Hathaway Sets Course For Women's BBCoaching Search

Colorado State University Director of Athletics Jeffrey Hathaway said today that a national search to replace women's basketball coach Tom Collen will begin immediately.

Collen was named head coach at Vanderbilt University Monday following five seasons in Fort Collins, where he compiled a 129-33 record. Collen, whose wife Nicki was an assistant coach for the team, led the Rams to four NCAA Tournament appearances, one postseason NIT bid, and a preseason WNIT championship, in 1998-99. The 1998-99 team, led by All-American and current WNBA standout Becky Hammon, finished with a 33-3 record and advanced to the regional semifinals.

"On behalf of Colorado State University, I want to thank Tom and Nicki for their hard work and dedication to the women's basketball program. Colorado State's program is recognized as one of the finest in the nation, thanks in part to Tom's hard work and dedication," said Hathaway. "He and his staff have worked diligently to provide a quality experience for our student-athletes. Everyone associated with our program wishes Tom and Nicki the best of luck in their new opportunity at Vanderbilt University.

"Because of the success that we have enjoyed, we were aware there was the possibility that he would leave this program. In the past few weeks, we granted permission to four other prominent institutions to speak with him, including Vanderbilt. It is a tribute to the success of the program at Colorado State that other nationally-prominent programs would be interested in him.

"Our focus is squarely on the success and growth of our women's basketball program. We plan to move as quickly as possible, but with utmost care and efficiency. Through a thorough national search process, we will find an individual committed to the continued growth and success of our program and the student-athletes both academically and athletically."

Colorado State has earned a reputation as one of the top programs in the nation. The Rams have appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times in the past five seasons under Collen's guidance, and five times in seven seasons overall including the first-ever invitation by then-coach Greg Williams in 1996. Williams is now the head coach of the Detroit Shock of the WNBA.

The Rams' next coach inherits a team that lost but one senior, MVP and first-team all-conference performer Angie Gorton. Colorado State finished 24-7 last season and won the regular-season MWC championship. The Rams were ranked among the top 25 throughout the season and at one point climbed as high as 15th. Nine of the team's top scorers and rebounders from 2001-02 return next season, including Ashley Augspurger, who led the Rams' in scoring in 2001 and was a first-team all-league and academic all-conference selection.

"We have a tremendous group of players who have shown a commitment to succeed both on the playing floor and in the classroom as student-athletes," said Hathaway. Rams' women's basketball continues to be popular on campus and in the community. Colorado State finished last season with a 15-1 home record including a win over defending national champion Notre Dame and a third consecutive win over in-state rival Colorado. During the past five seasons.

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