VILLANOVA, PA. -- Villanova University head women's basketball coach Harry Perretta today announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. Perretta will stay at Villanova through 2020-21 in an administrative role, serving as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Perretta will enter his 42nd year as the Wildcat head coach in 2019-20 with a career record of 765-476. The 42nd season will tie him with Yvonne Kaufmann of Elizabethtown College (1971-2012) for the most seasons at one school at all divisions in the history of NCAA women's college basketball. He currently ranks seventh on the winningest active Division I collegiate coaching list and 13th all-time with the 765 wins.
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"Words cannot fully capture the gratitude that Villanova University has for Harry Perretta and his 42 years leading our women's basketball program," said University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. "During his tenure, Harry has built an incredible legacy that stands out among the nation's most prolific coaches. He has left an indelible mark on this University, and will always live in the heart of Villanova."
"Villanova has allowed me to be the person I am for the last 42 years and for that I am forever grateful," Perretta said. "Every President and Athletic Director that I worked for during my career treated me extremely well and fairly, and I have never had to pretend to be somebody that I wasn't. I am appreciative of all the Deans, professors, Vice-Presidents and Athletics staff who helped me throughout my Villanova journey. Villanova will always be home to me. My wife graduated from here and both of my sons are currently in school here. I have been truly blessed for the last 42 years."
"Harry is truly irreplaceable. His ability to build countless relationships with our women's basketball student-athletes and entire community for over 40 years is reflective of how much he cares and how much he loves to lead with his heart," said Villanova Director of Athletics Mark Jackson. "His basketball acumen is second to none, but his impact is felt far beyond the court and he has become interwoven into the fabric of Villanova through his loyal service on multiple fronts. I look forward to leaning on Harry and his friendship, not only to help determine our next head coach, but in helping us guide our athletic department into the future."
The Wildcats have had a run of success recently, posting 20 wins or more in seven of the last eight years and earning a postseason berth in eight consecutive seasons. Over the last seven years, Villanova has registered a 148-83 mark for a .640 winning percentage.
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During his career on the Main Line, Perretta has led the Wildcats to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 WNIT berths, national rankings in the Associated Press poll, BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships in both 1985-86 and 1986-87, the 2003 BIG EAST Tournament title, 12 outright and five shared Big 5 titles, 20 seasons with at least 20 wins and a trip to the 1982 AIAW Final Four. In addition, he has mentored 77 All-BIG EAST performers, including 17 first team honorees and four BIG EAST Players of the Year. One of his players, Shelly Pennefather, was recognized in 1987 as the nation's top women's basketball player, winning the Margaret Wade Trophy and earning Kodak All-America honors.
The dean of the BIG EAST and Big 5 coaches, Perretta has brought the Wildcats national respect and success during his tenure at Villanova. Always a crowd favorite wherever he goes, he is one of the most animated and vocal coaches in the country, continually instructing his players during the course of a game. Year-in and year-out, his teams are feared for their aggressive play, disciplined style, defensive prowess and pre-game preparations for an opponent.
A teacher of basketball, Perretta also realizes the importance of the overall college experience. He and his staff closely follow each player's academic progress, and in his 42 years at Villanova, 99 percent of the student-athletes who have stayed all four years has received her degree. Last week, Villanova women's basketball was one of 11 Wildcat programs to earn a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) from the NCAA.
In 2015-16, Perretta became the 10th active and 14th overall Division I women's basketball coach to win 700 career games and just the third active Division I women's coach to win 700 games at one school when Villanova tallied a 63-60 win at Georgetown on Feb. 21, 2016. He also became the 25th women's coach across all divisions to win 700 games. The Georgetown win was also his 300th BIG EAST regular season victory making him just the fourth coach in the history of the BIG EAST Conference to achieve this feat. Syracuse men's coach Jim Boeheim leads the way with 416 Big East wins, followed by Connecticut's Geno Auriemma with 402 victories, Perretta with 334 wins and former Connecticut men's coach Jim Calhoun who had 309 league victories.