ATLANTA (March 9, 2021) — Dixie Jeffers, longtime head coach at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, is the recipient of the 2021 WBCA Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
The Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach, who is considered the “Mother of the Women’s Collegiate Basketball Championship.” Eckman organized and conducted the first women’s basketball championship in 1969 at West Chester State (now known as West Chester University). She continued to garner recognition and support for the women’s game until her death from cancer in 1985.
The WBCA presents the award annually to an active member coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.
"The WBCA is honored to recognize Dixie Jeffers with the Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Dixie is an engine of energy who drives her program and the game forward. The student-athlete experience is central to her efforts. She is a talented and beloved coach, wise administrator, and national leader. She is trusted and deeply respected by her peers for her integrity, character, efforts, and dedication to the game. The game is stronger thanks to Dixie and the WBCA salutes her many contributions.”
Hired as head coach of the Crusaders in 1986, the 2020-21 season is Jeffers’ 35th at the helm of Capital women’s basketball. She has 741 total career victories and is one of just one of 13 coaches in NCAA Division III history — male or female — to reach the 700-win plateau. She was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Jeffers’ teams have been a model of excellence and consistency on and off the court. Capital became the first school to win back-to-back NCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championships in 1994 and 1995. Those championships highlight a five-year run that featured an undefeated 1995 season (33-0) and four trips to the national semifinals, which landed the Crusaders two titles, a third-place (1997) and runner-up finish (1993).
Capital has won 20 or more games in 19 seasons, and twice the Crusaders crossed the 30-win plateau. Under Jeffers' leadership, Capital has won the Ohio Athletic Conference regular-season title 10 times. The Crusaders also have won the OAC postseason tournament 10 times. The Crusaders also have won the OAC postseason tournament 10 times (including six in a row from 1992 through 1997) and have made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances.
The energy Jeffers places in successful teams on the court is equally translated to her players' academic pursuits. Over the years, Jeffers' teams have epitomized all of the characteristics of a quality NCAA program by garnering a slew of national All-American Academic and athletic honors. For 30 of the last 32 seasons (1991-2020) a Crusader has been named Academic All-OAC, and she has coached numerous Academic All-Americans, NCAA and NACDA post-graduate scholarship recipients. In 1997, Crusader Carrie Ferguson was honored nationally as an NCAA Elite VIII selection, one of the highest honors attainable by a student-athlete.
Jeffers and her teams also have been active in the community by giving free basketball clinics, helping the homeless and visiting Nationwide Children's Hospital. Jeffers has also served on the board of directors for the Special Wish Foundation.
“Thank you to the WBCA and the selection committee for choosing me for the Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award,” said Jeffers, who began her collegiate head coaching career in 1983 at the University of Rio Grande. “I’m truly honored and humbled. I am so very appreciative of all the people that have come before me, have worked alongside of me, played for me, and those that continue to progress our profession and this great game.
“I’d like to thank Rio Grande for giving me my start and Capital University for believing in and supporting me through all of these years. I’d like to dedicate this award to family — my husband, John, my daughter, Cara, and son, Jansen. Thank you for supporting me in my pursuit to support others.”
The Carol Eckman Award was first presented in 1985. To see a list of past recipients, visit www.wbca.org/recognize/.
About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to the organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit WBCA.org for more details about the association.
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