Bill Fennelly

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Bill Fennelly
BillFennelly 5616 300x450.jpg
Bill Fennelly, Photo by Wesley Winterink
Sport(s) Women's Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Iowa State
Conference Big 12
Record 462–234 (.664)
Biographical details
Born (1957-05-14) May 14, 1957 (age 59)
Davenport, Iowa
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1981–1986 Fresno State (assistant)
1986–1988 Notre Dame (assistant)
1988–1994 Toledo
1995–present Iowa State
Head coaching record
Overall 628–287 (.686)
Accomplishments and honors
Big 12 regular season championship (2000)
Big 12 Tournament championship (2000, 2001)
MAC regular season championship (1991, 1992, 1995)
MAC Tournament championship (1991, 1992, 1995)
WBCA District 5 Coach of the Year (1995, 2000, 2005)

Bill Fennelly (born May 14, 1957)[1] is the head women's basketball coach at Iowa State University (ISU). He has an all time coaching record of 596-250 (through January 25, 2015), coming from tenures as the head coach of the Toledo Rockets and the Iowa State Cyclones. In March 2007, Fennelly inked a "lifetime" contract with the Cyclones to continue as head coach for the remainder of his career.[2]


Iowa State University[edit]

Fennelly has guided the Cyclones to a record of 430-197 (through January 25, 2015) in the nineteen seasons since being named head coach of the Cyclones in 1995, giving the Cyclones the second best overall record since the founding of the Big 12 Conference (the Baylor Lady Bears basketball program is first). The ISU program had only 5 winning seasons in 22 years of play prior to his arrival. His Cyclone teams have reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times, including NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 1999 and 2009, and NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2000, 2001, and 2010.

Iowa State has spent considerable time in the Associated Press national poll, including 34 weeks in the Top 10. In just 11 seasons, he posted more than twice as many conference wins as the program had in all of its previous years combined.

In the Cyclones’ inaugural WNIT appearance, Fennelly coached ISU to the Final Four. His teams have drawn record-setting crowds of loyal fans into Hilton Coliseum. ISU’s attendance average ranked among the top 11 schools nationally in each of the last ten seasons and the Cyclones enjoyed their first-ever sellout crowd in a 2004 WNIT/NIT doubleheader against Saint Joseph's. In both 2009 and 2010, the Cyclones' home attendance ranked 3rd in the nation at over 9,700 fans per game, ranking behind only powerhouses Tennessee and Connecticut. During 2011-12, attendance averaged 10,125, ranked 3rd in the nation behind Tennessee and Louisville.[3]

Fennelly is the only ISU coach to turn in 18 winning seasons and owns the program’s best winning percentage (.686 thru January 25, 2015). His phenomenal accomplishments at Iowa State have been recognized nationally. He is a three-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award (2001, 2002, 2005). His peers voted him WBCA District 5 Coach of the Year twice (1999, 2005) and he finished as the 1998 runner-up to Tennessee’s Pat Summitt in The Associated Press’ Women’s Coach of the Year balloting.

University of Toledo[edit]

Fennelly came to ISU from the University of Toledo, where he compiled a seven-year record of 166-53 (.758). His list of accomplishments at Toledo included six 20-plus win seasons, six postseason tournament berths in seven years and one of the top records in the nation over that span. Fennelly coached the Rockets to second, third- and fifth-place finishes in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Fennelly was one of seven inductees selected to the 2003 Toledo Varsity "T" Hall of Fame.

Other coaching experience[edit]

Before accepting his first head coaching job at Toledo, Fennelly spent 12 years coaching as an assistant at William Penn, Fresno State, and Notre Dame.

