As a player:
Pokey Chatman capped her career at LSU by earning State Farm, Basketball Weekly and United States Basketball Writer’s Association All-America honors following her senior season in 1991. During the 1991 season, Chatman scored 576 points (18.6 ppg) and dished out 157 assists (5.1 apg). Chatman is the sixth all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,826 points. She also is LSU’s all-time leader in steals (346) and sits second in assists (570). During her four years at LSU, Chatman started all but one game and set 20 school records. She also led the Lady Tigers to their first-ever SEC tournament title in 1991 and was named tournament MVP in the process.
Coaching Record: 90-14 (Three seasons as HC/15 seasons overall)
2004 & 2005 Black Coaches Assoc. Coach of the Year
2005 USBWA National Coach of the Year
2005 Russell/WBCA National Coach of the Year
2005 Naismith National Coach of the Year
2005 Victor Award Female Coach of the Year
2005 & 2006 Louisiana Coach of the Year
2005 Assistant Coach for USA Women’s World University Games Gold medal team
Birthdate: June 18, 1969
Hometown: Ama, La.
College: LSU, 1991
There are few coaches in basketball history that can match the success that Pokey Chatman enjoyed in her three years as head coach of the LSU Lady Tigers basketball program.
In her three-year stint, LSU won 90 games, advanced to two NCAA Final Fours, won two Southeastern Conference regular season titles and earned a No. 1 seed in two NCAA Tournaments.
In fact, in Chatman’s first 50 games as a head coach, she won an astonishing 47 times. That record of 47-3 is the second best record after 50 games in women’s basketball history.
In 2005-06 season, Chatman guided LSU to a 31-4 mark, including a perfect 15-0 record at home and 11 wins against top 25 opponents. In her first season in 2004-05, Chatman led the Lady Tigers to a 33-3 record with the program’s best regular season record of 27-1. That season the Lady Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the polls for 11 weeks between November and March.
Chatman did not go unrecognized for her success as a head coach. She was named the 2004-05 National Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and received the Naismith Award and the Victor Award as the country’s top coach. Chatman, the fourth head coach in the program’s history, was also named the 2005-06 SEC Coach of the Year and has earned the honor of being named the Black Coaches Association (BCA) Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005.
The off season was not any less hectic for Chatman. She served two years on the 27-member WBCA Board of Directors as the BCA representative. Chatman also helped lead the 2005 United States World University Games team to a gold medal as an assistant coach. With Team USA, Chatman coached with Harvard head coach Kathy Delany-Smith to win her second medal in international competition, having also won a medal as a player with the 1990 USA Select Team.
Chatman, a part of LSU’s program as a player and coach for 17 years, became head coach in April of 2004 after the late Sue Gunter, a Hall of Fame coach and Chatman’s mentor retired, but the task of guiding the team had began before that for Chatman.
Gunter fell ill during the 2003-04 season and Chatman stepped to the front and seamlessly led LSU to the first NCAA Final Four in school history and a second-place finish in the SEC. Chatman led the Lady Tigers to a 15-5 record in the absence of Gunter from the sidelines. Included in those victories were five wins over top 25 teams, including the school’s first victory over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a 71-55 drubbing of Texas in the West Regional Semifinal prior to upsetting SEC foe Georgia in the regional final to advance to the Final Four.
When Gunter announced she would retire after a career marked by 40 years and 708 victories, LSU athletics director Skip Bertman smartly turned to Chatman, an LSU Hall of Famer herself, and an All-American point guard.
The call came on April 27, 2004, when Bertman named Chatman as only the fourth head coach in the history of LSU Women’s Basketball.
Chatman had just completed her 13th season on the Lady Tiger staff, and her fifth as an associate coach after being elevated to that position in September 1999. But in 2003-04, Chatman became the most famous associate coach in the country when she took on the role of acting head coach in Gunter’s absence, earning the BCA Coach of the Year honors for her efforts in relief.
The way Chatman guided the Lady Tigers through the second half of the season, into March Madness and a trip to the Final Four only added an exclamation point on what everyone already knew about Chatman’s coaching potential.
Chatman, who dazzled LSU fans for four years as LSU’s starting point guard in the late 1980s and early 1990s, developed a reputation as one of the nation’s best recruiters, and one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the collegiate ranks. Chatman led LSU’s recruiting efforts over nine years and as a result, the Lady Tigers have had eight straight classes rank among the top 20 in the nation, including the 2004 freshman class which featured three Parade All-Americans in Sylvia Fowles, Quianna Chaney and Erica White.
Chatman helped LSU land another top incoming freshmen class in 2003, in All-American Marian Whitfield out of Georgia, Swedish National team member Hanna Biernacka and New Orleans native Khalilah Mitchell.
The previous years were also highly productive for Chatman. She helped the Lady Tigers land Seimone Augustus, who finished her LSU career as a two-time National Player of the Year and the WNBA’s No. 1 draft pick. Chatman also helped sign Aiysha Smith, a Kodak Junior College All-American and the 2003 first-round pick of the Washington Mystics, New Orleans native and current WNBA player Doneeka Hodges and Temeka Johnson, a first-round pick of the Washington Mystics and the 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
Chatman was also responsible for bringing DeTrina White, one of the top 15 rated players in the country in 1998, who went on to become the 1998-99 National Freshman of the Year.
Since joining the Lady Tigers staff, Chatman has tutored some of the finest guards in the country. Marie Ferdinand was a 2001 Kodak All-American selection and a finalist for the prestigious Naismith Award, given to the nation’s best collegiate player. In addition to averaging over 21 points a game her senior season, she was a finalist for the Shooting Guard of the Year Award given out by ESPN. Ferdinand, a first round draft pick in the WNBA, is currently playing for the San Antonio Silver Stars and is a three-time WNBA All-Star.
Chatman also worked with Cornelia Gayden, a three-time All-SEC pick who holds the NCAA record for 3-point goals in a single-game with 12 against Jackson State. Other standouts under Chatman include Elaine Powell, a two-time first-team All-SEC selection, Pietra Gay, an All-SEC pick in 1997, and Latasha Dorsey, a first team Defensive All-American in 1999. Powell was the starting point guard in the 2003 World Champion Detroit Shock, while Gay was a member of the 1997 WNBA World Champion Houston Comets.
Before being named to assistant coach prior to the 1992-93 season, Chatman served one season, 1991-92, as a student assistant with the Lady Tigers. Chatman, a Kodak All-American point guard for the Lady Tigers in 1991, graduated from Hahnville High School in 1987. She received her Bachelor’s degree from LSU in December of 1991.
During her four years with the Lady Tigers, Chatman started all but one game and was the school’s all-time assists and steals leader with 570 and 346, respectively when she finished her career. Chatman held the assist record until the 2003-04 season when current Lady Tigers point guard Temeka Johnson passed her coach for the top spot. She also finished fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,826 points. Chatman played in the NCAA Tournament four times and posted a four-year record of 82-38.
Chatman was a three-time All-SEC selection and in 1991 led the Lady Tigers to their first-ever SEC Tournament title. Chatman was named MVP of the 1991 SEC Tournament, also a first for LSU.
Chatman capped her career at LSU by being selected to the prestigious Kodak All-American team following her senior season in 1991. Chatman is one of only five Lady Tigers named to the Kodak team. Chatman set a total of 20 school records while at LSU with five of those records still standing.
Chatman was inducted into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in the spring of 1999.