Leading Purdue to four Big Ten Tournament championships and two NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances in 15 years, the USCB women’s basketball team made a big splash by hiring a Boilermaker legend in Sharon Versyp, who is Purdue’s all-time winningest head coach.
“Coach Versyp’s experience, passion for the development of student-athletes, and vision for the program stood out amongst the tremendous response to our women’s basketball search,” said Genia Montford, Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator and Women’s Basketball Search Committee Chair.
“There is no doubt there are great days ahead for women’s basketball at USCB under Coach Versyp’s direction – not only on the court, but also in the classroom and the community. We are looking forward to Coach Versyp’s leadership in building a program our USCB community, the Lowcountry, and the Sand Shark family can be proud to call ours.”
Coming out of retirement (retired from Purdue on Sept. 16, 2021), Versyp is the winningest coach in program history, with 301 victories on the Boilermakers sidelines, good for 20 per year, and her 20-year career record as a head coach stands at 418-257. She added the Boilermakers’ career Big Ten victories record to her list of accolades in 2018-19, collecting 136 at Purdue, and her 149 career Big Ten wins is fifth-most in conference history.
“I am extremely honored to lead the first women’s basketball program and to build it on a solid foundation at USCB,” said Versyp. “I am also looking forward to partnering with the community of Beaufort and embracing their strong support.”
“A heartfelt thank you to the Chancellor Dr Al M. Panu, Athletic Director Quin Monahan, the women’s basketball search committee and the Sand Shark family for this amazing opportunity! Our vision, coupled with positive energy and perseverance, is certain to produce leaders both on the court and in the classroom, serving as ambassadors of the university and community.”
What They’re Saying About Versyp
“Not often do athletic directors have the opportunity to hire someone of Coach Versyp’s unquestionable experience, but combine that with her passion, vision and drive, and this is an incredible hire. Coach Versyp will win, but even more importantly, she will impact countless young women’s lives. Our student-athletes will benefit from a coach dedicated to developing champions and leaders on the court as well as in life. I am thrilled to welcome Coach Versyp to the Sand Shark Family.
As we look to start women’s basketball, we could not have asked for a better leader and teacher of the game to kickstart our program. Coach Versyp is going to make a great Sand Shark, and I can’t wait to get started working together.” – Quin Monahan, USC Beaufort Director of Athletics
“What a tremendous hire for USCB. To hire such an experienced, qualified coach in Sharon speaks volumes to the commitment of the women’s basketball program. Sharon is a sensational coach. She is first class in everything she does. She will put her team in a position to be successful from the start.” – Brenda Frese, Maryland Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“USCB is getting one of the best DI coaches in America! I got to know and respect Sharon when we competed against each other in the Big Ten Conference. Sharon is a proven winner, taking her Purdue team to nine NCAA Tournaments, including advancing to an Elite Eight in the nation! The Sand Sharks will have plenty to cheer about in the seasons to come.” – Lisa Bluder Iowa Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“Sharon Versyp is a championship-caliber coach and an outstanding leader, who has a proven track record of success . First as a player and then as a coach, Sharon has demonstrated a deep knowledge of the game and complete understanding of what it takes to build a winning program both on and off the court. Sharon is a tremendous ambassador for her school, team, and community and is always giving of her time to help others and contribute to the development of those around her. She is committed to her players and wants to develop them to their utmost potential as student-athletes and as people. Any program would be lucky to have her as its head coach.” – Jeff Brohm, Purdue Football Head Coach
“Congratulations to the USC Beaufort for selecting someone of Sharon Versyp’s high character, compassion, and competitiveness to launch their Division II women’s basketball program. In her 21-year collegiate head coaching career, Sharon’s top priority has always been using the basketball platform to develop young women for future greatness OFF the basketball court, so she is the perfect selection. As the winningest women’s basketball coach in Purdue history, Coach Versyp will establish the same high level of success at USCB, and one that both the University and the community will enthusiastically embrace.” – Nancy Cross – Sr. Associate Athletics Director (retired), Director of Campaigns, Purdue
“Congratulations to USCB! In Sharon Versyp, USCB has a truly exceptional coach to build and lead the new program in women’s basketball, but she is so much more. In my experience working with her as the Faculty Athletic Representative at Purdue, I have been impressed with her as an extraordinary educator, mentor, advocate and an inspirational role model for her students. – Chistie Sahley, PhD., Professor and Associate Head of Biological Sciences at Purdue, former Faculty Athletic Representative at Purdue
The Boilermakers secured an NCAA Tournament bid in nine of 15 seasons under Versyp, advancing to the Elite Eight twice and to the second round on six other occasions. In 2007, the Boilermakers earned the No. 2 seed in the Dallas Region, dispatching No. 15 seed Oral Roberts, seventh-seeded Georgia Tech and No. 3 seed Georgia before falling in the national quarterfinals. The 2009 NCAA Tournament run came as a No. 6 seed in the Oklahoma City Region, as Purdue topped 11th-seeded Charlotte, upset No. 3 seed North Carolina and moved past seventh-seeded Rutgers before suffering a six-point loss in the regional final. In addition to their Elite Eight seedings, the Boilermakers have been a No. 9 seed three times, a No. 4 seed three times and an 11-seed once in their seven other appearances. Purdue was on pace to receive an at-large bid to the 2020 NCAA Tournament, before the event’s cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purdue’s four Big Ten Tournament titles under Versyp have come in impressive and dramatic fashion, garnering a 23-11 record at the event in 15 appearances. The Boilermakers earned the 2007 and 2008 tournament titles, followed up with the 2012 and 2013 titles, and are one of just three teams in the conference to ever win consecutive tournament championships. Katie Gearlds, current Purdue head coach, led a second-seeded Boilermaker squad to the 2007 title, while the Boilermaker secured a necessary automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Tournament title with an outstanding postseason run, which was capped by a buzzer-beating, game-winner from Lakisha Freeman to edge Illinois in the championship.
