ATLANTA (March 8, 2022) — Carol Callan, the architect behind the U.S. women’s basketball Olympic team program that won seven straight gold medals from 1996 though 2021, is the recipient of the 2022 Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. The award is presented in recognition of Callan’s lifelong commitment of service to women’s basketball
Callan was responsible for all facets of the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team that posted a perfect 52-0 record as well as the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team that claimed the Gold Medal with an 8-0 record. She was named the USA Basketball Women’s National Team director (originally called the assistant executive director for women’s programs) shortly thereafter in October 1996, a position she held for 25 years. In addition to Olympic success, national teams have won gold medals at five of six FIBA World Cups, nine of 11 FIBA U19 World Cups, four of five FIBA U17 World Cups and the first-ever 3x3 tournament at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Callan retired in 2021 following the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were delayed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Callan currently is the president of FIBA Americas — the International Basketball Federation American Zone — and is the first woman elected to the position. FIBA Americas is composed of 43 different governing federations in North and South America. As president, she serves on FIBA’s Executive Committee and Central Board. She initiated Adelante, a program to develop female leaders of basketball in the Americas. Callan is also a consultant to USA Basketball and its foundation which focuses on advancing initiatives for women and youth development in sports. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame last August.
"On behalf of the WBCA and our family of women’s basketball coaches, it is my honor to announce Carol Callan as the recipient of the 2022 Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Carol is a highly respected global leader in women’s and girls’ basketball who commands the admiration, trust and respect of coaches at all levels of the sport. Her vision and influence led to USA Basketball’s dominance in global women’s basketball competition throughout her career. Now, as president of FIBA Americas, Carol remains an important international leader in our sport. The WBCA salutes Carol for her lifetime of contributions to the game and for her many years of service as a member of the WBCA Board of Directors. She is truly worthy of our association’s highest honor.”
Callan served as director of athletics and activities from 1986 through 1995 and assistant principal from 1993 through 1995 at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. She coached Fairview to the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A girls state championship in 1985. While working at Fairview High School, Callan became involved with USA Basketball and served as a volunteer member of multiple committees for almost seven years, including its Executive Committee (1992-95), Women’s Player Selection Committee (1989-95), and Women’s Programs Committee (1992-95). As national team director, Callan was responsible for all USA Basketball women’s teams programs, including competitions, trials and training camps. She served as liaison to women’s competition committees. She also currently serves as a member of the WBCA Board of Directors. Former WBCA President Charli Turner Thorne presented Callan with the WBCA President’s Award in 2013.
“Thanks to Jostens for their support of this award, and thanks to the WBCA Executive Committee and the entire community of coaches for this incredible honor,” Callan said. “When reading the list of previous recipients, the magnitude of the award takes life. I am humbled yet pleased that I have had the opportunity to work with so many of our best coaches at all levels in the pursuit of gold medals. We never strayed from the responsibility of representing our country in the most positive light and instilling a culture of excellence within our teams.”
Callan graduated magna cum laude from William Woods College in 1975 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical education. With the introduction of intercollegiate sports at William Woods in 1974, Callan played just one season on the Owls women’s basketball team. She averaged 16.75 points per game in that inaugural season. Callan holds master’s degrees in business administration and physical education from the University of Colorado.
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. “Carol Callan’s dedication and commitment to the sport of women’s basketball has been remarkable. She has been a pioneer for the sport and served in many capacities throughout the years. We are privileged to honor Carol as the recipient of the 2022 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
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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