Azzi Inks Contract Extension

University of San Francisco Athletics has agreed to terms with head women’s basketball coach Jennifer Azzi on a new five-year contract through the 2019-20 season, USF Director of Athletics Scott Sidwell announced today.

In five years at the helm of USF’s program, Azzi has transformed the women’s basketball program into a bona fide postseason contender. The 2014-15 season saw the Dons win 10 of their first 12 games of the season before finishing with a 19-14 overall mark. The Dons served further notice they were a program on the rise by taking perennial power Gonzaga to quadruple overtime on the Zags’ home court in Spokane. After advancing to the title game of the WCC Championships as the sixth seed, the Dons were rewarded for their efforts with a bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, marking the program’s first postseason appearance since the 2001-02 season.

“We are thrilled to have Jennifer continue to lead our women’s basketball program for the foreseeable future,” said Sidwell. “She and her staff have done a great job of building our program for sustainable success on the national level. We are aiming higher with our expectations of the women’s basketball program and look forward competing for WCC championships and NCAA Tournament berths for many years to come.”

“I think it’s an exciting time in our program,” said Azzi. “We’ve built a really strong foundation over the last five years, and not just myself but also the players are very invested in what we’re doing. We have a fantastic staff with associate head coach Blair Hardiek, associate head coach Shanele Stires and Britinee Yasukochi, and the whole group has poured their heart and soul into making it happen. I don’t look at it necessarily as a five-year contract for myself, it’s really about the program and it speaks volumes both about my commitment to USF, but also to the commitment of the staff.

“I think if you look at any program across the country that is consistently successful, be it a UConn, Stanford, Tennessee, or even in our conference at San Diego and BYU, you have consistency. The players want it, families want it, recruits want it, and in this day in age a lot of programs have a lot of movement. But I love the Bay Area, I love San Francisco, I love USF. I think the values of our school and the foundation in education is key. One of the things I’m most proud of with our program is winning the APR award in 2014 and putting us in the top 10 percent of the country for the academic strength in our program. I think you can have excellence on the court and at the same time I think you can have excellence in the classroom, and that’s what I’m drawn to being at USF.

“If you look at the returning players in our program, they’ve really invested in this and I think them feeling their hard work pay off last year with a trip to the WNIT makes them just that much more motivated for that next step. We’ve got great leadership in our upper class and we’ve also got a great young group coming in.”

A four-year starter at Stanford from 1987-90, Azzi became the first Cardinal women’s basketball player to earn the Wade Trophy, the James Naismith Player of the Year award, and the Honda-Broderick National Player of the Year honor. She was Stanford’s first WBCA/Kodak All-American as a junior in 1989, and she earned the award a second time as a senior in 1990. A three-time All-Pacific-10 performer and the 1990 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Azzi led the Cardinal to a pair of conference titles (1989, 1990) while being a catalyst for Stanford’s first national championship in 1990, leading her team to a 32-1 record as the squad’s captain.

Following her prolific collegiate career, Azzi embarked on a successful professional career that initially took her overseas before returning to compete once again on American soil for the San Jose Lasers (ABL), Detroit Shock, Utah Starzz and San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA.

Internationally, Azzi was a member of the USA Basketball Senior National Team from 1990-91 and 1993-98. A key member of the United States gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic Team that concluded a perfect 60-0 season with an 8-0 record during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Azzi played on 13 USA National Teams, compiling a mark of 114-14. She also medaled three times at the World Championships, claiming gold in 1998 and 1990, while earning a bronze in 1994.

Last January, Azzi was presented with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award which honors an individual’s accomplishments on the court of play as well as their contributions to professional organizations and other civic activities on their 25thanniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate careers.
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