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Court Recognition For Sue Gunter To Take Place Sunday At Halftime vs. Florida

Court Recognition For Sue Gunter To Take Place Sunday At Halftime vs. Florida

BATON ROUGE – Sue Gunter, a Hall of Fame coach and a pioneer for the game of women’s basketball, will have her name officially recognized on the PMAC floor during a halftime ceremony during LSU’s game on Sunday against Florida that is set to tip at 1 p.m. CT.

Sunday’s game will be LSU’s annual alumni game. Over 100 former Tigers, including many who played for Coach Gunter, will be at the game.

Gunter coached for 40 seasons, including 21 at LSU. Having spent time at Middle Tennessee, Stephen F. Austin and LSU, Gunter was the third women’s basketball coach in history to win over 700 NCAA games during her career, tallying 708 victories through the years. She not only had success in the college ranks, but was also a successful coach with USA Basketball to help lay a winning foundation and she was on a committee the was selected by NBA Commissioner David Stern to help create the WNBA. Gunter, who passed away in 2005, was a pioneer for all levels of women’s basketball and continually pushed the game to new heights. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Coach Gunter arrived at LSU ahead of the 1982-83 season. In her early years her teams often played in front of empty arenas that included a curtained off portion of the stands. She led efforts to get anybody in to LSU games, doing whatever she could to increase attendance. As she built her program in Baton Rouge, the crowds got bigger. They were never larger than on February 10, 2005 where every ticket was bought and a crowd of 15,233 packed in to watch the Tigers take down No. 1 Tennessee. That attendance still stands as the second largest crowd in LSU Women’s Basketball history, only surpassed last season.

In her 21-year tenure at LSU, Gunter’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive — 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, one trip to the Final Four, four NCAA Elite Eight appearances, eight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, two SEC Tournament titles, a Women’s NIT title, and a handful of Coach of the Year awards. Coach Gunter brought the LSU Women’s Basketball program back to national prominence. After a three-year hiatus in the mid-1990’s that saw the Tigers suffer through the school’s first-ever losing seasons, LSU returned to the post-season, and in Gunter’s final year as head coach in 2003-04, advanced to the program’s first NCAA Final Four, the first of five consecutive Final Four appearances for the Tigers. LSU had not been back to the Final until last season when the Tigers finished what Coach Gunter started to capture the program’s first National Championship.

To realize just how far the Tigers came Under Coach Gunter’s leadership, one has to go back to the 1994-95 season, the worst year in school history as LSU posted a 7-20 overall mark. Strangely enough, it was the 1994-95 season that proved to be the turning point for the Lady Tigers as Gunter turned up her recruiting magic and promptly signed and elite freshman class which included future All-SEC selections in Elaine Powell, Pietra Gay and Toni Gross. The Tigers won 46 games over two years and resurrected the LSU Women’s Basketball program. LSU brought in key players like Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles and, starting in 1999, reached the NCAA Tournament in 12 consecutive season.

Prior to her arrival in Baton Rouge, Gunter had a very successful coaching stint at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. While at SFA, Gunter built that program into a national powerhouse as she led the LadyJacks to a 266-87 mark in 12 years as head coach. In addition, she led Stephen F. Austin to four top 10 national rankings, which included No. 5 final rankings in 1979 and 1980. While at Stephen F. Austin, Gunter coached four sports – women’s basketball, softball, tennis and track. Her basketball teams went to five Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) playoffs, won four state titles and earned a regional crown.

After 16 seasons at SFA, she relinquished the reigns and moved into the position of Director of Women’s Athletics where she served two years before returning to the coaching ranks at LSU.

At the international level, Coach Gunter helped lay a winning foundation for USA Basketball on the women’s side. She served as an assistant coach during the 1976 Olympics where she coached future coaching icon Pat Summitt and helped Team USA win the silver medal in Montreal. In 1980, Coach Gunter was selected as the head women’s basketball coach for the United States Olympic Team and guided her squad to the title at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. However, Gunter and her team were denied a chance at a gold medal due to the United States’ boycott of the Olympic Games, which were held in Moscow, that year.

A fine player in her own right, Gunter played AAU basketball for Nashville Business College from 1958-62 earning AAU All-America honors. She was also a member of the 1960-62 United States teams that competed against the Soviet Union.

Gunter was also very active in many community service areas throughout Baton Rouge. She played an active role in the Baton Rouge Area Lupas Foundation and served as the honorary chairperson for the Walk for Alzheimer’s in Baton Rouge. Gunter was also a finalist for the 1997 YWCA Women of Achievement Award, which recognizes the top women in the Baton Rouge community for contributions to their field.