Feb 4, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Only two coaches in women's Division I basketball history have reached the 900 win mark. North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell will soon join that list.
Hatchell has come a long way since her first head coaching gig leading 7th and 8th grade girls in Talbott, Tenn. where she made a hefty $200.
"One time, I remember, we lost two or three games in a row and I just couldn't take it," Hatchell said. "I actually went and applied for a job at UPS because I just couldn't take losing."
Luckily for her - and the Heels - she hasn't lost much since then.
"I've got more rings than I do fingers and toes," Hatchell said.
The Gatstonia native has racked up the honors, including eight ACC championships, three Final Fours, and the crown jewel of her 27-year career at Carolina, the 1994 National Championship on a buzzer-beating three.
"I tell people all the time, us winning the National Title on Easter Sunday, the way we did, was the second biggest miracle on Easter," Hatchell said.
Count them all up, and Hatchell enters the week sitting on 899 career victories, just one away from a milestone shared only by Texas' Jody Conradt and the legendary Pat Summitt.
"Both Pat and Jody have been mentors to me, especially Pat," Hatchell said. "Pat and I are the same age and we were in graduate school together at Tennessee. Pat recommended me for this job at North Carolina."
Her next crack for No. 900 comes Thursday when the Tar Heels visit Boston College.
At season's end, Hatchell said she plans to embark on what she calls a "thank you gratification circuit" to everyone who ever helped her along her coaching path. But it is not to be confused for a retirement tour.
"I want to win a whole lot more games for the University of North Carolina.” Hatchell said. “With the class I've got coming in, and the team I've got now, I'd be crazy to retire."