CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Margaret Wade’s impact on women’s collegiate athletics and the game of basketball is immeasurable. On at 2 p.m. CT Friday, Delta State and the Department of Athletics will dedicate a statue in honor of Wade’s indelible legacy.
“No single individual has had a larger impact on women’s athletics, especially in Mississippi, than coach Margaret Wade,” said Ronnie Mayers, director of athletics. “Her legacy lives on today through the countless young women who have the opportunity to participate and enjoy competitive sports.”
The dedication ceremony will take place at the West Plaza of Kent Wyatt Hall. Delta State President William N. LaForge will host the event, which features former presidents Dr. Kent Wyatt and Dr. Aubrey Lucas, and former Ole Miss and WNBA head coach Van Chancellor. A reception will follow the ceremony in the Leroy Morganti Atrium of Kent Wyatt Hall.Wade served as head coach of the Lady Statesmen from 1973-79, leading Delta State to three consecutive AIAW National Championships from 1974-75 through 1976-77. During that time, Wade amassed a remarkable 157-23 record and helped pave the way for future female head coaches like Pat Summitt to excel in the sport they love.
“Her first four years back in coaching have been called one of the most amazing accomplishments in sports history,” said Langston Rogers, former Delta State and Ole Miss sports information director.
During those four years, Delta State went from having no team at all to Wade leading the Lady Statesmen to a 109-6 record and three titles.
Wade received numerous awards during her career, including AIAW National Coach of the Year; Kellogg’s Mississippi Coach of the Year; and following her retirement, the title of “Mother of Modern Collegiate Basketball” was bestowed her by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
In addition to being the most recognizable name in women’s college basketball in Mississippi, the WBCA named its player of the year award after the Mississippi Delta legend. The “Lily Margaret Wade Trophy” is annually awarded to the nation’s top women’s basketball player in the NCAA. In 1978, Wade awarded the first-ever trophy to Montclair State guard Carol Blazejowski.
In 1986, the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame made Wade the first female inductee and first female head coach to be enshrined into the hall. She is also a member of the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.