Former NU coach Paul Sanderford inducted into basketball Hall of Fame

Posted at 1:50 PM, Jun 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-11 14:50:34-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — Tiny Louisburg (N.C.) College now has two former coaches in national athletic Halls of Fame.

On Saturday, Paul Sanderford, former Louisburg, Western Kentucky and University of Nebraska-Lincoln women’s basketball coach, is being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sanderford won a national title at Louisburg in 1981 and later took his Western Kentucky teams to three Final Fours, including the national title game in 1992.

He served as the Cornhuskers’ head coach from 1997 to 2002, leading them to the preseason National Invitational Tournament’s championship game in 1997 and three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Sanderford compiled an overall record of 616 wins and 208 at his three schools and still holds the record for most coaching wins at Western Kentucky at 365.

Sanderford was instrumental in guiding a fellow Louisburg coach, Terry Pettit, to Nebraska, where Pettit established the Cornhuskers as a national volleyball power.

As the story goes, Sanderford fished out of the wastebasket an advertisement for the open NU job and handed it to Pettit, who got the coaching position in 1977. Pettit went on to lead NU to its first national title in women’s volleyball, and later to be inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame.

Pettit, who is serving as a temporary, volunteer coach for Northern Colorado this summer, said he remembered Sanderford as an exceptional recruiter who emphasized defense with his teams.

At Louisburg, Pettit said he used Sanderford’s basketball players to begin building a volleyball program there.

Sanderford is the father of Nebraska Examiner political reporter Aaron Sanderford.

Others inducted Friday into the women’s basketball hall were: Debbie Antonelli (broadcaster), Alice “Cookie” Barron (Wayland Baptist veteran player), Doug Bruno (DePaul coach), Becky Hammon (Colorado State player), DeLisha Milton-Jones (WNBA and U.S. Olympic player), Bob Schneider (West Texas A&M coach) and Penny Taylor (WNBA and Australian Olympic team player).

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