Bradley’s Gorski announces retirement

Story courtesy: Bobby Parker, Sr. Associate AD for Communications and Event & Facility Operations

A Hall-of-Fame performer on the court who returned to her alma mater to lead Bradley Women’s Basketball through the most successful run in the program’s history, head coach Andrea Gorski made a stunning announcement Tuesday … retirement.

“After 25 years, I am officially retiring from coaching,” said Gorski.  “It has been the honor of a lifetime leading Bradley Women’s Basketball and representing my alma mater and this great university for the past six years … but my heart is pulling me in a different direction.

“I love this place and everything it represents,” Gorski continued.  “I especially love and cherish the players and staff that I have been so very fortunate to coach and work with.  This game has given me far more blessings than I deserve.”

Named the ninth head coach in Bradley Women’s Basketball history in April 2016, Gorski inherited a program that had failed to reach double-digits in the win column in any of the previous three seasons.  In her six years at the helm, Gorski’s Braves became the first program in Missouri Valley Conference history to produce an improved record in five consecutive seasons and she produced the winningest four-year stretch of conference play (39-33 MVC record from 2017-21) in Bradley’s 39 years of league affiliation.  

After leading the Braves to consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in program history in 2018-19 (20-10) and 2019-20 (22-7), Gorski guided Bradley through the 2020-21 pandemic-altered season to the first MVC Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, delivering on her promise to hang the first women’s basketball banners from the rafters of Renaissance Coliseum.

“First-and-foremost, I want to thank Coach Gorski for all that she has done for Bradley University and our women’s basketball student-athletes,” said Dr. Chris Reynolds, Bradley Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.  “Her news certainly was unexpected, but she has always had her priorities in the right order and I support her decision as she explores a new chapter in her life.

“Coach Gorski proved Bradley Women’s Basketball can win championships,” Reynolds added, “and we will continue to strive for the highest levels of achievement, on and off the court.”

Gorski’s retirement leaves her career record at 194-149 in 11 seasons overall as a collegiate head coach, including an 88-90 mark in her six seasons with the Braves.  She previously coached Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich., to a 106-59 record from 2008-13.

During Gorski’s six years as head coach, Bradley produced eight All-Missouri Valley Conference First-Team selections, matching the number of first-team all-league honors during the 24 seasons between the 1991-92 season, when she earned the distinction as a Bradley student-athlete, and her hiring in 2016.  Of note, Bradley produced three All-MVC first-team honorees during the record-setting 2019-20 season – Chelsea BrackmannGabi Haack and Lasha Petree.  Brackmann was named a Women’s Basketball Senior CLASS Award finalist in 2019-20, while Haack became the program’s first two-time Senior CLASS Award candidate (2020-21 and 2021-22), adding to a list of honors that included 2020-21 MVC Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2021 Patty Viverito MVC Women’s Basketball Championship Most Outstanding Player, 2021 MVC Dr. Charlotte West Award and 2021 MVC candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year.  Haack would go on to set the program’s all-time scoring record (1,811 points) and the MVC record for career 3-point field goals (314) before a knee injury suffered Jan. 1 at Illinois State ended her season.

Gorski starred as a Bradley guard from 1988-92, earning first-team All-Gateway Conference honors during her senior year.  Her sophomore season included a then school-record 12 league victories and her final three seasons as a student-athlete mark the only time in program history the Braves finished among the top half of the conference standings in three consecutive seasons before years three, four and five (2018-21) of her head-coaching tenure.  In recognition of her achievements as a student-athlete, Gorski was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bradley immediately will begin the process of conducting a national search for the 10th head coach in Bradley Women’s Basketball history.

The 2021-22 Braves far-and-away were the youngest men’s or women’s basketball program in The Valley with 12 first- and second-year student-athletes among the 16-person roster.  Guard Caroline Waite was named the MVC Freshman of the Year and she was joined on the league’s All-Freshman Team by forward Abbie Draper.

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