ATLANTA (March 10, 2021) — Legendary hall of famer Jody Conradt is the recipient of the 2021 Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment of service to women’s basketball, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
As only the second woman ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998 as well as a 1999 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Conradt is known as one of the most prominent figures in college women’s basketball and athletics administration. She is not only considered a pioneer, but also a durable, dynamic and ethical leader who has given credibility to her sport for her entire working career — almost 60 years of her life.
Conradt was previously honored by the WBCA in 1984 and 1986 as the WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year, and in 1987 with the Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award.
"On behalf of the WBCA and our family of women’s basketball coaches, it is my honor to announce Jody Conradt as the recipient of the 2021 Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Jody is a legend in our sport. She is a highly gifted and trusted teacher, a pioneer of our game, a strategic thinker, a leader in her community and nationally, and a friend to her peers. Her historic and highly decorated 38-year career was focused on serving and developing her student-athletes.
“Jody continues to lead and give back to the game through her service on many boards, committees and projects. The WBCA salutes Jody for her lifetime of contributions and is profoundly grateful for her continued commitment to the game.”
Conradt coached college women’s basketball for 38 years, beginning her coaching career at Sam Houston State University in 1969, followed by a stint at UT-Arlington before arriving at The University of Texas in the spring of 1976. She led Texas to the first undefeated (34-0) national championship season in NCAA women’s basketball history in 1985-86 and to two additional NCAA Women’s Final Fours (1987 and 2003). Texas hosted the first sold-out NCAA Women’s Final Four in 1987 in Austin’s Frank Erwin Center. All told, Conradt amassed a career coaching record of 900-307.
From 1992 through 2001, Conradt served Texas in a dual role as basketball coach and women's athletics director. She coached through the 2006-07 season. She continues to serve Texas Athletics as a special assistant to Texas VP/AD Chris Del Conte, chairing the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program and serving on the NCAA Infractions Committee.
In total, Conradt has devoted her entire career — more than 50 years of her life — directly or indirectly to promoting and growing the sport of women’s basketball. In 2008, Conradt was honored by the Atlanta Tipoff Club with the Naismith Award, which "pays tribute to the individuals who have made a significant impact on women's and men's college basketball.”
A native of Goldthwaite, Texas, Conradt averaged 40 points a game at Goldthwaite High School, long before Congress passed Title IX in 1972 and ushered in the era of modern-day women’s and girls’ athletics. She played collegiately at Baylor University, from which she received her bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1963. Her first job was teaching and coaching at Waco (Texas) Midway High School. She earned her master’s degree from Baylor in 1969 after which she began her collegiate coaching career at Sam Houston State.
“I am grateful to the WBCA and the selection committee for this honor … it seems like a lifetime ago that I coached a game, but it was a WONDERFUL life!” said Conradt. “It’s been a privilege to stay connected and involved in collegiate athletics and higher education. When you are passionate about something, your energy never diminishes. I so value the ongoing relationships with the young women from the three universities where I coached. They make us all so proud. And I treasure the friendships in the coaching and athletics administration profession.”
The Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the late Senda Berenson, who in her role as a physical education instructor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, introduced “basketball” to her female gym students in 1892. Her actions marked the birth of the women’s game, occurring the year following basketball’s invention by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The award has been presented annually since 1984 and is sponsored by Jostens, a longtime corporate partner of and the official commemorative awards provider for the WBCA. Until 2006, it was called the Jostens-Berenson Service Award.
“Jostens is proud to be a longtime supporter of women’s basketball and it is our honor to partner with the WBCA on this prestigious award,” said Chris Poitras, Jostens Vice President of College and Pro Sports. “Jody Conradt has been an inspiration to many over the years through her service to women’s basketball and her remarkable contributions to the sport and women’s athletics as a whole. We are privileged to honor Jody for her lasting impact and incredible achievements as the recipient of the 2021 Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Visit www.wbca.org/recognize/ to see a list of past recipients.
Jostens is a trusted partner in the academic and achievement channel, providing products, programs and services that help its customers celebrate moments that matter. The company's products include yearbooks, publications, jewelry and consumer goods that serve the K-12 educational, college and professional sports segments. Founded in 1897 and based in Minneapolis, Minn., Jostens is owned by Platinum Equity and can be found online at www.jostens.com.
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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