Donna Wise, left, head basketball coach for Campbellsville University’s Lady Tiger Basketball Team for 32 years, is inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame by Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame President Jim Ellis.
April 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
It may have taken 32 years for the 661 victories, but it didn’t take nearly that long to gain the love and respect of her former players and the adoring admiration of a Lady Tiger fan base
Just when you thought that a coach who retired three seasons ago and had won virtually every honor a women’s basketball coach could possibly win, Donna Wise, Campbellsville University’s all-time winningest coach, was inducted into The Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wise joined seven other Hall of Fame inductees on Wednesday at the Crowne Point Hotel in Louisville, Ky. where she accepted the honor in front of an audience of 650 people.
“I agree with one author’s comparison of success to an iceberg,” Wise told the gathering. “I am the recipient of the accomplishments which you see above the water, but underneath it all, is that big, wide, strong base … the rest of the team.”
Donna Wise, who won nearly 71 percent of her basketball games, deflected much of the spotlight to her players.
“Giving credit to that base – the group who builds the character to make that iceberg stronger, is what I would like to do tonight,” she said.
“I’m just pleased for the program and the recognition that this might bring to it,” Wise said when she first learned that she would be honored. “I’m happy for the players who contributed to my success and the university’s.
“Just being in the company with all the people who have been recognized over the years is a special honor.”
Joining Wise at this year’s induction ceremony were University of Kentucky All-American Mike Pratt, former University of Louisville quarterback Jeff Brohm, NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, SEC football pioneer Wilbur Hacket, Western Kentucky All-American basketball player Lillie Mason, former UK offensive lineman Dan Neal, and golf trick-shot artist Buddy Demling. She is the second person from Taylor County – the first being Clem Haskins – to be so honored by the the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
A plaque with her image and many of her accomplishments will be placed in Freedom Hall along with the plaques of all Hall of Fame recipients.
“This is a wonderful honor and recognition of the way Donna poured herself into the lives of her players and students,” said Dr. Michael V. Carter, Campbellsville University president.
Wise coached at Campbellsville University for 30-plus years and retired after her 32nd season. She remains at the university and heads the Department of Human Performance.
She coached more than 660 wins for the Lady Tigers, nearly 71 percent of her games and is in the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame. She has coached 23 NAIA All-Americans and was herself named NAIA Coach of the Year three times and conference Coach of the Year seven times. Her teams played in 16 national tournaments, winning 17 regular season conference titles.
Ginger Colvin, who played under Wise, was her assistant and has now taken over as head coach of the Lady Tigers said:
“It’s hard for me to put into words what she has meant to the program and to me personally. Her determination and work ethic – the way she studied the game and her opponents was the best training I could have had.
“I know I’ll never be able to duplicate what she has done, but to carrying on the Lady Tiger tradition is as much an honor for me as, I’m sure, the Hall of Fame honor is for her.”
Wise may have been and still is one of Campbellsville’s most recognizable ambassadors. She said she had the opportunity to wear “Campbellsville” throughout the United States and internationally throughout her 32-year career.
“I want to thank my players. The specialness of tonight is that my induction is a tribute to all the young women who are the base of that iceberg.”
The banquet raised $70,000 for Kosair Children’s Hospital – a hospital with which Wise is familiar. Her grandson, Carter, was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer at the age of six months. Her grandson presently has a clean bill of health, but the experience has been a focal point for Wise for the need for research dollars. She asked everyone in attendance to consider making Kosairs part of their giving regimen.
HALL OF FAME DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
Donna Wise’s Career at a Glance
661-283 Overall Record
.830 Home Winning Percentage
16 NAIA National Tournament Appearances, including five Elite Eight (1983, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002)
20 Mid-South and KIAC Conference Regular Season Championships (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004)
3 Mid-South Conference Tournament Championships
15 NAIA Conference Championships (6 times KIAC Regular Season Champions; 4 times KIAC Tournament Champions; and 6 times NAIA District Champions)
15 NAIA and KIAC District Coach of the Year Awards (1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004)
4 Kentucky Women’s Intercollegiate Conference Titles
23 All-Americans with 57 All-American Awards
NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame (2000)
5-time Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year (1983, 1990, 1992-93, 1995-96, 2002-03)
Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumnus (2005)
Campbellsville University Hall of Fame (2007)
NAIA District Golf Coach of the Year (1989)
KWIC Basketball Coach of the Year (1993)
2-time Citizens for Sports Equity Coach of the Year (1992, 1997)
AWSF Basketball Coach of the Year (1993)
Converse District 7 Basketball Coach of the Year (1994)