The Boilermakers took the 2012 conference tournament as a No. 4 seed, knocking off top-seeded Penn State in the semifinals before winning a 74-70, double-overtime thriller over Big Ten newcomer Nebraska in the finals. The 2013 championship run was a dominant one, as Versyp’s third-seeded squad won by an average of 13.3 points per game, including a 62-47 victory over Michigan State in the finals, and Drey Mingo was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. The Boilermakers’ nine Big Ten Tournament titles are a conference-best in the tournament’s 27-year history. Purdue has been to the Big Ten title game in 14-of-27 tournaments, including six under Versyp, and the Boilermaker head coach owns the career record for Big Ten Tournament victories with 25 wins.
Versyp guided 41 All-Big Ten selections at Purdue, including six first-team selections, and four Boilermakers have been recognized with All-America honors. Gearlds was a Third Team All-America pick in 2007, while Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton received honorable mention recognition the same year and Mingo was also honorable mention All-America in 2013. Purdue has also seen five members of the conference All-Freshman Team, nine Big Ten All-Defensive Team members and a pair of Big Ten Sixth Players of the Year under Versyp, in addition to four Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Players and 16 all-tournament team members. Most recently, Ae’Rianna Harris became the third sophomore in conference history to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors, and the youngest Boilermaker ever, while Karissa McLaughlin was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Three Boilermakers have been selected in the WNBA draft during Versyp’s tenure as Gearlds was picked seventh by the Seattle Storm in 2007, while Wisdom-Hylton was selected 13th by the Los Angeles Sparks and Danielle Campbell was picked 32nd by the Indiana Fever in 2009.
As a Player at Purdue
Versyp’s Indiana roots run deep. She was named Indiana Miss Basketball in 1984 becoming the first of nine Miss Basketball’s to play for the Boilermakers, a list which most-recently includes Moses, Rayburn and Gearlds.
As a player Versyp was a fixture in the Purdue starting lineup beginning her freshman year and is one of only 10 four-year starters in Purdue women’s basketball history. She led the team in scoring three-straight seasons and still owns spots on the career record lists for scoring, field goals, free throw shooting, assists, steals and minutes played. She sits 13th on the Boilermakers’ career scoring list with 1,565 points, and ranks 10th all-time with 418 career assists and 14th with 194 career steals. Her 653 career field goals rank ninth in school history, while 79.6 career free throw shooting percentage is tied for ninth all-time at Purdue. Her 12 assists against San Diego State in 1987 remain tied for fourth-most on Purdue’s single-game record list, while her 87 career double-figure scoring games remains ninth all-time for the Boilermakers. Versyp was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Team member and Second Team Academic All-American as a senior.
Hall of Famer
Versyp’s impact on basketball in the Hoosier state was recognized on April 24, 2010, when she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility, an honor that includes Larry Bird and John Wooden. On June 22, 2013, Versyp was inducted into New England Basketball Hall of Fame for her stint as the head coach at Maine as well as her ensuing success. In addition to being named the America East Conference Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005, Versyp was named the 2007 WBCA Region VI Coach of the Year and most recently was honored as the 2014 ESPNW Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Coaching History Prior to Purdue
Versyp was the head coach at Indiana prior to Purdue, where she led her team to a 19-14 season, 9-7 in the Big Ten and the quarterfinals of the postseason WNIT. The nine-game improvement was the second largest turn-around in school history for a first-year head coach. While at Indiana, Versyp guided senior Cindi Valentin to first team All-Big Ten honors and newcomer Whitney Thomas to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
Prior to her stint with the Hoosiers, Versyp was the head coach at Maine for five seasons where she amassed a 98-51 record, including a 67-19 America East Conference record. Versyp’s teams won three-straight America East regular season championships (2003, 2004, 2005) and in 2004 also won the America East Tournament title earning an NCAA Tournament berth. Versyp was twice voted America East Coach of the Year (2003 and 2005). Her teams achieved season records of 25-6 in 2002-03 and 25-7 in 2003-04, which were the first back-to-back 25-win campaigns in school history.
Under Versyp’s guidance, Maine student-athletes earned America East, Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year designations and garnered 15 all-conference honors in her five years with the Black Bears. Versyp coached 2003 and 2004 America East Player of the Year, Heather Ernest, who went on to play professionally overseas. While at Maine, Versyp’s team ranked 13th in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Team Academic Honor Roll.
After graduating from Purdue, Versyp became a head coach in the high school ranks at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis from 1989-93. There she took a 0-18 team to a sectional runner-up finish in just two seasons. She also served as the head coach at Benton Central High School in Oxford, Ind., from 1993 to 1996.
Versyp entered the collegiate ranks in 1996-97, when she joined Bud Childers’ staff at the University of Louisville. After going 20-9, sharing the Conference USA regular-season title and an earning NCAA berth, Childers left for James Madison University. Versyp joined him in Harrisonburg, Va., serving as his top assistant and recruiting coordinator. She was there for three seasons and in 1999 helped ink a recruiting class ranked nationally in the top 25.
Photo Courtesy USCB Athletics