Woodard, the talented Wichita native, started making her mark early on the basketball court. As a ninth grader at Marshall Junior High School, Woodard was asked by the coach at Wichita North High to join the junior varsity team, but she declined. She preferred to wait until the following year to join the varsity team. At five-foot-eleven, Woodard was a standout in women's high school basketball. As a sophomore, she led her team to win the 5A state championship in 1975 and two years later received national recognition as an all-American high school team member.
Woodard took her team-playing philosophy to the University of Kansas in 1977. The Lady Jayhawks won three straight Big Eight Championships during Woodard's career with a 108-32 record (1978-1981). Woodard scored a total of 3,649 points in four years. Many of her records and honors are still unchallenged today.
The Kansan next put her talent to work for the U.S. Olympics. In 1980 Woodard was selected as one of twelve on the Olympic women's basketball team, but due to the U.S.-led boycott, her team did not participate. However, Woodard led a second Olympic women's basketball team to victory and to a gold medal in 1984.
In 1985 Woodard was signed as the first woman on the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. She played as a Globetrotter for two years before competing professionally on Japanese and Italian teams. In 1990 she was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. The Cleveland Rockers signed her in 1997 to play in the new Women's National Basketball Association.
Woodard served as the first athletics director for the Kansas City (Mo.) School District, as vice president of marketing for Magna Securities Corporation in New York City. In 1999 she began work as special assistant for external relations and women's basketball at the KU Athletics department, and head coach beginning in 2004. She was named one of Sports Illustrated's hundred greatest women athletes in 1999. In 2005, Lynette Woodard was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dr. Robelyn Garcia
Dr. Robelyn Garcia had a stellar prep school, college and professional basketball career. As an all-star shooting guard she has had high scoring games of 56, 46, and 40 points. As a professional player Garcia won the first WBA championship alongside her Kansas Crusaders teammates in 1993. The following year her Kansas City Mustangs team went undefeated with a 15-0 record. She was also a 4-time WBA All-Star featured on the collector WBA All-Star Card Set by Fair Play Sports. “Robbie” lead the nation in scoring her freshman year in college with 31.5 ppg, she was a NJCAA VI All-American, and she is the career all-time leading scorer at Dodge City College where she is being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in May, 2015.
Dr. Garcia has been a multidisciplinary professor for over twenty-five years. She currently teaches criminology, bio-gerontology and lifespan health and wellness at Arizona State University (ASU), Senior University and Personal Professors Online Academy. Dr. Garcia has eight college degrees and is currently working on her second doctorate at ASU as a Post-Doc Scholar in the Behavioral Health Program. In addition to her teaching she has several publications and has most recently been awarded a seat on the editorial board of International Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Colleagues, family and friends call Dr. Garcia an academic nomad and basketball gypsy because she has played, studied and worked at so many universities and lived in so many places. She has taught and studied at 23 colleges and lived in 11 different states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, British Columbia (Canada) and Nuevo León (Mexico). So far she has lived in 21 cities with the most time accumulated in Scottsdale, AZ, Wichita, KS, and Paradise Valley, AZ. Garcia is currently a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona where she is excited to be launching her “Dr. Robelyn Garcia Scholarship” program in mid 2015.
Cooper was raised in the Watts section of Los Angeles. She began playing organized basketball at age 16 and quickly took to the sport. She earned a scholarship to the University of Southern California, where she played in the shadow of Cheryl Miller while helping the team to national championships in 1983 and 1984. After college Cooper played professionally in Europe, primarily for a team in Parma, Italy, where she blossomed into a potent scorer and a tenacious defender. She was a member of the 1988 U.S. national team that won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul.
By the end of the WNBA’s inaugural season, Cooper had established herself as the league’s first great player. Cooper helped lead the Comets to titles in 1998, 1999, and 2000, each time being recognized as the MVP of the play-offs. She was named the league MVP for the second time in 1998. Cooper retired in 2000 and became the head coach of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury the following year. She returned to playing basketball in 2003 and permanently retired from the game in 2004 with WNBA career per-game averages of 21 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.56 steals. Cooper was named the women’s basketball head coach at Prairie View (Texas) A&M University in 2005. She was selected for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Hill is currently in her second season as an assistant coach with the University of Arizona Wild- cats women’s basketball staff. She spent 7 seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois (her Alma Mater), where she was a standout player, MVP, held countless records and holds a space in the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame. E. C., played over 12 years of professional basketball, 4 of those were in the WNBA, the remaining 7 years in Europe, 1 in the ABL. Before the WNBA she would spend 1 season playing for the Chicago Twisters (WBA).
