Purdue vs. Nebraska Big Ten Tournament Finals March 4, 2012
Just as she did as a player, head coach Sharon Versyp has put her stamp on the Purdue women's basketball program. The former Boilermaker point guard has led Purdue to three Big Ten Tournament championships and two NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances in her six seasons as the head coach at her alma mater. At Purdue, she has compiled a 136-70 record, an average of 22.7 wins per season, including a 21-8 record in the postseason. Versyp's contract has secured her presence on the Boilermaker sidelines through at least the 2017-18 season.
Versyp's impact on basketball in the Hoosier state was recognized on April 24, 2010, when she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility, an honor that includes Larry Bird and John Wooden.
The Mishawaka, Ind., native is known for her prowess in game preparation, individual player development and team building. Recruiting is a key to success and Versyp and her staff have proven that they can attract the elite players to Purdue. Each of Versyp's five signing classes has been ranked in the top 15, including a No. 13 ranking for her most recent class of student-athletes.
Equally impressive to the on-court accolades are the team's academic achievements under Versyp's guidance. For three-straight years, the Boilermakers earned a team GPA of 3.10 or better, an improvement of nearly half a grade point from the year before she became Purdue's head coach. Plus, Brittany Rayburn became the first Boilermaker Academic All-American since 2001, when she earned second team status as a senior.
Purdue returned to its championship ways in 2011-12, with the third Big Ten Tournament championship in Versyp's six years and a conference-best eighth title overall. The Boilermakers' veteran squad tied for second in the Big Ten in the regular season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to finish with a 25-9 mark. Three Boilermakers earned Big Ten postseason honors with Rayburn a second team selection and KK Houser and Sam Ostarello honorable mention All-Big Ten. Rayburn also picked up Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, was named to the Naismith Player of the Year midseason 32 list and was selected to participate in the State Farm Women's 3-point Championship at the men's Final Four.
At Purdue, Versyp has had 17 All-Big Ten performers, three members of the conference All-Freshman Team, six Big Ten All-Defensive Team members, 11 Big Ten All-Tournament Team members, including three MOPs, three WNBA draft picks and 32 Academic All-Big Ten members, including Lauren Mioton who was a Rhodes Scholar finalist.
In 2010-11, Versyp guided a team without any seniors to a 21-12 record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. An extremely promising season, was one filled with unprecedented adversity. First, starting point guard, KK Houser suffered an ACL injury four minutes into the first regular-season game. Then, less than 48 hours after Purdue captured its second Preseason WNIT championship under Versyp, starting forward Drey Mingo was hospitalized with a life-threatening case of bacterial meningitis. Mingo would rebound from her illness and was a key along with Brittany Rayburn and Courtney Moses, in Purdue's late season success. Along the way, Versyp claimed her 100th victory at Purdue with a 65-64 win over Michigan on Jan. 6.
The 2009-10 season was a rebuilding one for the Boilermakers. Versyp was without five seniors who had graduated in the spring of 2009. Three were starters and two - Danielle Campbell and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton - were WNBA draft picks. Projected starter Chantel Poston was lost for the year with an Achilles tendon injury and post players Alex Guyton and Ashley Wilson were limited the entire season due to stress fractures. Versyp did earn her 200th career victory with a 53-42 win over Northwestern on Jan. 10 and led Purdue to back-to-back victories over ranked opponents with a 63-61 decision against No. 4 Ohio State and an 80-76 overtime win at No. 23 Penn State. With a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten regular season Purdue earned a first-round bye for the 16th-consecutive year.
In 2008-09, Purdue finished with a 25-11 record after defeating Charlotte, No. 11 North Carolina and Rutgers before falling 74-68 to No. 4 Oklahoma in the Elite Eight. Versyp guided the Boilermakers to a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season despite losing point guard FahKara Malone to injury for half of conference play. On Jan. 5 in the first game without Malone, Versyp orchestrated a 66-55 upset over No. 4 Texas in Mackey Arena. Purdue returned to the title game of the Big Ten Tournament but failed in its quest of a third-consecutive championship by the slimmest of margins. The Boilermakers missed a shot at the buzzer to give Ohio State a 67-66 victory.
