WBHOF to induct six more this weekend

June 13, 2008

KNOXVILLE – The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame will honor its tenth group of inductees on June 14 at the Historic Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tenn. The Induction Weekend, “Our Dream…Our Game…Our World; Embracing the game, one woman at a time,” kicks off a year-long anniversary celebration.

The six members of the Class of 2008 are: award-winning official Patty Broderick, head coach of Central Arizona College Lin L. Laursen, head coach of the University of Virginia Debbie Ryan, former All-American at both the University of Tennessee and Wayland Baptist College Jill Rankin Schneider, best 5-4 basketball player of all time Suzie McConnell-Serio and three-time Olympian Michele Timms.

Since 1972, Broderick has officiated at the high school, college, international and professional levels. Broderick was the first woman to officiate the Pan American Games, and the second woman to ever officiate an Olympics when she worked the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Currently, Broderick is the coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officiating Consortium, which includes eight different conferences.

Central Arizona College’s head coach Lin L. Laursen has tallied an overall record of 971-145 in 34 seasons. Since 1974, Laursen has led Central Arizona to 29 ACCAC Titles, including 21consecutive and tallied 185 consecutive conference wins over a nine-year span. The basketball court at Central Arizona is named after Laursen, where she also coached volleyball and softball for eight years. Laursen retired from CAC at the culmination of the 2007-08 season.

Virginia women’s basketball head coach Debbie Ryan has made 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, three consecutive Final Four berths (1990-92) and is the seventh coach in NCAA Women’s Basketball history to reach the 600-win milestone at the same school. Ryan lead the 2001 USA Basketball team to the gold medal in the World University Games, and the 2003 team to a silver medal at the Pan American Games.

Jill Rankin Schneider is one of the few players ever to receive Kodak All-America status at two different universities, Wayland Baptist College and the University of Tennessee. Rankin Schneider scored 1000 points in a single season at Wayland and was voted MVP of the Southeastern Conference and the Tennessee women’s basketball team in 1980. In 2004, Schneider was named an SEC Women’s Basketball “Former Great” honoree.

Recently named by Sports Illustrated as the best 5-4 basketball player of all time, male of female, Suzie McConnell-Serio holds NCAA records for career assists (1,307), assists in a seasons (355) and season assist average (11.8) from her time at Penn State. McConnell-Serio coached the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx to back-to-back playoff appearances and was named WNBA Coach of the Year in 2004. She most recently joined the college coaching ranks by completing her first season at Duquesne.

Three-time Olympian Michele Timms led the Australian National Team to its first Olympic medal, the bronze, in 1996 and was captain of the Australian team that won the silver medal in 2000. Timms was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. She was a member of the Phoenix Mercury from 1997-2001 and was the first Mercury player and the second WNBA player to have a jersey retired. Timms is currently an assistant coach for the Chinese Olympic team.

Combined, these six individuals boast four Olympic medals, 13 Coach of the Year honors, have been involved with or appeared in 20 Final Fours and have coached over 2,000 wins.

The induction festivities will begin Friday, June 13, with a private inductee tour of the WBHOF at 2 p.m., and a special media session (open to all members of the news media with a credential) will also take place on Friday from 3-4 p.m. at the WBHOF.
The celebration continues Friday evening, when the WBHOF hosts a private welcome dinner for the inductees, past and present, their family and friends, and WBHOF Board Members. Each member of the Class of 2008 will receive a diamond basketball pin and a commemorative autographed basketball during a special presentation.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, the public is invited to a free Inductee autograph session at the WBHOF. In addition to attending the autograph session, the public can tour the WBHOF’s museum free of charge from 9 a.m. – 3p.m. on Saturday. At 6 p.m., the Induction Gala Reception, featuring a live and silent auction to benefit the WBHOF, will begin.

Thanks to the generosity of an incredible number of supporters of the WBHOF locally, nationally and internationally, the Auction this year will be truly exceptional. This Silent Auction has something for everyone at any age, and the proceeds from the auction will help fund the WBHOF’s extensive youth programming and community outreach.

Items featured in the Silent Auction include: a four-night stay in Orlando, including two round trip airline tickets on Allegiant air and Disney admission, two guest coaching spots for various visiting teams during the Tennessee Lady Vols 2008-09 home basketball season, tickets to an Atlanta Braves game with hotel accommodations and car rental, as well as a number of Smokey Mountain packages that include accommodations and show tickets. There are numerous other autographed items, gift certificates, sports memorabilia, and excursion packages. For more information on auction packages, visit our website, www.wbhof.com.

Following the auction, transportation will be provided from the WBHOF to the Bijou Theatre, where the Induction ceremony will begin at 8 p.m.

The ceremony will be hosted by “Guest Hosts,” ESPN personalities Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli, and radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill, the “Master of Ceremonies,” who also co-wrote “The Dream,” the official theme song of the WBHOF. During the ceremony, “The Dream” will be performed by Evelyn Jack.

In addition to celebrating each inductee’s crowning basketball achievements with the presentation of “The Eastman” award, the Induction ceremony will feature the music of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the WBHOF Choir as well as a special performance by nationally-acclaimed singer/song-writer, Jasper Sawyer.

During Induction 2008, the WBHOF will observe the following special hours for the general public: Friday, June 13, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sunday, June 15, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WBHOF Induction 2008 tickets are available online at http://www.wbhof.com, by phone at (865) 633-9000, or by visiting the WBHOF ticket office. If you have not yet requested credentials, but would like to cover this event, please contact Karen Tucker at ktucker@wbhof.com.

(Women's Basketball Hall of Fame)

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