Hill is an NIU Athletics alumni and Illinois Basketball Coaches’ Association Hall of Famer. Her name can be found throughout the Northern Illinois women’s basketball record book. As a player, she helped lead the Huskies to three-straight NCAA Tournament berths under NIU Hall of Fame coach Jane Albright. She was named a first-team U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association All-American, a Kodak District Four All- American, a preseason Street & Smith’s and Basketball Times All-American, Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year, first-team All-Mid-Con and All-Mid- Con Tournament on a 25-6 NCAA Tourney squad that won the 1993-94 Mid-Con regular-season title with an 18-0 record. Hill led the league and ranked 16th nationally in scoring (22.0 ppg.). A two-time Northern Illinois MVP (1992-93, 1993-94), Hill was named the North Star Conference Newcomer of the Year with a 14.2 points per game average in 1991-92.
E.C. graduated from Northern Illinois in 1995 with a degree in communications. Hill’s first coaching opportunity came at Robert Morris College in Chicago. She served as head coach during the 2004-05 season before returning to NIU for the 2005-06 campaign. Hill played professional basketball for the Chicago Twisters (1995), New England Blizzard (1996-99), Chicago Condors (1998-99) in the American Basketball League, with the Charlotte Sting (2000), Phoenix Mercury (2001), Los Angeles Sparks (2001) and Orlando Miracle (2002) in the WNBA and in many cities in Europe.
She graduated from Northern Illinois in 1995 with a degree in communications. Hill has a daughter, Asia Janay Murray. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Standing six feet tall in seventh grade, Leslie hated it when people would ask her if she played basketball. But after reluctantly picking up the sport in middle school, she was hooked. While at Morningside High School in Los Angeles, she led the team to two state championships. In college at the University of Southern California, she set several Pac-10 conference records for points and rebounds. In her final year at University of Southern California, Leslie was named the 1994 National Player of the Year. She made her first trip to the Olympics in 1996 held in Atlanta, Georgia. There she helped the U.S. team take home the gold medal in women's basketball. That same year, Leslie also launched a modeling career.
Leslie landed a contract with the WNBA in 1997, becoming one of the new league's first players. She joined the Los Angeles Sparks and had an impressive career with the team. In 2001, she was the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. Leslie also led the Los Angeles Sparks to two back-to-back WNBA Championships—in 2001 and 2002. In addition to her outstanding performance with the Sparks, Leslie returned to Olympic competition three more times. She helped the U.S. team win gold in 2000 and in 2004.
Leslie picked up two more WBNA MVP honors—in 2004 and 2006. She sat out of the 2007 WNBA season because she was pregnant with her first child, but she wasn't away from the courts for long. Leslie returned to the Sparks in 2008. She also earned her fourth and final gold medal in women's basketball that summer at the Olympics in Beijing, China. In 2009, she announced that she was retiring from professional basketball. Leslie scored more than 6,200 points during her twelve years with the WNBA. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman in the league to make a slam-dunk during an official game.
In 2009, Leslie added becoming an author to her already long list of accomplishments. She released her autobiography, Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You, before playing her final season with the Sparks. Since her retirement, Leslie has worked as a sports commentator and analyst for such channels as ABC, NBC and Fox Sports Net among others.
Leslie returned to her beloved Sparks team in 2011, but this time as an investor, not a player. She is now one of the team's owners, and has also decided to share her knowledge and skills with others through the Lisa Leslie Basketball & Leadership Academy.
Lisa Leslie is married to Michael Lockwood. The couple has two children, son Michael Joseph and daughter Lauren Jolie.
Sarah Campbell is a native of Kansas City where she pioneered the sport of Women’s Basketball. As a freshman in high school she led her team to the State Championship Class 3A. She went on to receive national awards gaining All American status as she scored 54 points in a single game setting both the boys and girls scoring record. Upon arriving to the University of Missouri-Columbia where she was a 4 year starter her success continued. While at MU she represented the United States with the Sports Festival Team. She went on to also represent the United States as a member of the ABA-Jones Cup International Team, where she averaged 10 points and 10 assists per game playing the point guard position. After winning the gold medal, Sarah was then invited to try out for the United States Olympic Women’s Basketball Team.
After college Sarah played a season with the Swedish Federation where she was a standout leading her team averaging over 30 points per game. Upon returning to the United States Sarah continued her professional career with the Missouri Mustangs. As she led her team to victories gaining scoring titles along the way with a 54 point game then later a 62 point game to set scoring records. That year she gained her first MVP title. Sarah went on to receive two additional MVP awards with the KC Mustangs.
Sarah retired from Women’s Professional Basketball and embarked into the Coaching scene. She has coached in the high school ranks as well as the collegiate ranks. Sarah is currently coaching in the professional ranks with the Kansas Nuggets in the WBCBL League.