December 23, 2021 

Whalen, Cash highlight 2022 Naismith nomination list

Texas A&M head coach and women's basketball pioneer Gary Blair highlights list of coach nominees

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (HoF) announced earlier this week the list of eligible candidates for the Class of 2022. Several notable women’s basketball players and coaches are on the nomination list, including first-time nominees Lindsay Whalen and Gary Blair.

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Lindsay Whalen is the only first-time player nominee on the Class of 2022 HoF list. Whalen, who currently coaches at her alma mater Minnesota, is a four-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Across her 16 season career in the WNBA she became the winningest player in WNBA history (307 wins).

Notable player nominees

Other notable players on the nomination list include Swin Cash, Becky Hammon, Jennifer Azzi and Kim Mulkey. Cash is a two-time NCAA champion, three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. She is part of an exclusive club of WNBA players who tallied 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists for a career.

Hammon was a standout guard at Colorado State who worked her way onto a WNBA roster. Across 16 seasons in the league she scored 5,841, dished out 1,708 assists and drained 829 threes. She led the San Antonio Stars to the franchise’s first-ever WNBA finals in 2008. Hammon has been an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs since her retirement from playing in the WNBA in 2014.

Jennifer Azzi won an NCAA title and Naismith Player of the Year award at Stanford in 1990. She was a member of the 1996 Olympic women’s basketball “dream team” that won gold in Atlanta and inspired the American Basketball League (ABL) and WNBA. Azzi was one of the original players on the ABL’s San Jose Lasers. She also played five seasons in the WNBA.

Kim Mulkey played at Louisiana Tech from 1980-84 with the Lady Techsters reaching the Final Four each of those years. She led La. Tech to the AIAW championship in 1981 and the inaugural NCAA championship in 1982. She was also a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women’s basketball team in the 1984 Olympics. The Louisiana native, currently head coach at LSU, was inducted to the HoF as a coach with the Class of 2020.

Coaches being considered

Gary Blair highlights the list of coaches included on the HoF nomination list. While inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, this is Blair’s first nomination for the Naismith HoF. Blair will retire at the end of the 2021-22 season as one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. He has led Texas A&M to eight Sweet Sixteen appearances, three Elite Eights and the 2011 NCAA national championship.

Also nominated to the 2022 HoF class is Marianne Stanley. The Indiana Fever head coach has achieved both WNBA and NCAA success in her 40-plus-year coaching career. Stanley compiled an overall collegiate coaching record of 416-222 (.652) including an NCAA national championship with Old Dominion in 1985. Prior to taking over the Fever in 2020 she served as a head coach and an assistant coach for several WNBA franchises. She was WNBA coach of the year in 2002.

HoF Finalists will be announced during NBA All-Star Weekend, which is scheduled for Friday, February 18th in Cleveland, Ohio. The Enshrinement ceremony will take place in Springfield, Mass., September 9-10, 2022.

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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