Bill Fennelly

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Bill Fennelly
Bill Fennelly in 2016.jpg
Bill Fennelly in 2016.
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamIowa State
ConferenceBig 12
Record556–286 (.660)
Biographical details
Born (1957-05-14) May 14, 1957 (age 64)
Davenport, Iowa
Alma materWilliam Penn College
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1981William Penn (asst.)
1981–1986Fresno State (asst.)
1986–1988Notre Dame (asst.)
1995–presentIowa State
Head coaching record
Overall721–339 (.680)
Tournaments21–22 (NCAA)
10–5 (NWIT/WNIT)
Accomplishments and honors
WBCA District 5 Coach of the Year (1999, 2005)

William Michael Fennelly[1] (born May 14, 1957)[2] is an American basketball coach who is currently the head women's basketball coach at Iowa State University.

Coaching career[edit]

Assistant coach (1977–1986)[edit]

While a student at William Penn College, Fennelly became a volunteer assistant coach with the William Penn women's basketball team in 1977.[3][4] After graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics in 1979, Fennelly became a full-time assistant coach with William Penn.[3][5] Fennelly moved up to the Division I level as an assistant coach at Fresno State from 1981 to 1986 and Notre Dame from 1986 to 1988.[4]

Toledo (1988–1995)[edit]

At the University of Toledo, Fennelly was head coach from 1988 to 1995 and had a cumulative record of 166–53, with a .758 winning percentage that remains the best in the Mid-American Conference.[4][5] He had six seasons with 20 or more wins and six postseason tournament berths. Toledo made the National Women's Invitational Tournament in 1989, 1990, and 1994 and were NWIT runners-up in 1990, and the NCAA Tournament in 1991, 1992, and 1995.[4][6]: 186 

Iowa State (1995–present)[edit]

On July 10, 1995, Iowa State hired Fennelly as women's basketball head coach.[5] Iowa State had only five winning seasons in the 22 previous seasons.[4] As of the 2016–17 season, Fennelly has led Iowa State to 17 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including Elite Eight qualifications in 1999 and 2009 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2000, 2001, and 2010.[5] Iowa State has spent considerable time in the Associated Press national poll, including 34 weeks in the Top 10.[5] On March 23, 2007, Iowa State extended Fennelly through 2019 in a contract worth $10.6 million.[7]

Attendance also grew during Fennelly's tenure from the hundreds prior to his hiring to nearly 10,000 in the 2010s. In 2004, Iowa State had its first-ever sellout in a WNIT and NIT doubleheader against Saint Joseph's.[5] In the 2011–12 season, Iowa State averaged an attendance of 10,125, third in the nation behind Tennessee and Louisville.[8]

Fennelly was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2001, 2002, and 2005. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association named him the District 5 Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2005. In 1998, Fennelly finished as the 1998 runner-up behind Pat Summitt of Tennessee for the Associated Press Women’s Coach of the Year award.[5]

USA Basketball[edit]

Fennelly served as an assistant coach of the U18 team representing the US 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]


Fennelly was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa.[3] He and his wife, Deb, have two sons, Billy and Steven, both of whom also worked for their father's coaching staff at Iowa State. Billy was director of player development from 2010 to 2012 before becoming an assistant coach at Iowa State. Steven was a graduate assistant at Iowa State from 2011 to 2013.[5]

Head coaching record[edit]

Source for Toledo:[12]

Sources for Iowa State:[13][14]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Toledo Rockets (Mid-American Conference) (1988–1995)
1988–89 Toledo 25–8 13–3 2nd NWIT Third Place
1989–90 Toledo 25–7 13–3 2nd NWIT Runners-Up
1990–91 Toledo 24–7 13–3 1st NCAA Second Round
1991–92 Toledo 26–6 15–1 1st NCAA Second Round
1992–93 Toledo 18–10 12–6 T–3rd
1993–94 Toledo 24–8 13–5 T–2nd NWIT Fifth Place
1994–95 Toledo 24–7 15–3 T–1st NCAA First Round
Toledo: 166–53 (.758) 94–24 (.797)
Iowa State Cyclones (Big Eight Conference) (1995–1996)
1995–96 Iowa State 17–10 5–9 T–6th
Iowa State Cyclones (Big 12 Conference) (1996–present)
1996–97 Iowa State 17–12 9–7 T–5th NCAA First Round
1997–98 Iowa State 25–8 12–4 2nd NCAA Second Round
1998–99 Iowa State 25–8 12–4 2nd NCAA Elite Eight
1999–2000 Iowa State 27–6 13–3 T–1st NCAA Sweet 16
2000–01 Iowa State 27–6 12–4 3rd NCAA Sweet 16
2001–02 Iowa State 24–9 9–7 6th NCAA Second Round
2002–03 Iowa State 12–16 7–9 8th
2003–04 Iowa State 18–15 7–9 T–8th WNIT Semifinal
2004–05 Iowa State 23–7 12–4 T–3rd NCAA First Round
2005–06 Iowa State 18–13 7–9 T–8th WNIT Second Round
2006–07 Iowa State 26–9 10–6 T–4th NCAA Second Round
2007–08 Iowa State 21–13 7–9 T–7th NCAA Second Round
2008–09 Iowa State 27–9 11–5 T–3rd NCAA Elite Eight
2009–10 Iowa State 25–8 11–5 T–2nd NCAA Sweet 16
2010–11 Iowa State 22–11 9–7 5th NCAA First Round
2011–12 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 T–4th NCAA First Round
2012–13 Iowa State 24–9 12–6 2nd NCAA Second Round
2013–14 Iowa State 20–11 9–9 T–5th NCAA First Round
2014–15 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 T–3rd NCAA First Round
2015–16 Iowa State 13–17 5–13 8th
2016–17 Iowa State 18–13 9–9 5th NCAA First Round
2017–18 Iowa State 14–17 7–11 T–7th
2018–19 Iowa State 25–8 13–5 2nd NCAA Second Round
2019–20 Iowa State 18–11 10–8 T–4th Cancelled due to COVID-19
2020–21 Iowa State 17–11 12–6 4th NCAA Second Round
2021–22 Iowa State 16–2 5–1
Iowa State: 556–286 (.660) 253–187 (.575)
Total: 722–339 (.680)

      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


  1. ^ "ISU welcomes Fennelly home". Des Moines Register. July 11, 1995. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  2. ^ "Women's Basketball". NCAA. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Greiner, Nicole (July 28, 2014). "A Jolt, Something Different: 20 Years of Bill Fennelly". Iowa State University Office of Athletics Communications. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Iowa State's Bill Fennelly Named As 2008 USA Women's U18 National Team Assistant Coach". USA Basketball. June 19, 2008. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bill Fennelly". Iowa State University Athletics. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  6. ^ Toledo Women's Basketball 2016–17 Media Guide (PDF). University of Toledo. 2016.
  7. ^ "Fennelly Agrees To Extension". Iowa State University. March 23, 2007. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  8. ^ Gouldsmith, Ben (March 14, 2012). "Women's Basketball: Climbing the attendance charts". Ames Tribune. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "SEVENTH WOMEN'S FIBA AMERICAS U18 CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2008". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "SEVENTH FIBA WOMEN'S U19 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – 2009". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "TWENTY-SIXTH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES – 2011". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on April 28, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "2012–13 MAC Women's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). Mid-American Conference. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "2012–13 Big 12 Women's Basketball Media Guide; Big 12 Records – Part 1" (PDF). Dallas, Texas: Big 12 Conference. 2012. p. 49. Retrieved February 24, 2013.