Thursday, October 6, 2005
Beckie Francis returns as head basketball coach
Beckie Francis was named the Golden Grizzlies ninth head women’s basketball coach. She served as head coach of the women’s team from 1997-98 through the 2001-02 season and will return to the helm after a three-year break in coaching. Francis takes over a program that last year posted its winningest season (21-8) since going Division I.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to return to doing what I love,” Francis said. “I'm so excited to get started working with the players and practicing. That's our number one priority. We're going to work hard as a team and a group to continue being representatives of this university that everyone can be proud of both on and off the court."
In her five years at Oakland, Francis put together a 90-54 overall record, bringing her career coaching record to 120-102. She additionally registered a 39-20 conference scorecard in OU’s first three seasons as a member of the Mid-Continent Conference. During the school’s infancy in the league, she led Oakland to two Mid-Con regular season titles (2000 and ’01) as well as a Mid-Con Tournament championship in 2002 that gave the Golden Grizzlies their first bid to the Division I NCAA Tournament.
Francis guided Oakland to a pair of 20-win seasons during her first stint with the program, including her first year as the team’s coach when OU finished the 1997-98 season 20-7. Also under her tutelage, the 1999-00 squad registered an impressive 10-game winning streak, nine of which came against Mid-Con opponents. In five years, Francis coached two All-Americans, including current assistant Katie Wolfe. She additionally coached three All-Mid-Con athletes, three All-Freshman Team members, one Mid-Con Player of the Year and one league Newcomer of the Year. Francis herself was voted the Mid-Con Coach of the Year in the program’s first season in the league after topping the conference standings with a 13-3 record.
Prior to arriving at Oakland, Francis was the head coach at SUNY Stony Brook, taking the program from Division III to Division II status. She led the Seawolves to the NECC Playoffs in 1997, while her 1995 squad also made the postseason, playing in the New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association (NYSWCAA).
Francis went to Stony Brook in 1994 after serving as the top assistant for the University of Buffalo Bulls, seeing them through a transition from Division II to Division I. She assisted in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, scouting and counseling of the Bulls’ student-athletes. As the program’s recruiting coordinator, she led the effort to expand Buffalo’s recruiting to the national level, bringing in players from across the country.
In her four seasons at Buffalo, the Bulls compiled a 72-39 record and captured two East Coast Conference championships. The Bulls won their first ECC title in 1991-92 after posting a 23-6 record in their first season at the Division I level. Buffalo also captured the ECC title in 1993-94. Prior to Buffalo, Francis served as a graduate assistant at Niagara University where she earned her master’s degree in counseling.
Francis also was an accomplished player at all levels of the game. A four-year starter and three-year captain at Colgate University, Francis is the Red Raiders 11th all-time leading scorer with 1,229 points and is second all-time in assists (403) and assists per game (3.73). The 1987 graduate of Colgate also is tied for fourth all-time in steals (224) and is seventh in field goal percentage (.412). She was inducted into the Colgate Athletic Hall of Fame in November 2001.
For more information on OU’s women’s basketball team, visit the OU Athletics Web site.