WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University's Barbara Stevens, the fourth winningest coach in NCAA women's basketball history with 1,033 career victories, has been named one of 13 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. The announcement was made during a press conference late Friday afternoon during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, N.C.
Stevens is one of three finalists with Boston-area ties, the others being former Boston Celtic Paul Westphal and former Celtic head coach Bill Fitch.
The other finalists are longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, five-time NBA All-Stars Marques Johnson and Sidney Moncrief, eight-time All-NBA Defensive team honoree Bobby Jones, seven-time NBA All-Star and Academic All-America Hall of Famer Jack Sikma, four-time National College Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace, 2001 first-team All-NBA forward Chris Webber, five-time WNBA All-Star Teresa Wetherspoon and Leta Andrews, the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female.
Stevens, Wetherspoon and Andrews were selected by the Women's Screening Committee. The other ten were submitted by the North American Screening Committee.
"I am humbled and honored to be part of this elite group," said Stevens. "To be included on such a list and be considered for the Basketball Hall of Fame is truly an honor."
It's been a remarkable career for Stevens, who coached at Clark and Massachusetts for a total of nine years before her arrival at Bentley in 1986. Her 42-year record, entering Saturday's home game against Saint Anselm, is 1033-280, including 876-189 on the Falcon sidelines. Only the late Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer and Geno Auriemma have more career victories.
Stevens' Bentley tenure has included the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championships, an .823 winning percentage, 30 NCAA tournament berths, 14 NCAA regional championships, ten appearances in the national semifinals, 12 30-win seasons (including five straight from 1989-93), 20 Northeast-10 regular season championships, and breaking the school record for consecutive wins seven times. Her teams have won at least ten straight 24 times.
Stevens' list of honors include being named the WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year five times and the Northeast-10 Coach of the Year 15 times. Last month, the Barbara Stevens Court in Bentley's Dana Center was dedicated.
A 1976 graduate of Bridgewater State University, Stevens was inducted onto the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Bentley Athletic Hall of Fame the year before that. She's also in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and both the Clark University and Bridgewater State University halls of fame.
"To be named a Finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor and we are proud to recognize the outstanding men and women who have impacted the game," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "We congratulate our finalists and looking forward to revealing the Class of 2019 at the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis this spring."
The Class of 2019 will be announced at a press conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the NCAA Men's Final Four. Enshrinees from the Direct Elect Committees are also recognized at the NCAA Men's Final Four and include Early African-American Pioneers, International, Contributors, Veterans and the new Women Veterans. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2019 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, September 5-7, 2019.