As with most coaches in the realm of college basketball, hoops have been a big part of Lisa Stockton's life. Unlike most, however, Stockton's life can be traced to its origin through interaction on the hardwood.
Stockton's parents, Richard and Betty, met while playing for the Chatham Textile League in Elkin, N.C. A native of Greensboro, N.C., Stockton grew up with the legend of basketball along Tobacco Road. She lived in the heart of ACC country where several conference tournaments were held and was actually on hand the night North Carolina State defeated UCLA in the NCAA Final Four on March 23, 1974.
With a background as engrained in basketball as the hardwood she strolls several times during the season, Stockton enters her 19th season at the helm of the Tulane women's basketball program where she is the dean of Green Wave and Conference USA coaches and the winningest women's basketball coach in the history of either entity.
"Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to be a basketball coach," Stockton said. "Growing up in North Carolina with its rich tradition of college basketball, I remember going to games and really enjoying being a part of the whole experience. I was fortunate enough to earn an athletic scholarship and that just solidified my decision on the direction I wanted my professional career to go.
"It took a few steps before I got to Tulane, but since I've been here, I've truly found a home. Tulane has everything you look for in a college experience - great academics, a successful tradition of women's basketball and a city with a unique culture and history. Each season that I've been at Tulane has truly been special."
Stockton's career record of 435-211 as a collegiate head coach is good for a 67.3 winning percentage and she is 372-184 during her time at Tulane, including a 168-104 mark in conference play. Since the inception of Conference USA prior to the 1995-96 season, Tulane has gone 339-169 overall and 159-107 in league play. With 372 wins at Tulane, Stockton now has more wins than each of the previous Green Wave coaches earned in 19 combined years.
Along the way, Stockton has led the Green Wave to the postseason 13 times (10 NCAAs, 3 WNITs) and claimed conference Coach of the Year honors three times (Metro in 1995, C-USA in 2007 and 2010). In addition, Tulane has won four C-USA regular-season championships (1996-97, 1998-99, 2006-07, 2009-10) and the tournament title on five occasions (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2010).
Stockton is now one of four active coaches to take a Top 50 academic institution as listed in U.S. and World Report to at least 10 NCAA Tournaments - joining Tara Vanderveer of Stanford, Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame and Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina. Seventeen of her players have become members of Tulane's 1,000-Point Club and the Green Wave have averaged better than 20 wins in each of Stockton's previous 18 seasons.
Taking the reins of a program that had never been to the NCAA Tournament and whose only postseason appearance came via the WNIT the year prior to her arrival, Stockton made her presence at Tulane felt right away. Her 1994-95 club went 19-10 overall and 9-3 in the now-defunct Metro Conference. The Green Wave's league record was good for second-place in the final Metro standings - a high-water mark for the program - and Stockton's team earned an at-large bid to the NCAAs.
Tulane's trip to "The Big Dance" was the first of nine consecutive NCAA bids for Stockton-coached teams and the first of nine straight winning seasons for Stockton-coached teams. A year later, a 21-10 record in 1995-96 was the first of what has become nine 20-plus win seasons with the Green Wave - including a school-record 27 wins in 1996-97 and again in 1999-2000.
While the postseason streak was snapped in 2004, Stockton reloaded her team for success with the addition of four freshmen to an already young-but-talented squad that did not feature a senior on the active roster for the 2005-06 season. As the Tulane student-body began to move-in process for the school year, however, the Tulane community, the New Orleans area and the Gulf Coast region was rocked to its core as Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and the subsequent floodwaters consumed the area.
Relocated to Lubbock, Texas, and the campus of Texas Tech University for the semester, Stockton's leadership and ability to keep her student-athletes focused on the task at hand, the Green Wave finished what has become known as the "Katrina Season" 15-12 and spark a run of six-straight winning seasons that remains alive entering the upcoming 2011-12 campaign.
The following year, Stockton's troops went 26-7, won the C-USA regular-season title with a 13-3 league mark and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2003 as Tulane advanced to the second round of the 2007 WNIT. Three years later, the Green Wave won another C-USA regular-season crown with a 12-4 conference record, finished the year 26-7 overall and returned to the NCAA Tournament. In each of the last two seasons, Stockton guided the Green Wave to 23-11 overall record, advanced to the C-USA Championship games and a trip to the second round of the 2011 and 2012 WNIT.
While team success has been the ultimate goal of Stockton and the Green Wave since the 1994-95 season, individual recognition has been a mainstay at Tulane during that time as well. In 18 years under its current head coach, Tulane has seen 19 student-athletes earn all-conference honors 29 times (nine first-teamers, 10 second-teamers and 10 third-teamers), eight receive All-Freshman recognition, and four claim a spot on the All-Defensive Team.
In addition, Stockton's players have earned conference Defensive Player of the Year (Janell Burse/C-USA/1999,2000,2001), Sixth Player of the Year (Burse/C-USA/1999, Grace Daley/C-USA/1997, Teana McKiver/C-USA/2001) and Freshman of the Year (Barbara Farris/Metro/1995, Daley/C-USA/1997, Danielle Blagg/C-USA/2012) on three occasions each, as well as Player of the Year (Burses/C-USA/2000) and Newcomer of the Year (Indira Kaljo/C-USA/2009) once apiece. At the 10th anniversary of Conference USA in 2005, Burse and Daley were named to C-USA Team of the Decade, making Tulane one of two schools to have multiple players on the prestigious list.
