Arlington, VA - After nearly 27 seasons and 548 victories (and counting), Marymount head women's basketball coach and athletic director, Bill Finney, announced his plans to retire in August.
Finney, whose teams have averaged more than 20 wins per year for each of his 27 seasons with the NCAA Division IIII school, will end his coaching some time in the next one or two months, depending how deep his team plays in the post-season. The Saints currently are posting a 23-1 record and are ranked nationally #7 in two national polls.
Finney, who was one of the founders of the Capital Athletic Conference in 1990, saw his teams dominate the early years of the conference. In fact, the Saints won the first seven CAC titles and have won 10 of the 19 championships in women's basketball.
He is a four-time conference coach of the year, a one-time regional coach of the year and coming into the 2009-10 season, is ranked 38th among all active NCAA coaches (Divisions I, II and III) in number of victories with 525. His winning percentage is .733. Among Division III coaches, he was in tenth place coming into this season for victories among active coaches, and 11 th place among all DIII coaches.
Finney has led his teams to 15 NCAA post-season tournaments, including in 2009 and 2008. His highest finish was a Final Four in 2002. In addition to that there was one other Elite 8 finish and six other Sweet 16 finishes in the Saints' appearances.
Marymount University President James E. Bundschuh says, "Bill Finney is an incredibly effective athletic director and coach. But even more important, he is an outstanding mentor, role model, and inspiration for our student-athletes. Bill cares deeply about each individual's growth and success in athletics, in academics, and in the attainment of personal character."
He has coached one National Player of the Year in Cori Carson and ten first team and honorable mention All Americans. And his teams have been as solid in the classroom as they have been on the court. The grade point average for his teams has been above a 3.0 for each of the past 12 consecutive semesters.
Back in the early 90s, Finney's teams played a "run and gun" style where the goal was to get a shot off in 10 seconds or less. The 1993 and 1994 teams each won National Scoring Titles - with the highest points-per-game average among Division III schools. The 1993 team hit for 92.4 points per contest and the 1994 team averaged 89.4 points per game. And the 1993 team still holds the NCAA Division III record for the most consecutive games with at least 100 points, which is five games.
Now the focus is more on defense. This current team is holding its opponents to 46.8 points per game - third best in the nation and more than seven points better than any previous MU team. His players and teams can be found among the NCAA record book, including a 48-game home winning streak which is seventh among DIII schools and as the 13 th highest winning percentage team (.733) and one of only three players with multiple "triple-doubles" - Cori Carson in 1997 (points, rebounds and blocks).
Finney was the driving force for the Marymount Athletics Hall of Fame which began in 2006. Six of his former players have been inducted thus far including Debbie Clise, '88; Jessica Turgon, '97; Mary Gardiner, '85; Karen Still, '94; Candice Brown, '02; and, Marlene Grimes, '91.
Finney has always prided himself as a teacher of the game. He gains a lot of satisfaction in seeing his former players follow him into coaching. Currently, he has two players who are head coaches at Division III programs - Candice Brown at Vassar College and Ashlee Courter at Franklin & Marshall College.
Both of his assistants this year, CK Calhoun and Stephanie Witko, are former players and two others are assisting at other programs - Randi Jones at Eastern Mennonite and Carolyn Riley, as a grad assistant at VCU. Many others have had their hands in coaching youth, high school and college programs.
He also has been the director of athletics since 1989 where he oversees 12 sports (six men and six women's teams). During his tenure he has overseen the introduction of women's lacrosse, men's golf, and men and women's cross country to the campus.
The school will begin an immediate national search for his replacements at both positions, according to Chris Domes, the vice president for student development and enrollment management at the Arlington school.