ATLANTA (March 29, 2016) – Joni Taylor, head coach at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, is the 2016 recipient of the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year Award, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced today. This distinguished award honors a WBCA Division I head coach who has led his or her team to a successful season during his or her first year at the helm.
"Success in your first season as a head coach is a remarkable feat. The WBCA is pleased to announce Joni as the winner of the 2016 Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. Joni has captured our attention with her team’s accomplishments this season. Joni has demonstrated immediate success in commanding all aspects of managing a program and will continue to shine in the coaching ranks for years to come. We celebrate her effort on the basketball court as a teacher and equally applaud the extensive role she plays in impacting the lives of her student-athletes.”
“Spalding is very honored to be affiliated with the Spalding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award,” said John Salay, Director at Spalding. “Coach Taylor’s stellar inaugural season embodies what the award is about. We would like to recognize the hard work, the passion, and the results you achieved this year that have rightly earned you the Spalding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year award.”
Taylor, was appointed as the new head coach of the Georgia’s women’s basketball program in April of 2015. She led the Lady Bulldogs to a 21-10 overall record and a 9-7 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Taylor helped propel the Lady Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time in school history, but fell in the first round to Indiana, 62-58.
Taylor’s 20-win season marked just the 12th time a first-year women’s basketball coach in the SEC has totaled 20 or more wins in his or her first year with the program.
Taylor was the recipient of the 2016 Whack Hyder Georgia Women’s College Coach of the Year award.
She joined the University of Georgia coaching staff in 2011, serving one season as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach.
The Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, former Army head coach, whose success during her inaugural year at the Army helm was remarkable. The Black Knights won the Patriot League title in 2006 and Dixon was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Army to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the NCAA Division I level. Coach Dixon passed away on April 6, 2006, just a few weeks following their appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Taylor will be formally recognized during the WBCA Convention that is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four®in Indianapolis.
A Division of Russell Brands, LLC, Spalding is the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world, and America's first baseball company. Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA, and the official baseball of the Little League World Series. In addition to being a leading producer and marketer of basketballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls, Spalding produces softballs under the Dudley brand. The SPALDING® and DUDLEY® trademarks are owned by Russell Brands, LLC. For more information, visit www.spalding.com.
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 in all of its aspects as a sport for women and girls. For more information about the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.