Jan. 23, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – After leading the Yellow Jackets to 223 wins in her career as a head coach, former Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach Agnus Berenato has been named the Yellow Jackets’ 2014 ACC Women’s Basketball Legend.
Berenato and the other members of the 10th annual class of ACC Women’s Basketball Legends will be honored at the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament March 5-9 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
As the winningest coach in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history, Berenato coached on the Flats for 17 years, including two seasons as an assistant under Bernadette McGlade. In July of 1988, Berenato was named the head coach of the Yellow Jackets.
“I am honored and excited to represent Georgia Tech as their 2014 ACC Legend,” Berenato said. “I have special memories of many people, events and activities at Georgia Tech. I have been fortunate to know and coach some of the best student-athletes in my career at Tech.”
Berenato was instrumental in building the foundation for Georgia Tech’s women’s program during her 17 years in Atlanta. Within three years of assuming head coaching duties, Berenato guided the Yellow Jackets to their first national championship, winning the National Women’s Invitational Tournament in 1992. That same year, the Jackets finished the season at 20-13, marking the first 20-win season at the NCAA Division 1 level for Tech.
“Agnus Berenato was instrumental in the growth and development of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball program,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “She was a player’s coach. She instilled in her players compassion for others, commitment to academic excellence, a drive to serve other and a need to play with passion.”
The following year, Berenato led the Tech women to their first NCAA tournament bid in program history. The 1993 season was the first time that the NCAA Women’s Final Four was hosted by Georgia Tech and played in the city of Atlanta. Regional and local enthusiasm fueled by the success of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team under Berenato’s leadership resulted in the first ever advanced sellout of an NCAA Women’s Final Four.
“I learned from great leaders, including Dr. Homer Rice, during my time at Georgia Tech and have been able to continue my career because of their mentorship,” Berenato said. “It is, indeed, an honor for me and my family to be reconnected with the Yellow Jacket family.”
In total, Berenato led the Jackets to post-season play on six separate occasions in 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Success on the court was complimented by success in the classroom. Every student-athlete who played for and completed their eligibility under Berenato at Tech, earned a degree from the Institute. Additionally, Berenato coached numerous All-ACC conference team members, ACC Rookies of the Year, a WBCA All-District Honoree, and a Georgia Division I Player of the Year awarded by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Berenato herself was recognized on two occasions as a Division I Coach of the Year awarded by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. She was also inducted into the South Jersey Hall of Fame and the Rider College Hall of Fame.
“I learned a lot from Agnus during my two years as her assistant as did the players who competed under her for 17 years at Tech,” Joseph said. “She is very deserving of this recognition as our ACC Legend and I am very excited that we were able to honor her in this way.”
Berenato is well immersed in the community in addition to her successes on the court. She initiated the funding of the Mandy Miller Endowed Scholarship, named for the charismatic women’s basketball team captain who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1987. Berenato has also led the efforts to fund the Shirley Mewborn Endowed Scholarship, which is named for the first female graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology. Shirley was an ardent supporter of Tech athletics and specifically the women’s basketball program. Berenato is also involved with the Metro Atlanta Girls and Boys Club, Girls Scouts, Battered Women’s Shelter, and professionally to the WBCA and NCAA, serving on committees and leading numerous community outreach programs and NCAA-YES clinics.
Following her career at Tech, Berenato coached at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is the winningest coach in women’s basketball history. She led the team to its first ever NCAA post-season appearance. In total, Berenato led the Panthers to five post season appearances, including back-to-back Sweet 16’s in 2008 and 2009.
Berenato graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University in 1980 and received honorary doctorate degrees from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Maryland and Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Berenato is the proud wife of Jack Berenato and mother of five children; Theresa, Andrew, Santo, Clare and Chrissy.
The Legends will be honored at the annual ACC Women’s Basketball Legends’ Luncheon on Saturday, March 8, at 1 p.m., and then will be introduced to the Coliseum crowd at halftime of the first semifinal game that evening. The ACC Women’s Basketball Legends program honors both players and coaches from each of the ACC’s 15 schools who have contributed to the league’s rich tradition.
Tickets to the Legends Lunch are priced at $35 each and can be obtained by calling 1-336-369-4673. Quantities are limited.
Included in this year’s class are 13 former-student-athletes and two former head coaches who represent four decades of women’s basketball. P,> –RamblinWreck.com–