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Joseph Tabbed to lead Georgia Tech Women's Basketball Program

May 19, 2003

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ATLANTA–MaChelle Joseph, who helped infuse success into the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team in two years as an assistant coach, has been named the fifth head coach in the history of the Yellow Jacket program.

Joseph was introduced as head coach by Institute President Dr. Wayne Clough and Director of Athletics Dave Braine at a press conference Monday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. She replaces Agnus Berenato, who became the head coach at Pittsburgh after 15 seasons in the same post at Tech.

Joseph received a four-year contract with a base salary of $120,000.

In her two years as Tech’s top assistant coach, Joseph applied her skills as an instructor and recruiter along with her all-star playing credentials to help the program enjoy two of the best seasons in its history. Her career as an assistant coach spans 11 years in three of the nation’s top women’s basketball conferences, with successful stops at Auburn of the Southeastern Conference as well as Purdue and Illinois of the Big Ten Conference preceding her Atlantic Coast Conference stint.

In 15 seasons as a collegiate player and assistant coach, Joseph has been part of programs that produced winning records every year but one, including 11 NCAA Tournament berths.

Braine said that rewarding Joseph with her first head coaching position was a logical choice.

“MaChelle has proven herself to be an outstanding coach and recruiter in her 11 years as an assistant coach, and in particular in her two years at Georgia Tech,” said Braine. “It’s no coincidence that her two years here have been two of the best seasons we’ve ever had. She clearly understands what it takes to be successful at Georgia Tech, both on the court and off.

“We feel that we have hired one of the bright young coaches in the women’s game, and we’re very excited about the future of women’s basketball at Georgia Tech with MaChelle Joseph at the helm.”

Joseph, 33, takes over a program that returns 12 letterwinners, including four starters, from a 2002-03 season that was the most successful campaign in school history. In helping guide Tech to a 20-11 record, Joseph was a key component in the Yellow Jackets reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade and just the second time ever. Tech’s 20 wins in matched the 1992 squad for most wins as a Division I program, while the Jackets’ eight ACC wins also tied the school record.

During her first season on the Flats in 2002, Joseph helped guide the Jackets to their third-straight post-season appearance with a 15-14 overall record and a berth in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Joseph’s skill as a recruiter translated into immediate results at Georgia Tech, where she assembled the highest rated freshman class in school history. Tech’s 2002 recruiting class, which includes McDonald’s and WBCA prep all-American Kasha Terry, as well as Ashley Guerrant, Megan Harpring, April Johnson, Jessica Williams and Mallorie Winn, was rated among the top 15 in the nation by a number of recruiting services and media outlets, including No. 11 by the All-Star Girls Report, the second-highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Tech’s two-member class for 2003 has been named as an honorable mention selection by Blue Star Index and was rated 12th among classes with two or fewer players by the All-Star Girls Report.

“I am extremely honored and humbled by being named the head coach at Georgia Tech,” said Joseph at the press conference. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. I feel as though I’ve worked my entire life to be standing here before you today.

“We have a lot of support here at Georgia Tech. We have everything it takes to be a national power in women’s basketball. I’m not afraid to say it: my vision for this program is for us to be the next Duke of women’s basketball. With the academic reputation of Georgia Tech, the support of the administration and the quality of the student-athlete you see sitting right in front of you, the sky is the limit. I’m just proud and honored and very humbled to be the person that you have chosen to lead this program.”

Joseph came to Tech after serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator on Joe Ciampi’s staff at Auburn from 1997-2001. She helped guide the Tigers to a combined 97-50 record in five seasons and the second round of the NCAA Tournament three times. Each of the last four recruiting classes she helped attract to Auburn were ranked in the Top 10 nationally by All-Star Girls Report, including the Tigers’ 2001 class that was ranked the nation’s second-best.

Before joining the Auburn staff, Joseph coached at her alma mater, Purdue, from 1994-96 under Lin Dunn and helped the Boilermakers post a sterling 73-24 (.753) record in three seasons. Purdue advanced to the Final Four in 1994 and followed that performance with a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1995. Joseph also served one year (1993) as an assistant at Illinois.

A four-year starter for the Boilermakers from 1989-92, Joseph is one of the most decorated players in Purdue and Big Ten Conference history as she garnered numerous conference and national accolades. After earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors as well as second-team all-conference accolades in 1989, Joseph was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and was named Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior. She also earned Kodak All-America honors in 1992, when she was tabbed the Women’s Basketball News’ College Player of the Year. She finished her career first on the Big Ten all-time scoring list and was the only player in conference history to rank in the top 10 in both points and assists. Joseph helped the Boilermakers reach the NCAA Tournament all four years, including the school’s first appearance in 1989 and a pair of trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1990 and 1992.

