Former Georgia Lady Bulldog head coach and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Andy Landers has been named the 2016 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Friday.
Landers joins legendary Louisville coach Denny Crum in this year’s class, as Crum was named the 2016 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball.
“It is indeed an honor of the highest order to be recognized by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and humbling to be named as a Naismith Outstanding Contributor,” said Landers. “I have long admired the leadership role the Atlanta Tipoff Club has taken in both promoting our sport and recognizing outstanding achievements. Knowing that this award is presented by basketball’s most respected organization makes it even more meaningful.”
Landers, a native of Maryville, Tennessee, and four-time National Coach of the Year, amassed 944 career wins during coaching stops at Roane State (1975-79) and Georgia (1979-2015) — a total that ranks No. 5 all-time in NCAA women’s basketball history.
After becoming the first full-time head coach of the Georgia Lady Bulldogs in 1979, Landers built UGA into one of the top programs in the nation year in and year out. During his 36 seasons in Athens, Landers led Georgia to 31 NCAA tournaments, five Final Fours, 17 top-10 finishes, seven SEC titles and four SEC tournament championships.
Perhaps even more impressive was what he helped his players accomplish off the court. Every four-year letterwinner who played for Landers graduated with a degree from the University of Georgia. Thirty-nine former Lady Bulldogs went on to play professionally, with 25 of those playing in the WNBA.
First presented in 1982 to Curt Gowdy, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award is presented annually to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game of basketball. The recipients display character, integrity and dignity, and have contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of basketball. Voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Crum and Landers will be honored this fall.