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Former UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, who led the Tar Heels to their only national championship in 1994, was honored this month with a bench in the Championship Coaches Legacy Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hatchell is a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee and one of only four women’s basketball coaches to have been honored with a bench. Former UNC men’s basketball coaches Roy Williams ’72 and Dean Smith have also been so honored. UNC is the only school with three benches.
Hatchell’s bench was unveiled Aug. 12, along with those honoring Kay Yow of N.C. State University who died in 2009; Villanova University’s Rollie Massimino, who died in 2017; and Rutgers University’s Tom Young, who died last year.
Four UNC alumni players attended the ceremony, including Charlotte Smith ’95, who made the game-winning, three-point shot against Louisiana Tech University to give Carolina its lone championship in 1994. Smith is the head women’s basketball coach at Elon University and was recently elected to the Carolina Alumni Board of Directors. Joining Smith were Ivory Latta ’07, Jennifer Lynne Williams ’03 and Bernadette McGlade ’80. Smith and Latta presented the bench to their former coach.
Hatchell coached the Tar Heels from 1986 to 2019, leading them to three Final Fours and one national championship. She earned National Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year honors three times each.
The Championship Coaches Legacy Garden program was founded in 2015 and is part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s induction weekend.
– Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23