Sylvia Hatchell 2009
After more than 1,000 career games and more than three decades of coaching, it stands to reason that North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell would belong to some exclusive clubs. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2013. She is one of only four head coaches in Division I history to reach the 800-win plateau. She has been named national coach of the year three times.
While Hatchell keeps impressive company in many categories, she is also part of an exclusive club that features just one member. When UNC defeated Louisiana Tech to win the 1994 NCAA Championship, Hatchell became the first and only coach to lead teams to national championships at the AIAW, NAIA and NCAA levels. Those titles – the first two coming at Francis Marion – are the crown jewels in one of the most decorated coaching careers in women’s basketball history.
In preparation for a career in coaching, Hatchell earned a B.S. degree in physical education and health from Carson-Newman in 1974. While at Carson-Newman, in addition to playing basketball and volleyball, Hatchell coached the Talbott School girls’ basketball team to a winning season and a trip to the playoffs. She then spent a year coaching the junior varsity women’s team and earning a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.
Prior to taking over the Tar Heel program, Hatchell guided Francis Marion to a 272-80 mark over 11 seasons. She coached the 1986 Lady Patriots to a remarkable 36-2 record and a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship. Her 1982 team was her first national championship squad, as Francis Marion captured the AIAW small college division crown.