Chatman was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, a collection of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, based on her coaching performance this season.
This year, in her first season as head coach and 14th season at LSU, Chatman led the Lady Tigers to the school's best regular season record (27-1, 14-0 SEC) and the program's first Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season title. The second-ranked Lady Tigers won 16 of their last 17 games and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Chatman's success at the helm garnered her SEC Coach of the Year honors from both the Associated Press and SEC coaches.
"There is nothing ‘rookie' about Coach Chatman's performance during her first season," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "In just one season she has accomplished what usually takes years – she has established herself among the elite in college basketball coaching, and has emerged as one of the best in the business."
Chatman became the fourth head coach in LSU Women's Basketball history in April of 2004 after stepping into the role of acting head coach when Sue Gunter fell ill during the 2003-2004 season. In Gunter's absence, Chatman led the Lady Tigers to a 15-5 record, a second-place finish in the SEC and their first Final Four appearance in school history. Chatman's leadership earned her the Black Coaches Association's National Coach of the Year honors for her efforts for LSU during the 2003-2004 season.
The Naismith Awards program has become an emblem of excellence for the game, recognizing the men's and women's college players, coaches and officials of the year, and the male and female high school players of the year.