GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina University head women’s basketball coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener announced Friday that she has accepted the head coaching position at Georgia State University.
The squad's RPI rating has improved nearly 175 spots since her arrival in Greenville eight seasons ago. For the past two seasons, East Carolina also led Conference USA in attendance.
The Smyrna, Ga. native took East Carolina to new heights in 2009-10, guiding the Lady Pirates to their first-ever WNIT bid after finishing the regular season with 20 wins and reaching the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament. ECU also earned its first-ever postseason victory by rallying from 18 points down with six minutes left to post an overtime victory at Drexel in the first round of the WNIT.
East Carolina would end up with 23 wins at the conclusion of the campaign, the second-most in a single season in school history. The Lady Pirates also continued their strong play at home, finishing 12-2 for the second-straight year. ECU picked up five wins over 2008-09 postseason qualifiers as part of an 11-2 non-conference record, the best in program history. Additionally, the Lady Pirates set new single-season records for points (2,430) and three-point field goals made (187).
2009-10 marked the eighth-straight season in which ECU had an All-C-USA honoree as sophomore Ashley Clarke earned Second-Team and All-Defensive Team accolades. Clarke helped the Lady Pirates finish in the top 50 nationally in five statistical categories and ended up as C-USA's assists per game leader (5.3).
Baldwin-Tener continued to steer the program in the right direction in 2008-09, leading the Lady Pirates to 17 regular season victories. Coupled with a Conference USA Tournament first round victory over UAB, East Carolina produced a final record of 18-13.
She oversaw the continued development of her players, as seniors LaCoya Terry and Jasmine Young, as well as freshman Jean Best, earned All-Conference USA accolades. Terry and Young ended their careers as two of the top-five scorers in program history, while Best turned in a solid rookie campaign, blocking the eighth-most shots (47) in a single season on the Lady Pirate career ledger.
In 2002-03, she took a team that had won just six games a year prior to her arrival in Greenville and doubled its win total. Baldwin-Tener led the squad to 12 victories and East Carolina's first berth in the Conference USA Tournament.
Highlights from that first season include triumphs over SEC foe Alabama in the championship game of the U.S. Cellular Classic and perennial NCAA Tournament squads Memphis and Louisville.
Baldwin-Tener's presence was felt not only in an increased number of wins, but also in the marked improvement of player development. Jennifer Jackson blossomed in the up-tempo style implemented by the head coach, as she raised her scoring average from just under six points per game as a freshman to 18 as a second-year player.
Additionally, Jackson became the first ECU athlete in program history to earn All-C-USA honors (Third-Team) and first to garner league player-of-the-week laurels.
ECU blazed out of the gates in 2003-04, winning 14 of its first 18 games that included victories over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Wake Forest, in-state rival UNC Wilmington and WNIT participants Arkansas State, South Florida and Charlotte.
That squad was known for its aggressive, up-tempo style of play and also its prowess on the glass, out-rebounding 16 of 28 opponents. East Carolina ended up out-rebounding its foes by an average of 6.3 boards per game. Additionally, Jackson became the 19th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career.
In addition to team accomplishments, Baldwin-Tener also established herself as one of the best in the nation at developing post players. Senior Courtney Willis became East Carolina's first All-C-USA First-Team selection while averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per contest with 14 double-doubles to her credit. Willis also finished in the top four in C-USA in five statistical categories. Additionally, her 40 points and 21 rebounds against No. 22 TCU were the second-best point output and greatest number of rebounds in a game in the league for 2003-04.
Baldwin-Tener’s third season had the Lady Pirates finishing eighth in the C-USA standings, their highest ranking since joining the league. She also recorded her 100th-career victory with a 60-47 win over Memphis Jan. 7, 2005. ECU secured important wins over NCAA Tournament participant Louisville and WNIT qualifier South Florida on its way to earning a spot in the C-USA Tournament for the third-straight season.
Player development continued to be a focal point for the head coach.
Baldwin-Tener molded Shanita Sutton into one of C-USA's premier post players as she nearly tripled her points per game average from four her junior campaign to 11.4 as a senior. As Sutton's career came to a close, she ranked seventh on the Lady Pirate career blocks ledger. Jackson also became the second player in school history to be named to an all-conference team for three-consecutive years, collecting All-C-USA Second-Team honors.
Baldwin-Tener continued to elevate the program in 2005-06. East Carolina notched a record of 17-12 to produce its first winning season since 2000-01 while advancing to its fourth-straight C-USA Tournament, where it made history by winning its first-ever contest in league tourney play after dispatching UAB. The 17 wins were also the most in a single-season for the program since 1991-92, when that Lady Pirate group turned in a 21-8 mark.
2005-06 also was a year for records as Baldwin-Tener notched her 50th win at ECU with a 74-54 triumph over Memphis on Feb. 10. The Lady Pirates also collected the 500th win in school history, dismissing Mississippi Valley State, 69-60, and Dec. 30.
Under Baldwin-Tener's watchful eye, freshman Jasmine Young and junior college transfer Cherie Mills broke into C-USA, earning all-conference honors. Mills ended the year ranked among the league leaders in seven statistical categories. Young, who tallied 153 assists, found herself among the nation's leaders in assists per game, checking in at 27th. The Richmond, Va. native also became the first Lady Pirate in the program annals to earn C-USA Freshman-of-the-Year accolades.
The culmination of Baldwin-Tener's building process occurred in 2007 as East Carolina captured its first Conference USA Tournament title. East Carolina posted a program-best C-USA record of 11-5 to earn the No. 3 seed. After sending home SMU in the quarterfinals and edging UAB in the semifinals, the Lady Pirates fell behind in the second half to Rice, but rallied to notch the 79-70 win in the championship game at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Both Mills and Young repeated as All-C-USA Second-Team performers while Young earned All-Defensive and All-Tournament Team honors as well. Another sophomore broke onto the scene as well, as LaCoya Terry was named C-USA Tournament MVP.
Prior to her appointment at East Carolina, Baldwin-Tener served one season as head coach at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.