Versyp and the Boilermakers had a difficult challenge before the start of the 2007-08 season. The Boilermakers lost four starters, two to graduation and two to injury and faced a non-conference schedule that was rated the toughest in the country. Versyp worked her magic and pulled off what was perhaps the finest coaching performance of her career. The Boilermakers scratched their way to a third place finish in the Big Ten regular season and capped that off with a second-consecutive Big Ten Tournament championship and a 15th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Boilermakers were not satisfied with just playing an NCAA Tournament game in Mackey Arena though. Versyp led the women to a 66-59 upset over 17th-ranked Utah and advanced to the second round for the 14th time in 15 years. All this was accomplished after losing 73 percent of the offense, 67 percent of the rebounding and 53 percent of the assists from a team that went 31-6 a season ago. Purdue's 2008 NCAA Tournament win against the Utes was Versyp's 50th Purdue career victory and she earned her 75th school win against Rutgers in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Versyp achieved another milestone in 2007-08 when she picked up her 150th win as a collegiate head coach with a 69-53 victory over Butler on Nov. 17, 2007.
In her first year as head coach at Purdue, Versyp led the Boilermakers to a 31-6 record that included a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season, a Big Ten Tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight. Versyp was named the 2007 WBCA Region VI Coach of the Year for her achievements that season.
With her 24th win on Feb. 22 against Iowa, Versyp became Purdue's winningest first year head coach. The 24 wins passed Carolyn Peck (23-10) and Kristy Curry (23-8) for the most victories by a first-year coach. Versyp's win percentage in 2006-07 of 83.8 percent (31-6) is the fifth-best in a season at Purdue and tops for a first-year coach. The 31 wins equals the second-most in school history and marks only the third time the Boilermakers have achieved a 30-plus win season. Versyp is the only first-year head coach to achieve a 30-win record.
Versyp returned to her alma mater as Purdue's eighth head coach on April 10, 2006, to build upon the excellence of Purdue women's basketball. Versyp, who played point guard for the Boilermakers from 1984 to 1988, has created success everywhere she has been. As a collegiate head coach she has compiled a 253-135 record in 12 seasons. As a player at Purdue she led the team to three-consecutive winning seasons at a time when the program had enjoyed only one winning campaign in the previous 10 years of play.
Versyp was the head coach at Indiana prior to Purdue, where she led her team to a 19-14 season, 9-7 in the Big Ten and the quarterfinals of the postseason WNIT. The nine-game improvement was the second largest turn-around in school history for a first-year head coach. While at Indiana, Versyp guided senior Cindi Valentin to first team All-Big Ten honors and newcomer Whitney Thomas to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
Prior to her stint with the Hoosiers, Versyp was the head coach at Maine for five seasons where she amassed a 98-51 record, including a 67-19 America East Conference record. Versyp's teams won three-straight America East regular season championships (2003, 2004, 2005) and in 2004 also won the America East Tournament title earning an NCAA Tournament berth. Versyp was twice voted America East Coach of the Year (2003 and 2005). Her teams achieved season records of 25-6 in 2002-03 and 25-7 in 2003-04, which were the first back-to-back 25-win campaigns in school history.
Under Versyp's guidance, Maine student-athletes earned America East, Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year designations and garnered 15 all-conference honors in her five years with the Black Bears. Versyp coached 2003 and 2004 America East Player of the Year, Heather Ernest, who went on to play professionally overseas. While at Maine, Versyp's team ranked 13th in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Team Academic Honor Roll.
Versyp's Indiana roots run deep. She was named Indiana Miss Basketball in 1984 becoming the first of eight Miss Basketball's to play for the Boilermakers. The current roster includes former Miss Basketball, Courtney Moses.
After graduating from Purdue, Versyp became a head coach in the high school ranks at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis from 1989-1993. There she took a 0-18 team to a sectional runner-up finish in just two seasons. She also served as the head coach at Benton Central High School in Oxford, Ind., from 1993 to 1996.
Versyp entered the collegiate ranks in 1996-97, when she joined Bud Childers' staff at the University of Louisville. After going 20-9, sharing the Conference USA regular-season title and an earning NCAA berth, Childers left for James Madison University. Versyp joined him in Harrisonburg, Va., serving as his top assistant and recruiting coordinator. She was there for three seasons and in 1999 helped ink a recruiting class ranked nationally in the top 25.
As a player Versyp was a fixture in the Purdue starting lineup beginning her freshman year and is one of only nine four-year starters in Purdue women's basketball history. She led the team in scoring three-straight seasons and still ranks fourth in single game assists (12), eighth in career assists (418) and 12th in career points (1,565). Versyp has top 10 standings in eight statistical categories for the Boilermakers, was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Team member and second team Academic All-American as a senior.