Tulane student-athletes have also garnered national honors under Stockton's watch as well as Farris (1987), Daley (1998-2000), Burse (2000-01) and McKiver (2002-03) all earn All-America recognition. Ashley Langford was a Freshman All-American in 2006 and Chassity Brown was named to the WBCA All-Region IV Team in 2010. In addition, four of Stockton's former student-athletes - Burse, Daley, Farris, and McKiver - have been elected into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.
For some of Stockton's prized pupils, success on the court did not end once their collegiate eligibility expired. Five former Green Wave standouts have gone on to play in the WNBA - including Farris and Burse who won WNBA Championships with the Detroit Shock in 2003 and Seattle Storm in 2004, respectively - and many more have enjoyed pro playing careers overseas.
But what Stockton may be most proud of his her student-athletes' collective accomplishments in the classroom as every four-year player has completed their degrees under her watch.
Thirty-seven women's basketball players have earned C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition 79 times for holding GPAs of 3.2 or higher since the 1995-96 season. Five student-athletes - Brooke Blankenship (10-11, 11-12), Kiki Cizmar (96-97), Gwen Slaughter (02-03), Britt Themann (99-00, 00-01, 01-02, 02-03) and Christy Thomaskutty (95-96) - claimed C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal honors for maintaining at least a 3.75 GPA, Ashley Langford (08-09) and Jami Montagnino (06-07) were named C-USA Scholar Athletes, and Themann earned a C-USA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2003.
Stockton's impact has not been limited to her players, however, as four former assistant coaches at Tulane went on to become collegiate head coaches: Katie Meier (Charlotte and Miami [Fla.]), Kellie Kennedy (Loyola-New Orleans), Michele Savage (Davidson) and Jenny Yopp (Portland State and Illinois State).
While Stockton's teams and student-athletes have achieved success both on the court and in the classroom, these accomplishments are nothing that the head coach herself did not earn while she was a collegiate player.
Following a standout prep career at Western Guilford High School, Stockton packed her bags for Wake Forest University. During her four-year career with the Demon Deacons from 1983-86, she set the school's career records in scoring (1,347), scoring average (12.1 ppg), field goals made (592), field goals attempted (1,262), field goal percentage (.462), assists (330), steals (206) and minutes played (3,385).
Stockton still holds the Wake Forest record for consecutive games started with 97 and ranks in the top 10 in nearly every statistical category previously mentioned. As a senior during the 1985-86 season, Stockton was named honorable-mention Fast Break All-American after scoring 473 points and hitting 204-of-415 shots (.491), pulling down 94 rebounds, dishing out 97 assists and tallying 58 steals.
She named ACC Player of the Week and claimed MVP honors of the Dartmouth Tournament as a junior, and was named MVP of the James Madison Invitational and of the Demon Deacon team as a senior.
Stockton earned a spot on the ACC Academic Honor Roll following each of her final two seasons at Wake Forest and graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in health and sports science in 1986.
She was drafted by the National Women's Basketball Association following her senior season, but chose instead to begin her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at the University of North Carolina for the 1986-87 season. During her lone season in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Tar Heels go 19-10 overall, finish third in the ACC with a 9-5 league record and advance to the second-round of the NCAA Tournament. Stockton also enveloped herself in post-graduate studies and completed her master's degree in 1987.
From there, Stockton accepted her first collegiate head coaching position at Division III Greensboro College. In three seasons there, she helped guide the Pride to a combined 63-27 record. Along the way, six players earned all-conference honors, including first-team selections Lorraine Orr and Susan Gasperson in 1987-88, Gasperson in 1988-89, and Tara Thompson in 1989-90.
Inheriting a team that had never enjoyed a winning record, Stockton's 1987-88 Greensboro team went 20-7 and finished tied for second in the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 10-4 league record. The performance earned her the first of two DIAC Coach of the Year honors as Stockton earned the title again following the 1989-90 season after the Pride went 18-8 overall and finished tied for the league title at 9-3.
She returned to the Division I level the following year when she accepted the top assistant position at Georgia Tech where she was responsible for coordinating recruiting efforts, monitoring academic progress, supervise scheduling and coaching the offense. In four years with Stockton on the staff in Atlanta, the Ramblin' Wreck combined to go 63-52, including a 20-13 mark in 1991-92 when North Carolina won the WNIT. The following season, Georgia Tech went 16-11, finished tied for fourth in the ACC with an 8-8 league record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Two years later, Stockton accepted her current position at Tulane.
Along with her Coach of the Year accolades, Stockton was named one of CitiBusiness' Women of the Year in 2007. She is a member of the NCAA Women's Basketball Issues Committee and also serves on the Academic Subcommittee for the issues committee. Stockton has also served two terms on the Kodak All-American Committee, twice chaired the C-USA Women's Basketball Coaches and served two terms as the WBCA Conference Captain.
From the beginning, Stockton and Tulane have been a perfect fit; in part, the coach believes, because her educational experience at Wake Forest was similar to the ones her current players face at Tulane. Stockton appreciates the value of putting academic priorities first, and at Tulane the coach doesn't just say it, she has lived it.
"A school like Tulane is absolutely the best environment for student-athletes, and for a coach," Stockton said. "We attract people who are goal-oriented and who are achievers. Student-athletes don't come here unless they're serious about basketball and academics. That's the kind of school I chose, and I'm so glad I did."
In her 18 seasons, Stockton has built Tulane into a winning program with victories over ranked programs, tournament championships and a succession of All-Americans and future professional players piling wins on top of wins.
"I'm proud of our run of NCAA tournaments and conference championships," Stockton said. "I'm proud of the tradition we've built and look forward to expanding the level of expectation and achievement here at Tulane University."