tournament title, and closed the season by cutting down the nets following the ?99 NCAA title game.
Peck was amply rewarded by the media and her peers for her work at Purdue. She was named the 1999 National Coach of the Year by both the Associated Press and the WBCA, and was also named by both conference coaches and media the ?99 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
She most recently completed a stunning turn-around at Florida, the biggest in the program's history. After winning just nine games in her first season coaching a young and injured Lady Gators team, Peck's 2003-04 squad rebounded for a 19-11 finish, earned an at-large bid to the 2004 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round.
Prior to arriving at Florida, Peck spent three seasons (1999-2001) as the head coach for the WNBA Orlando Miracle, where she posted a 44-52 record and took her 2000 squad to the WNBA playoffs.
Peck served her first two years (1993-94 to 1994-95) on the sidelines as an assistant coach to Pat Summit and the University of Tennessee Lady Vols. During her two seasons at Tennessee, the Lady Vols finished as the 1995 NCAA runner-up, advanced to the 1994 Sweet Sixteen, captured two Southeastern Conference titles and compiled a 65-5 record. In each of Peck's seasons, Tennessee earned the SEC championship with unblemished 11-0 conference records. Following her two seasons at UT, Peck spent one year (1995-96) as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky before joining the Purdue staff for the 1996-97 season.
Peck played collegiately at Vanderbilt University (Tenn.) and aided the Commodores to a 77-42 record in four years (1984-85 to 1987-88) and a pair of NCAA Tournaments (1986, 1987). Selected to the 1988 All-SEC second team, Peck amassed 1,240 points, 679 rebounds and 180 blocked shots.
2004 USA Basketball Junior World Championship Qualifying Team Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Ceal Barry, University of Colorado
Assistant Coach: Lea Henry, Georgia State University
Assistant Coach: Carolyn Peck, University of Florida