ATLANTA (March 30, 2022) – First-year University of Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley is the 2022 Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
The award honors a WBCA member NCAA Division I head coach who has led their team to a successful season during their first year on the sideline. It is named in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, who in her inaugural season as the Army head coach, led the Black Knights to the 2006 Patriot League title and their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament. Dixon, 29, died of an undiagnosed heart condition just weeks after on April 6, 2006.
“Success in your first year as a head coach is generally a difficult feat. When a new head coach demonstrates a mastery of managing all aspects of a program, as well as producing success in competition, our coaching family pays respectful attention. The WBCA is proud to announce Kelly Rae Finley as the winner of the 2022 Spalding Maggie Dixon DI Rookie Coach of the Year award,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Kelly Rae led her team to a remarkable season. We celebrate her effort and effectiveness on the basketball court as a teacher and equally applaud the extensive role she plays in impacting the lives of her student-athletes.”
“Spalding, together with the WBCA, is proud to celebrate coach Kelly Rae Finley as the 2022 Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year,” said Matt Murphy, Spalding VP and general manager. “Coach Finley exemplifies the leadership, mentorship and dedication to excellence that this award is about both on and off the court. We wish Coach Finley and all the student-athletes she inspires continued success.”
The first Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award was presented in 2007, the year following Dixon’s death. To see a list of past recipients, visit www.wbca.org/recognize/.
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About the WBCA
For 40 years, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association has been the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. Founded in 1981, 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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