By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
ATHENS, Ga. – When Andy Landers was hired as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Georgia on April 24, 1979 at the age of 26, he put together a plan to recruit nationally, something very few programs were doing at the time and, in turn, he has built one of the most successful programs in the history of women’s college basketball.
Thirty-four years later, Landers is going for an important milestone. On Tuesday, his Lady Bulldogs take on Savannah State (7 p.m. ET) with Landers looking for his 800th career victory at the helm of the Georgia program. He currently boasts a record of 799-268 as the school’s head coach.
A win on Tuesday night will put Landers in an elite club of just eight head basketball coaches (men or women) who have accumulated 800 or more victories at a single institution. The impressive list includes such names as Pat Summitt, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp.
Just a quick glance at his resume and Landers has accomplished a staggering list of achievements. They include:
• 29 NCAA Tournament Appearances
• 27 20-Win Seasons
• 19 Sweet 16 Appearances
• 11 Southeastern Conference Titles
• 5 Final Four Appearances
During his time at Georgia, Landers has watched the growth of women’s basketball from a niche sport to a major sport with regular television coverage and large base of supporters.
“Everything has changed – it’s amazing,” Landers said. “Thirty-three years ago, you had a head coach and you were lucky if you had a trainer. You look up 33 years later and you have three assistant coaches, a director of operations, a video guy, an administrative assistant, a couple of trainers and a strength coach, so the support of the program and people being in place to help the student-athletes and help the program grow has obviously changed dramatically. The number of fans and spectators has grown drastically.”
No matter how impressive his accomplishments on the court have been, Landers’ impact extends well beyond the hardwood. He has developed a reputation for producing well-rounded student-athletes and, since his arrival at Georgia, each player who has completed her eligibility and has played four years has earned her degree.
“We’re determined that the experience that a young person - a student-athlete - has at the University of Georgia goes well past what happens on the court,” Landers said. “We want them to be a more accountable person, we want them to be a more mature person, we want them to be a person that’s capable of making good decisions and we want them to graduate. We’ve been very fortunate that every player that has played four years for us has graduated.”
I profiled Landers and how he built the Georgia program this past July as part of our SEC “40/40” series celebrating women’s athletics in the SEC. You can read that feature here: http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/tabid/473/article/235560/SEC-40-40-Landers-Blazes-Trail-At-Georgia.aspx
Division I Wins At One School (updated Nov. 19)
1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 1,098
2. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse – 892
3. Dean Smith, North Carolina, 879
4. Adolph Rupp, Kentucky – 876
5. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke – 856
6. Jim Phelan, Mt. St. Mary’s – 830
7. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut, 805
8. Andy Landers, Georgia – 799
9. Jody Conradt, Texas – 783
10. Robin Selvig, Montana - 776