June 19, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Sharon Fanning feels blessed to be a part of the Mississippi State women''s basketball program.
In 14 years as head coach, Fanning has won 233 games and has led the Lady Bulldogs to the postseason 10 times.
This past season was one of the program''s best. MSU went 23-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Fanning was rewarded Thursday for the program''s success.
The State College Board, Institutions of Higher Learning approved a four-year contract extension that will pay Fanning $230,000 per year. The deal will allow MSU to keep Fanning at the school through the 2012-2013 season.
"I want to thank everyone associated with this program in any kind of way," Fanning said. "We are in this together. It is a family, and there are many, many, man people who are part of whatever success I am involved with"
Fanning, the school''s all-time winningest coach, has helped the Lady Bulldogs advance to five NCAA tournaments and five WNITs.
Entering her 34th season this year, Fanning has won 556 games as a coach.
"We''re excited coach Fanning will lead our women''s basketball program for the next four years," Mississippi State Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said. "This new contract symbolizes our commitment to her and our goal of making our coaches'' salaries competitive with their peers in the Southeastern Conference. It also rewards her team''s accomplishments over the past few seasons, including their NCAA tournament berth last year, and the expectation level we have for a strong team returning next year."
MSU returns its top four scorers and five players who started at least 10 games last season. Rising senior guard Alexis Rack, a first-team All-SEC pick at guard, paced the team last season with 14.9 points per game.
"I think it is a great time to be involved with Mississippi State," Fanning said. "Our president expects success across the board within the university. Combining his support and encouragement with our athletics director, we realize they expect success in the athletics arena and we go to work and do our best to be successful.
"The success of our student-athletes on and off the court and the way they represent the program is a big part of what I consider our success. That is something I pray for and hope to have that opportunity to continue. I am very thankful for the support and the confidence of the administration."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.