Graig Mantle

As both a player and a coach, Cal Poly women’s basketball head coach Faith Mimnaugh’s career is one long trail of success.

Mimnaugh lead the Mustangs through their thriving 2006-07 season, in which the team finished third in the Big West Conference standings with a 9-5 mark and persevered to win nine out of their final 11 games. This record marked the best season Cal Poly women’s basketball has had in over 10 years.

“There’s been outstanding growth in the (women’s basketball) program,” Cal Poly Athletics Director Alison Cone said.

Mimnaugh came to Cal Poly as an assistant coach for the 1996-97 season and was promoted to head coach the next year. Two years later, Mimnaugh was named the 1999-00 Big West Coach of the Year.

Just this spring, Mimnaugh was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, “an incredible feat,” Cone said, “I congratulate her for that.”

In order to be considered for induction in the IBCA’s Hall of Fame, candidates must have coached for at least 20 years, have had more than 400 victories, have achieved great success in games won in tournaments, and must have achieved and coached the greater part of their career in Illinois, according to the IBCA’s Web site.

Mimnaugh grew up playing basketball in Illinois, where she lead her high school team to the 1981 Class AA state championship and was selected to the 1981 All-Illinois team. She joined the women’s basketball team at Loyola University in Chicago as a guard, where she made her mark with an average of 11.7 assists per game during the 1984-85 season.

This statistic was the highest in the United States at the time and today still stands as the second-highest, single-season score in NCAA Division I history.

Mimnaugh’s 1,000 career assists are a Loyola record to this day and the 316 assists she acquired during her senior year rank sixth in single-year Division I history.

Mimnaugh began coaching at North Carolina State University in 1989 as an assistant, and moved to the head coach position at the University of Evansville in 1993 before relocating to San Luis Obispo.

Cone attends women’s basketball games, and described Mimnaugh as a very encouraging coach to her players, although Cone has also seen Mimnaugh get tough on the court.

Cone described effective coaching as a “good combination of knowing when to be appropriately corrective and when to be positive.”

Despite some difficulties a year earlier, Cone said the women’s basketball team pulled together under Mimnaugh’s “positive leadership.”

“Coaches don’t score points and coaches don’t get rebounds,” Cone said, but “the coordination of all of the things the players are doing takes strong leadership.”

Last week Cone finalized a two-year contract extension with Mimnaugh. Mimnaugh will remain head coach of the Cal Poly women’s basketball team through 2009.

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