USA Basketball[edit]

Fennelly served as an assistant coach of the U18 team representing the USA at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The USA team won all five of their games, including the championship game against the host team, Argentina. The team won the final game 81–37 to claim the gold medal.[4]

Fennelly continued his position as an assistant coach as the U18 team became the U19 team, and competed in the FIBA Women's U19 World Championship. The USA lost the opening round game against Spain 90–86, but then went on to win their next eight games. In the quarterfinals, the USA team faced France, which held an eight-point lead late in the second half, but the USA team took back the lead and won by eleven to advance to the semifinals. After beating Canada in the semifinals, they had a rematch against Spain, for the championship. This time the USA jumped out to an early lead, with a score of 33–16 at the end of the first quarter. The USA went on to win 87–71 to win the gold medal.[5]

Fennelly was named the head coach of the USA representative to the 2011 World University Games (also known as the Universiade) which were held in Shenzhen, China. The USA team won all six games, behind the scoring leadership of Elena Delle Donne who scored almost 16 points per game. Although the championship game was against Taiwan, the closest contest was the semifinal game against Australia. That game remained close until the fourth quarter, when a 9–0 run extended the margin and helped secure the 79–67 victory.[6]


Fennelly, a native of Davenport, Iowa, graduated from William Penn College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics in 1979. He and his wife, Deb, have two sons, Billy and Steven. In June 2010, Billy was named director of player development for the Cyclones. He had been the Women's Director of Basketball Operations at Northwestern University under head coach Joe McKeown, and married former Cyclone basketball player Lyndsey Medders in the spring of 2009.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Toledo (Mid-American Conference) (1988–1995)
1988–89 Toledo 25–8 13–3 2nd[8] WNIT 3rd Place
1989–90 Toledo 25–7 13–3 2nd[8] WNIT 2nd Place
1990–91 Toledo 24–7 13–3 1st[8] NCAA 2nd Round
1991–92 Toledo 26–6 15–1 1st[8] NCAA 2nd Round
1992–93 Toledo 18–10 12–6 T–3rd[8]
1993–94 Toledo 24–8 13–5 T–2nd[8] WNIT 5th Place
1994–95 Toledo 24–7 15–3 T–1st[8] NCAA 1st Round
Toledo: 166–53 (.758) 94–24 (.797)
Iowa State (Big Eight Conference) (1995–1996)
1995–96 Iowa State 17–10 5–9 T-6th[9]
Iowa State (Big 12 Conference) (1996–present)
1996–97 Iowa State 17–12 9–7 T–5th[10] NCAA 1st Round
1997–98 Iowa State 25–8 12–4 2nd[10] NCAA 2nd Round
1998–99 Iowa State 25–8 12–4 2nd[10] NCAA Elite Eight
1999–00 Iowa State 27–6 13–3 T–1st[10] NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2000–01 Iowa State 27–6 12–4 3rd[10] NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2001–02 Iowa State 24–9 9–7 6th[10] NCAA 2nd Round
2002–03 Iowa State 12–16 7–9 8th[10]
2003–04 Iowa State 18–15 7–9 T–8th[10] WNIT Semifinal
2004–05 Iowa State 23–7 12–4 T–3rd[10] NCAA 1st Round
2005–06 Iowa State 18–13 7–9 T–8th[10] WNIT 2nd Round
2006–07 Iowa State 26–9 10–6 T–4th[10] NCAA 2nd Round
2007–08 Iowa State 21–13 7–9 T–7th[10] NCAA 2nd Round
2008–09 Iowa State 27–9 11–5 T–3rd[10] NCAA Elite Eight
2009–10 Iowa State 25–8 11–5 T–2nd[10] NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2010–11 Iowa State 22–11 9–7 5th[10] NCAA 1st Round
2011–12 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 T–4th[10] NCAA 1st Round
2012–13 Iowa State 24–9 12–6 2nd NCAA 2nd Round
2013–14 Iowa State 20–11 9–9 5th NCAA 1st Round
2014–15 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 T-3rd NCAA 1st Round
2015–16 Iowa State 13–17 5–13 8th
2016–17 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 5th NCAA 1st Round
Iowa State: 465–236 (.663) 206–156 (.569)
Total: 631–289 (.686)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


External links[edit]