Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U.'s Fahey Gets Illini Women's Basketball Job

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U.'s Fahey Gets Illini Women's Basketball Job

Article excerpt

Washington University men's basketball coach Mark Edwards has spent 31 of his 36 seasons sharing a court with Nancy Fahey. Their teams traveled together, ate meals together and spent spare time together.

Finally, what could have happened many times but went unspoken became reality when Fahey became the women's basketball coach at Illinois on Wednesday.

"The two of us approached our program as being Washington University's program with two parallel teams," Edwards said. "It's kind of hard to picture the women's basketball team without Nancy sitting on the bench. But my perspective goes much deeper than that. It's like losing my little sister. We've had great conversations and learning experiences. She's taught me a lot about basketball."

Opportunities came and went for both but never were really discussed until recent days, Edwards said.

Fahey will make the jump from the D-III program to the Big Ten after winning five national championships, going to 10 Final Fours and posting a record of 737-133.

Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman, who was formerly at Washington University, made the announcement on Twitter, posting a photo of himself and Fahey early Wednesday afternoon and calling her "one of the best to ever wear a whistle."

During his two years at WU, Whitman made Fahey an assistant athletics director in addition to her coaching.

Fahey's Bears won four consecutive national titles from 1998 to 2001 and added a fifth in 2010. They were runner-up in 1994, 2007, 2009 and 2011. They reached the Elite Eight this season and finished ranked No. 6, marking the 20th year the Bears were in the top 10 when the season ended.

"Nancy's Hall of Fame coaching career stands among the most accomplished in the history of women's basketball," Whitman said in a statement. "What is more compelling to me, however, is her ability to connect with the women on her team, to push them to be better than they ever thought possible, and to help them develop as players, students, and people. …

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