Veteran College of Charleston women's basketball coach Nancy Wilson announced Tuesday that she will be retiring after the 2011-12 season, ending a 30-year coaching career at the College of Charleston and at the University of South Carolina.
In two stints at Charleston (1976-1984 and 2003-present), Wilson has compiled a 304-193 record. Wilson also spent 14 years as coach at the University of South Carolina (1984-1997), where she won another 213 games and led the Gamecocks to the NCAA tournament five times.
During her first stint at the College of Charleston, Wilson led the Cougars to seven 20-win seasons and three appearances in the AIAW Division II national championship game. Since returning in 2003, her record at the school is 111-129. Charleston advanced to the semifinals of the 2007-08 Southern Conference tournament and lost in the championship game the following season. Wilson's career coaching record is 535-442.
"When I got back into coaching at the College of Charleston (in 2003), I never would have guessed I would have done it for nine years," Wilson said. "When I got back in, each year I would evaluate whether that was the time to retire or not. When I pray about it each year, I go with how I feel I'm led. I started feeling toward the end of this season and starting thinking about retirement more seriously.
"Then things aside from basketball were starting to fall in place for my retirement. It's not one thing, it's a bunch of little things."
Director of athletics Joe Hull said Wilson has had a wonderful career.
"I don't know how many championships she won in those early days, but it's remarkable," Hull said. "The last eight years have been building the program and I think we've gotten better and improved. We're all grateful for what Nancy has done to get us back on good footing and I think we really have an opportunity to have a great future, based a great part on the efforts Nancy and her staff have made."
Hull said he has not done anything in the way of looking for a replacement and said it probably will not come until the season ends.
Wilson said when she left South Carolina after the 1997 season that she was exhausted and burned out.
"I really didn't care about the sport any more. This time it will be entirely different," Wilson said. "I'm still very much in love with it. I love coaching. I love my teams. I like the idea of getting out while I love it.
"I also think the timing in the program is good. We will have no seniors on next year's team, so I'll leave an experienced team for somebody. I wanted to coach this incoming freshman class and wanted to coach this group one more time. There are a lot of reasons to go one more year and I'm excited about it."
Wilson, who turns 60 in October, said she will retire to a family home in Surfside Beach.
"I do a lot of going back and forth now," she said. "I'm looking forward to living in that one spot and making my life from that spot. What I'm going to do when I get there, I don't really know. But I'm looking forward to having the time to figure that out."
Overall record: 535-342 ( 304-193 in 15 seasons at Charleston; 231-149 in 14 seasons at South Carolina)