A native of Auburn, Ind., Joseph graduated from Purdue in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in movement and sports science in 1992.

Comments from the Press Conference

Dr. Wayne Clough, President, Georgia Institute of Technology:

“Georgia Tech has not had many women’s basketball coaches because they have all stayed with us for quite a while and done well. We believe we are ready to start another era, a very important era. Of course, we want to say congratulations to Coach Agnus Berenato for her success here at Georgia Tech and wish her success in her new position. She leaves us in good position to move forward with a very successful program. The one thing that became clear to me is as we got into the search process is that this is a very attractive position. This is a position that had to be won through competition because a number of outstanding individuals indicated their strong interest in this job. The search committee did an outstanding job, and we feel very good about the decision that was ultimately recommended to Dave {Braine] and to me.”

Dave Braine, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics:

“I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Coach “B” for what she has done for Georgia Tech and the program and leaving it in the shape that it’s in. This is a good program. We have four starters back and we expect to be very good next year. The job was an attractive job, and we had a lot of applicants. MaChelle won the job because she was the best candidate, and we feel very, very confident that she can take this program to the next level. The players have put their support behind MaChelle. They were the first ones to come and say, “The head coach is with us right now and this is who we want.” The parents of the players also came forward to support MaChelle.

“The best way that I can describe MaChelle Joseph is that she’s focused, she’s determined, and she’s intense. She is an excellent recruiter and fundamental basketball coach. She understands the Georgia Tech system. She’s had two great recruiting years back-to-back. When you put everything together, we really believe that she will be a great basketball coach. Somebody had to give her her first head coaching job, and I’m proud and honored that Georgia Tech was that school, and I sure hope this is her last coaching job also.”

MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech Head Women’s Basketball Coach:

“This is a huge honor for me, and I’d like to thank everyone who is here today for your support of me and our basketball program. First and foremost, I need to thank Coach Berenato. Two years ago, she brought me to Georgia Tech and gave me this great opportunity to work at one of the finest academic institutions in the country with a great basketball program. I saw a tremendous amount of potential here. I learned a lot professionally and personally from Coach B, and she’s laid such a strong foundation for us to build this program. I see the nothing but the sky as the limit for this program, and that’s because of the contributions of Agnus and her staff the last 15 years. Also, I need to thank President Clough, Dave Braine, [Senior Woman Administrator] Mary McElroy and the search committee for putting their trust and confidence in me to lead this program to new heights.

“I am extremely honored and humbled by being named the head coach at Georgia Tech. It’s a tremendous opportunity. I feel as though I’ve worked my entire life to be standing here before you today.

“I have to thank my players, who are here today, for all their support and their confidence in me the last two years. This isn’t something I’ve just felt the last two weeks. Since the very first day when I came here two years ago, they opened their arms to me and brought me in and made feel like I’ve been with them all of their lives. I look forward to us taking this program to an ACC Championship, to a Final Four and potentially to a national championship.

“We have a lot of support here at Georgia Tech. We have everything it takes to be a national power in women’s basketball. I’m not afraid to say it: my vision for this program is for us to be the next Duke of women’s basketball. With the academic reputation of Georgia Tech, the support of the administration and the quality of the student-athlete you see sitting right in front of you, the sky is the limit. I’m just proud and honored and very humbled to be the person that you have chosen to lead this program.”

What Others Are Saying:

Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors, who was an assistant coach at Purdue during Joseph’s playing career:

“I think this is a great day for Georgia Tech women’s basketball. I know that MaChelle has a great love and passion for the game of basketball, and those things will certainly allow her to elevate the Georgia Tech program to even greater heights.”

“The same things that made her a great player, her passion and her work ethic, have also made her a great recruiter and will make her a great head coach. I know that no one will outwork MaChelle and her staff, and that is what will make her successful.”

Auburn Head Coach Joe Ciampi, under whom Joseph served as an assistant coach from 1997-2001

“MaChelle has earned an opportunity to lead a major college program. Her growth in the game as a point guard and as an assistant coach for 11 years along with the success that she has had at three different institutions solidifies her ability to get the job done. Her work ethic and her persistent belief in caring for her players and showing it are just a few of her outstanding traits. I congratulate her and wish her the best.”

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