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CU Alum Linda Lappe Named Women's Basketball Coach

Apr 12, 2010

BOULDER - Linda Lappe, a key contributor as a player for some very prominent University of Colorado women's basketball teams, is returning to her alma mater just under a decade removed from her career to take the reins as the seventh head women's basketball coach in the program's history, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Monday.

Lappe, 30, was selected from a nationwide search by a seven-person search committee headed by CU Associate Athletic Director and senior woman's administrator Ceal Barry. The committee submitted a list of names to Bohn who selected Lappe from the pool of candidates.

She has agreed to a five-year contract, effective today. Additional terms will be released if the contract is approved by CU's Board of Regents.

"We were searching for a head coach with impeccable character, exemplary work ethic, a competitive drive and commitment to teaching fundamentals," Bohn said. "Our committee found coach Lappe outstanding in all those categories and to top it off, she's a Buff, making her a perfect fit for our program.

"She comes to us as a disciplined and focused coach with high energy and a passion for Colorado basketball. Coach Lappe will be an outstanding representative of this institution and our community."

Lappe replaces Kathy McConnell-Miller, who was not retained after coaching the Buffaloes the past five seasons. McConnell-Miller had replaced Barry upon her retirement from coaching in 2005.

She becomes the youngest head women's basketball coach at a BCS conference school and the third-youngest overall, behind only Jamie Craighead (Sacramento State) and Candace Whittaker (Missouri-Kansas City) both of whom turn 30 within the next month. She's the second-youngest to be named head coach of the CU women's team. Barry was 28 when named on April 12, 1983, exactly 27 years to the date of Lappe's hiring.

Lappe returns full circle to the Buffaloes after a three-year stint as head coach at Metropolitan State College in Denver. She was 50-36 at Metro State, guiding the Roadrunners to top-three finishes and winning records in the Eastern Division of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in each of her three seasons.

Her 2009-10 squad finished 17-12 overall before ending the season in the RMAC Tournament semifinals against the eventual NCAA Division II national runner up in Fort Lewis (Colo.) College. She had two players earn RMAC All-Eastern Division honors in 2010 in Kristin Valencia and Chelsea Williamson and Valencia was tabbed as the East Division Defensive Player of the Year.

Lappe's 2007-08 Metro State team posted a 19-10 overall record, finished second in the RMAC's East Division and qualified for the conference tournament. Metro State put together a season-high nine-game winning streak during the season and ranked third in the RMAC in scoring defense.

She landed her first head coaching job after four years as an assistant at the NCAA Division I level, three with Drake University (2004-06) and one with Colorado State (2006-07).

Lappe was hired at Colorado State by Jen Warden, a former Colorado assistant who was on the bench with Barry during Lappe's playing career. At CSU, Lappe was the recruiting coordinator and also worked with the Rams' backcourt players

Lappe began her collegiate coaching career at Drake where she spent three years on Amy Stephens' staff, helping the Bulldogs to a 47-42 mark. She assisted Drake to WNIT appearances in  2004 and 2006 and helped sign a Top 50 class that would go on to help the Bulldogs claim the 2007 Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

A two-year captain and All-Big 12 Conference honorable mention selection, Lappe averaged 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 115 games from 1998-2003. She helped Colorado to three consecutive NCAA appearances from 2001-03, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2002 and a spot in the Sweet 16 as a senior in 2003.

Lappe averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds as a senior 2003 while dishing out 96 assists, and shooting 84.3 percent from the free throw line as the Buffaloes finished 24-8 and fourth in the Big 12.  She was a finalist for the V Foundation Comeback of the Year award after missing large chunks of her sophomore and redshirt junior years with injuries.

She missed the first 11 games the 2001-02 season, but worked her way back into the lineup for CU's Elite Eight squad averaging 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game against a brutal schedule that included 16 games against ranked teams.

Lappe helped CU to a 22-9 mark in 2000-01 and the team's first NCAA appearance since 1997. She led the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 85.9 percent and tallied seven points and nearly three rebounds per contest.

As a freshman in 1998-99 Lappe was CU's offensive MVP after she led the team in scoring (10.7 ppg), free throws made (91) and percentage (.827), assists (3.8 apg) and steals (1.7 spg) as the Buffs made their first ever postseason WNIT appearance. She played just two games as a sophomore in 1999-2000 before a broken knee cap ended her season.

A three-time first team Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Lappe graduated from CU with her bachelor's degree in business administration in 2002. She is a native of Burlington, Iowa, where she had a stellar prep career. An honorable mention Street & Smith's All-American, she graduated from Winfield High School with prep records in career points (1,987), steals (402), steals in a season (111), steals in a game (10), career assists (652), season assists (208), single game assists (14) and a 110-3 (.974) career record.

She was a first-team Class A (the smallest classification in Iowa) all-state selection from 1996 to 97 and a second-team all-Iowa pick following her freshman year. Her Winfield-Mount Union teams were the Class A state champions in 1995 and 96 and her 1997 team went 28-0 before being upset in the state semifinals, snapping an 80-game win streak. In 2009 Lappe was inducted into the Iowa Girls Basketball Hall of Fame

The daughter of Tom and Jean Lappe, she has two siblings who both played college basketball. Her older brother Burt is a graduate of Northern Iowa, and her younger brother Jake is a graduate of Luther (Iowa) College.