COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Televisions, computers, iPads and smart phones around the country are tuned into the 2012 Olympic Games in London as Americans watch and cheer for their favorite teams and athletes.
Women's basketball has been in the background for the first week while the swimmers, gymnasts and other sports have shared the spotlight and battled for medals.
Now it's time for the USA Women's Basketball Team to make its drive for the gold, and on the bench assiting in the effort is Tennessee Tech Hall of Fame coach Marynell Meadors. The current head coach of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, Meadors is an assistant coach for USA head coach Geno Auriemma.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected,” said
Meadors in January when she was selected. “I’m really
excited to have the opportunity to work with Geno, Doug and Jen
again. It is a great feeling for me because we were so in tuned to
each other when we were at the World Championship and things just
seemed to flow. I thought it was good that we had a great rapport
with the players and coaching staff. To be chosen as one of the
coaches for the Olympics is just a great honor for me.”
Meadors is hoping to become the second gold medal winner with Tennessee Tech ties. Rifle All-American Ed Etzel, another member of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame, won gold at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Team USA went 3-0 in preliminary pool play, beginning with an 81-56 victory over Croatia. They followed up with a 90-38 win over Angola, and wrapped up with an 89-58 win over Turkey. They have games against the Czech Republic (1-2) on Friday and China (3-0) on Sunday. The gold medal game is Saturday, Aug. 11.
Having served as an assistant coach to the 2010 USA World Championship Team that claimed the gold medal, Meadors returned to the USA Basketball Women’s National Team staff as a court coach during the team’s training camp that was held May 10-12, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I’ve got experience in just about every area that you could think of,” said Meadors, who piloted the Dream to the 2010 and 2011 WNBA Finals. “Through the years I’ve done a lot of different things as far as scouting goes, talking with the players, trying to help on the court situations and making suggestions to Geno. I think that it’s all of those things combined. Doug, Jen and I can just look at each other and know what each other is thinking. We’ve all had so much good experience that we can all give good, solid advice to Geno. Having the opportunity to work with some of his players and seeing their competitiveness … of the four coaches on this staff, I don’t think there are any more competitive coaches in the country than us four. The players know that. We know that they’re competitive; they want to win the gold medal. That is certainly our goal, to come away with that gold medal in 2012.”
|Tech All-American Ed
Etzel won a gold medal
at the 1984 Olympics
In all, Meadors has been a member of four USA Basketball team staffs. In addition to her stint as an assistant to the 2010 USA World Championship Team that captured gold with an unblemished mark, Meadors served as the head coach for the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival East Team that captured a gold medal. She then was the assistant coach for the gold medal winning 1992 USA R. William Jones Cup Team and returned in 1993 as the head coach for the USA R. William Jones Cup squad that returned home with the bronze medal.
A seven-year WNBA head coach, Meadors has spent the last four seasons (2008-11) as head coach and general manager of the Atlanta Dream, where she orchestrated the second-best turnaround in league history. The Dream in its inaugural season in 2008 finished with a 4-30 mark, but after making some off-season trades and drafting eventual 2009 Rookie of the Year McCoughtry, Atlanta posted an 18-18 record and earned a 2009 playoff berth. For her efforts, Meadors earned the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year award.
In 2010 Meadors coached the Dream to a new winning record as Atlanta posted 19 victories on the season and then upped the record again in 2011 with 20 wins en route to her second WNBA Finals appearance in as many years.
Previously, Meadors spent three years (1997-99) as head coach and general manager of the Charlotte Sting and finished second in the Eastern Conference in 1998 and 1999. Meadors, who owns a 105-89 head coaching record in the league, also served a three-year (2005-07) stint as an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics and aided the Mystics to a 50-52 mark and the 2006 playoffs.
In all, Meadors is a 38-year coaching veteran who got her start at Tennessee Tech in 1970-71. She spent 26 years as a collegiate head coach, 16 at Tennessee Tech (1970-71 through 1985-86) and 10 seasons at Florida State University (1986-87 through 1995-96), and guided teams to a 495-297 record for a 62.5 winning percentage. At Tennessee Tech, where she never posted a losing season and compiled 20 or more victories in 13 seasons, Meadors was the 1984 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.
Between WNBA coaching jobs, Meadors was an assistant coach on the sideline at the University of Pittsburgh for two seasons (2003-04 through 2004-05).