NEW YORK -- The first session of the 2013 edition of The Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE) concluded on Wednesday, June 5, as 32 WBCA-member college women's basketball coaches completed the invitation-only, two-and-a-half day elite leadership program hosted by Columbia University.

Created in 2011 through a partnership between Columbia and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, and funded in part through a grant from the NCAA, the CCE provides an unparalleled, exclusive learning experience for attendees. This marked the fifth session of the program (two sessions were previously held in both 2011 and 2012), which has now enriched the lives of more than 140 coaches of women's basketball. The sixth session of CCE, and the final one of 2013, will be held June 10-12.

"Nothing revitalizes me more than attending one of our sessions of The Center for Coaching Excellence," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Spending time with these outstanding WBCA coaches and seeing them learn and expand their skill set is second to none. I didn't think it was possible, but we've made a fantastic program even better."

"We are so proud to be hosting year three of The Center for Coaching Excellence at Columbia," said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education at Columbia University. "This unique leadership program continues to make a tremendous difference for the sport of college women's basketball and the men and women who lead and coach our student-athletes. It is great to continue our partnership with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the NCAA."

Capitalizing on the resources of Columbia University, one of the world's leading research universities, and utilizing collaborative and interactive learning sessions along with lectures and panel discussions featuring experts in college athletics, the CCE gives college women's basketball coaches valuable networking opportunities with their peers and top industry leaders.

Coaches attending the June 3-5 session included Keith Adams of the University of Texas at El Paso, Karen Aston of the University of Texas, Jennie Baranczyk of Drake University, Tricia Binford of Montana State University, Greg Brown of Lipscomb University, Todd Buchanan of the University of Houston, Jean Marie Burr of Brown University, Dan Burt of Duquesne University, Kevin Cook of Winthrop University, Charity Elliott of Loyola Marymount University, Lori Gear McBride of the University of Vermont, Jen Hoover of Wake Forest University, Cathy Inglese of the University of Rhode Island, Ali Jaques of Siena College, Bobbie Kelsey of the University of Wisconsin, Jodi Kest of the University of Akron, Linda Lappe of the University of Colorado, Kellie Lewis-Jay of Florida Atlantic University, Yolett McPhee-McCuin of Jacksonville University, Nyla Milleson of George Mason University, Lynn Milligan of Rider University, Sherri Murrell of Portland State University, Danielle O'Banion of Kent State University, Bethann Ord of Weber State University, Wendy Palmer of UNC-Greensboro, Aaron Roussell of Bucknell University, Vic Schaefer of Mississippi State University, Nicole Scholl of Binghampton University, Seton Sobolewski of Idaho State University, Todd Starkey of Lenoir-Rhyne University, Joe Tartamella of St. John's University and Bryan Whitten of Mount St. Mary's University.

"I learned so much about myself through The Center for Coaching Excellence," remarked Kelsey. "I thought I knew a lot about communication, and through this program, I realized my areas for improvement and exactly how vital communication is to maximizing your student-athletes' potential. The Center for Coaching Excellence was enlightening. Knowing yourself, and your personal communication style is so important. Every head women's basketball coach, particularly the coaches that are first-time head coaches, should have an opportunity to attend The Center for Coaching Excellence."

"Dianne [Murphy]and Cathie [Siders] have created a learning experience that is unparalleled for head coaches in the game of college women's basketball," said Tartamella. "The Center for Coaching Excellence is the best professional development program I have been a part of in my ten years of coaching. This program assures that the leaders in our game have the learning tools to grow as mentors, professionals and people. I would recommend that every head coach in our game have the opportunity to experience this invaluable program."

Dr. Cathie T. Siders, a clinical psychologist, organizational consultant and executive coach, facilitated group-learning sessions. Other sessions featured panel discussions from a wide variety of leaders from both the college athletics industry and other sectors of industry.

"For the third consecutive year, I am thrilled to work with the exceptional men and women that steward the game of college women's basketball," said Siders. "I find our nation's college women's basketball head coaches to be wonderful teachers and mentors, who are committed to the young women on their teams. These coaches appreciate refining their leadership skills to add to their coaching repertoire. "

"The Center for Coaching Excellence is very thankful for the tremendous generosity of our friends at the NCAA for enabling us to continue this most important leadership initiative," added Murphy. "Over the past three days, our basketball coaches have addressed and discussed many of the important topics facing the game of college women's basketball today. We know that the continual success of the game we love is in the very capable hands of our nation's college women's basketball coaches."

The faculty for the June 3-5 session of CCE included Anucha Browne, vice president of women's basketball championships, NCAA; Val Ackerman, strategic consultant, NCAA and faculty, Columbia University School of Continuing Education; Rich Ensor, commissioner, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; Jeffrey H. Orleans, consultant, Alden and Associates; Jody Conradt, head women's basketball coach emerita, University of Texas; Stephanie Glance, head women's basketball coach, Columbia University; Jim Jabir, head women's basketball coach, University of Dayton; outgoing WBCA President Charli Turner Thorne, head women's basketball coach, Arizona State University; Jim Delany, commissioner, Big Ten Conference; and Rebecca Halstead, brigadier general, US Army (Ret.).

About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, please visit WBCA.org.