UCO’s Hardaker announces retirement

University of Central Oklahoma’s Guy Hardaker announced that he will retire from his post as head women’s basketball coach after a 16-year career leading the program at his alma mater.
“Aside from my wife and my kids this truly was one of the greatest joys of my life,” Hardaker said. “To get to come here every day, do something you love. This was such a joy.
“This is my school,” Hardaker continued. “I went here. My wife went here. My kids went here. One of the things I think has been special is to see the growth of this campus from the early 1980s to now.
“I want to thank the administration for supporting me and the women’s basketball programs, all the coaches, and all the players and every one that has supported us. It means a lot.”
Hardaker was introduced at a luncheon at the UCO Jazz Lab April 5, 2006 as the fourth head women’s basketball coach in Central’s history. His storied run with the Bronchos ends 16 years and 298 wins later.
“I’m so grateful to Guy Hardaker for his years of loyalty and service to UCO,” Central director of Athletics Stan Wagnon said. “Our athletics department and women’s basketball student-athletes, in particular, have benefited significantly from Guy’s dedication, ingenuity and competitive spirit. He’s a true champion, both on the court and off, and we celebrate his many contributions while also wishing him the very best in a well-deserved retirement.”
Hardaker first came to Central State University in 1982 to play baseball for the Bronchos. A three-year star in the middle infield, Hardaker led the Bronchos to over 100 wins in three seasons and became the first player ever taken in the Major League Baseball Draft following his junior season in 1984.
Hardaker was a two-time All-District 9 selection and is in the UCO Athletics Hall of Fame as a baseball player.
After his baseball career, which took him up to Triple-A ball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, Hardaker returned to Edmond to begin his coaching career.
He was an assistant boy’s basketball coach and head girls’ golf coach at Edmond Memorial High School for six years before moving to the newly opened Edmond Santa Fe High School to start the boy’s basketball program there. He coached Santa Fe for the next 13 years, winning 173 games, including the 2005 Oklahoma class 6A state championship.
Hardaker had Santa Fe ranked as high as 11th in the nation during the 2005-06 season and made the state semifinals that March. He was hired by the Bronchos a month later.
“The opportunity is just unbelievable for me,” Hardaker said on April 5, 2006 at his introductory press conference. “It’s an opportunity to stay in a community that I love, having lived in Edmond for 25 years, and it’s an opportunity to go to the university I grew up in.”
Hardaker didn’t waste too much time finding success at UCO.
He went 15-13 in his first season and led Central to a Lone Star Conference North Division runner-up finish. He took the team to the national tournament in Year 2, something that had yet to be done since UCO moved to Division II 15 years earlier.
Hardaker led the Bronchos to four straight NCAA appearances from 2008-11. The Bronchos reached the Sweet 16 in both 2009 and 2011.
Central Oklahoma was independent for one year before transitioning to the MIAA in 2012. After a couple of years of adjusting, Hardaker had the Bronchos competing at a high level once again.
UCO went to nine consecutive MIAA Basketball Championships in each of the past nine seasons under Hardaker.
He led the team back to the NCAA Division II national tournament in 2017 for a fifth time.
Hardaker coached all three of the top three leading scorers in school history and four of the top six rebounders in school history. He coached 25 all-conference postseason award winners and five of the seven Bronchos to ever earn All-American honors played under Hardaker.
“We do what we do for the kids,” Hardaker said. “It’s all about the relationships you develop with these kids.”
UCO will begin its head women’s basketball coaching search immediately.


Tagged with: