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Joe Legerski is the head women's basketball coach at the University of Wyoming. Since 2003, he has served as the 6th women's coach in school history. His 2006 team is widely regarded[who?][original research?] as the best in school history, having finished the season 27-9, and won the WNIT championship. That team also went 11-5 and finished second in the Mountain West Conference standings. The 2005 season saw the Cowgirls finish 21-9 and 10-6 in the MWC.
He previously served for 12 seasons as an assistant coach for Utah. Utah was 254-96 with 7 league championships, while he was an assistant there. He is a 1979 graduate of Wyoming himself.
Joe Legerski is in his eighth season as the head women's basketball coach at the University of Wyoming. He was named head coach on May 1, 2003 and became the sixth head coach in Cowgirl history. Under his guidance the Cowgirls have recorded four 20-win seasons, finishing with a 21-12 overall record and a 9-7 mark in the MWC during the 2009-2010 campaign. It was also the sixth consecutive winning season for the women’s team.
The Cowgirls have played in the post-season four of the seven years Coach Legerski has been at the helm.
Three Cowgirls garnered conference honors for the seventh straight year under Legerski. Hillary Carlson and Aubrey Vandiver were each named to the Second Team All-MWC, while Emma Langford earned Third Team All-MWC honors.
Legerski recorded his first career coaching victory on Dec. 13, 2003, as Wyoming defeated Montana State Billings, 62-51. His first conference win came on Jan. 17, 2004, against MWC rival BYU.
In his first season, he guided the Cowgirls to an 11-18 record overall and a 6-8 mark in the Mountain West Conference, including their first ever Mountain West Conference Tournament victory in school history. Two Cowgirls garnered All-Conference awards and Coach Legerski was named MWC Coach of the Year.
In 2004-05, Legerski led the Cowgirls to a 16-12 overall mark, along with a 7-7 record and a fourth place finish in the MWC. It was the highest they'd finished in conference play since 1996-97. They swept BYU for the first time since 1994-95 and earned a 72-67 win over the Colorado Buffaloes which snapped a 13-game losing streak. Three Cowgirls earned All-MWC awards including Ashley Elliott who earned First Team All-MWC honors for the second year in a row.
For the 2005-06 season, the Cowgirls completed the year 21-9 overall, while finishing 10-6 overall in the Mountain West Conference. They made an appearance in the WNIT for only the third time in school history. The 21-wins were at the time the most since the 1989-90 season when they went 24-8 and the ten conference victories at the time tied an all-time school record which was set in 1978-79. Three Cowgirls garnered All-Conference honors, including Hanna Zavecz who earned First Team All-MWC and Defensive Player of the Year honors along with Megan McGuffey who took home the MWC Newcomer of the Year award.
The 2006-07 campaign was a magical year for Legerski and the Cowgirls as they won the WNIT Postseason Championship over the Wisconsin Badgers. Wyoming went 6-0 en route to the championship. They completed the season with a program best 27-9 record, which eclipsed the 24-8 mark set in 1989-90, and the 11-5 record and second place finish in the league standings were the second most wins in both the MWC and school history. It was also the first time in school history that a Cowgirl team had won at least 20 games in back-to-back seasons, along with being invited to post season play. For the second year in a row, Hanna Zavecz was named First Team All-MWC and Justyna Podziemska was named MWC Newcomer of the Year along with earning Second Team All-MWC honors.
In 2007-08, the Cowgirls picked up where they left off the previous season and further marks were broken. They started off with an 18-1 record, which was the best start in school history, and tied for the best in the MWC as well. With 24 wins, they recorded their third straight 20-win season, which had never been done in the programs' history, and with a 12-4 mark in conference play it also was the most conference wins breaking the 11 wins set the year before. Their play helped them earn the Cowgirl programs' first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. For the first time in school history, they were also ranked among the Top 25 teams in the country by both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Division I Coaches' Poll. Their highest ranking was 15th in the AP (1/28/08) and 16th in the Coaches' Poll (1/29/08). As a team, they were ranked in either poll for 13 weeks during the season and received votes for the other six polls. Wyoming was also honored with several individual awards. Hanna Zavecz was named First Team All-Mountain West Conference for the third straight year, while being named the MWC Defensive Player of the Year, Justyna Podziemska earned Second Team All-MWC honors for the second straight year, and Aubrey Vandiver was awarded Third Team All-MWC honors. Zavecz also garnered Honorable Mention All-America accolades by the Associated Press and for the second year in a row was named to the State Farm Coaches' Honorable Mention All-America Team.
In his sixth season with the Cowgirls, they wrapped up the year with a 16-14 record overall and an 8-8 mark in MWC. With a victory over Denver (11/14/08), Legerski reached his 100th career victory, the fastest any head coach has achieved that mark in school history. Four Cowgirls earned conference honors as Hillary Carlson was named Second Team All-MWC, Megan McGuffey was Third Team All-MWC, Kristen Scheffler was Honorable Mention All-MWC and Emma Langford was named the Sixth Player of the Year.
During his time, the Cowgirls have been successful in the classroom as well. He has coached 47 Academic All-MWC student-athletes, while 34 have been named MWC Scholar Athletes.
Legerski came to Wyoming following a highly successful stint at the University of Utah. As an assistant (1991-1998), and later associate head coach (1998-2003) for Elaine Elliott, he was part of the most successful women's program in the history of both the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences. The Utes compiled a 254-96 record while he was there, including seven league titles. They were 135-35 in conference play.
During the 2002-03 season, Utah won the MWC with a 12-2 conference mark. The Utes were 24-7 overall, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before falling to Duke.
Legerski earned a bachelor of science degree in business education from UW in 1979. He was an assistant with the Cowgirls from 1987 through 1991, before taking the Utah position. He was the head women's basketball coach at Western Wyoming College (Rock Springs) for one season, finishing second in the region. Prior to that he was the head women's basketball coach at Rock Springs High from 1984 to 1986.
Legerski, and his wife, Jamie, are parents of three children, stepson Zane, daughter Madison and son Joseph III.