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Women’s college basketball: Iowa State’s Fennelly agrees to extension

AMES – Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly will reach a milestone season next fall when he begins his 25th season on the sidelines in Ames.

And, after agreeing to a three-year contract extension Thursday, the dean of Big 12 coaches, will continue his tenure at Iowa State beyond the anniversary campaign. Fennelly’s contract extension runs through June 30, 2025.

“I love this place,” Fennelly said in his post-game comments Monday. “I love everything about it. I love coming to work. I love telling people I coach and work at Iowa State.”

The appreciation for Fennelly is equally strong.

“Bill built a program from scratch and, more impressively, maintained major success for more than two decades,” Athletics Director Jamie Pollard said. “There’s a loyalty factor and a commitment (to Iowa State) factor with Bill that isn’t very typical today. He has been fully invested in the ‘Iowa State Way’ for a long time and our fan base has reaped the benefits.”

As Fennelly prepares for his silver anniversary season in Ames, he will join a list of peers with at least 25 years working at one school that includes the likes of Geno Auriemma (34 years at UConn), Doug Bruno (33, DePaul), Sylvia Hatchell (33, North Carolina), Tara VanDerveer (33, Stanford) and Muffet McGraw (32, Notre Dame).

Fennelly is also climbing the list of longest-tenured coaches in Iowa State history, which includes Jack McGuire (men’s swimming, 34 years), Cap Timm (baseball, 33), Harold Nichols (wrestling, 32), Dale Anderson (men’s golf, 30), Hugo Otopalik (wrestling, 28) and Bill Bergan (men’s cross country, 25).

Fennelly won his 500th game at Iowa State last season and has a 24-year record of 505-262 (.658) with the Cyclones. His career mark over 31 years is 671-315 (.618). His career win total is 14th nationally among active coaches.

“Both (Iowa State President) Dr. Wendy Wintersteen and I wanted to extend our support to Bill in light of the fact that my tenure with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee begins this fall,” Pollard said. “I will miss some Cyclone games with my committee work, so we wanted to re-state and extend our support for Bill’s leadership of this program.”

Fennelly’s 2018-19 team was 26-9, finished second in both the Big 12 regular-season standings and the Big 12 Tournament and hosted two games in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. It was Fennelly’s 20th season with at least 20 victories, making him one of only 13 active coaches with that distinction. He is one of 13 finalists for the 2019 U.S. Marine Corps / WBCA National Coach of the Year award.

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