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basketball circles rank Georgia among the most elite schools in the game, few are privy to what Landers firmly believes sets his program apart from others. The Lady Bulldog sorority, if you will, is an entity of values and purpose, expectations and accomplishments. Players from generation to generation understand Landers better than anyone else...even though it may take a while for that light bulb to truly go on. “The thing about Coach, when you’re here playing for him, you know that he’s teaching you the things, the basketball skills, you need to be successful,” said Christi Thomas, a five-year Los Angeles Sparks veteran who came to Athens ranked as the nation’s No. 57 prospect by one major scouting service and left as the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2004 WNBA Draft. “Everyone who decides to become a Lady Dog knows they’re going to get that. What you don’t understand while you’re at Georgia, is that he’s teaching you not only to perfect those on-court abilities, he’s showing you how you’re responsible for your own destiny after you leave here. He taught me not only the right things to do; he taught me the right way to do those things. Now it’s up to me to do them.” Such understanding comes not only from professional players, but from
other former Lady Bulldogs who chose different career paths – from teachers to sales reps, insurance adjusters to stayat-home mothers. That devotion is not exclusive to their former coach. There’s a bond between Lady Bulldogs that is very easy to spot. “Once you’re a Lady Dog, you’re always a Lady Dog,” Lady Hardmon Grooms professed while serving as emcee for the 2008 post-season banquet. “I remember one of the first times we played Detroit after ‘Tweety’ got in the league. Someone came into our locker room before the game and told me Nolan wanted to talk to me. I thought to myself, ‘Dang, did I get her with an elbow the last time we played? What could she want to talk to me about?’ She told me how Coach told stories about me. She just wanted to see if we could go to dinner after the game. And the best part is that she even picked up the check.” Grooms is a perfect example of Landers’ influence. She was a standout for Lady Bulldog teams of the late-80s and early-90s and went on to an extremely successful professional career, both in the U.S. and overseas in Hungary, Italy and Turkey. When she retired from the WNBA in 2004, one of Grooms’ first calls was to Landers to see what she could do to finish her degree. Following the birth of
her daughter, Gabby, Grooms completed degree requirements in 2009. “Right after Gabby was born, Coach Landers called me and said, ‘Congratulations. When are you coming back to get your degree?’” Grooms said. “Basketball at Georgia was all about working hard. That was instilled by Coach Landers. We were taught to never quit, to always finish at the end.” Kedra Holland-Corn is another successful pro player who made their way back to Athens to complete her degree in 2009. Holland-Corn, a star at Georgia who won two WNBA titles with Detroit. “I thought very briefly about finishing up overseas or in another place,” Holland-Corn admitted. “But there was something about it. I didn’t want to get my degree from anywhere else. I wanted to say that I’m a Georgia grad; that I was one of the athletes who finished.” Next spring when 2009 senior Danielle Taylor completes a year-long internship to finish out her Social Work degree, every four-year letterwinner during Landers’ 30 seasons in Athens will own a University of Georgia diploma. In fact, Tina Taylor earned three degrees during their eligibility window, upping Landers’ current graduation rate to 102 percent (54 four-year letterwinners with 55 degrees).
2009-10 Lad y Bulldo G Basketball
Birthdate: October 8, 1952 Hometown: Maryville, Tenn. Family: Married the former Pam McClellan on June 20, 1981; Children: Andrea Lauren (24), Drew Joseph (20)
High School: Friendsville (’70 Undergraduate: Tennessee Tech (’74) Physical Education Graduate: Tennessee Tech (’75) Physical Education
◊ 2009 Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inductee ◊ 2007 Women’s B’ball Hall of Fame inductee ◊ Four-time National Coach of the Year – 1986, ’87, ’96, 2000 ◊ 24 20-win seasons; 16 25-win seasons; Three 30-win seasons ◊ 25 NCAAs; Five Final Fours (1983, ’85, ’95, ’96, ’99) ◊ Seven SEC Titles (1983, ’84, ’86, ’91, ’96, ’97, 2000) & Four SEC Tournament Titles (1983, ’84, ’86, ’01) ◊ 12 Kodak All-Americans ◊ 102 percent graduation rate among fouryear letterwinners (54 with 55 degrees) ◊ Two Olympians who have won a combined six Gold Medals ◊ 19 former players into the WNBA, including seven during 2009 35
Bios, stats, and photos of the Georgia Lady Bulldogs.