Staff Biographies Eyeing an opportunity
P E R S O N N E L
What Landers enjoys today has been three decades in the making. Its origins can be traced to a couple of fateful occurrences, an interview surprise and a piece of correspondence. When Landers finished his graduate degree he quickly began looking for coaching experience at the collegiate level. One of the jobs he applied for was as an assistant men’s coach at Roane State College in Harriman, Tenn. While interviewing for the position with Roane President Cuyler Dunbar, the bomb was dropped that the position also would include serving as the head coach of the women’s program. “I think they looked at that part as a detriment, but it was something that really drew me to Roane,” Landers said. While happy with the opportunity afforded him at Roane, Landers quickly turned his energies into taking control of a major college program...one he’d had his eye on for several years. The date was March 7, 1979, when Landers fired off a letter to Vince Dooley, the University of Georgia’s newly named Athletics Director, to inquire about interviewing to become UGA’s head coach. “For the past couple of years I have been possessed with the idea that the University of Georgia should feature the
outstanding women’s basketball program in America,” Landers’ second paragraph stated. “Georgia has the potential necessary to achieve this recognition and my ultimate goal in coaching is to take a major college basketball program and build it from the ground up into an immediate national power.” About six weeks later – April 24, 1979 to be exact – a 26-year-old Landers was introduced as the Georgia Lady Bulldogs’ initial full-time head coach. Soon after Landers arrived in Athens – and even he admits he wondered if he had bitten off more than he could chew as he drove to work on his first day – he hit the ground running at a sprinter’s pace. It didn’t take him long to accomplish just what he promised Dooley he would do: “build it from the ground up into an immediate national power.” Under Landers’ direction, the Lady Bulldogs quickly ascended from a program which may not have been the fifthbest in the state of Georgia to now rank No. 5 in the all-time Associated Press women’s basketball poll. The Lady Bulldogs now rank among the nation’s elite in virtually every category imaginable. In the “modern era” of women’s basketball since the sport came under the auspices of the NCAA in 1981-82, Geor-
Tournament. Fast-forward two more springs and the Lady Bulldogs reached the national championship game. Consistency has become a word synonymous with Georgia teams for more than two decades now, perhaps best witnessed by UGA’s NCAA success. “It’s actually pretty plain and simple,” Landers states matter of factually. “Hard work is what brought Georgia from 6-19 to 27-10 two years later. Maintaining that level has been a never-ending job. I think I’m proudest of the consistency... the fact that we’ve been consistent for three decades now. I hope we’ve been a team that other teams across the country would agree that year-in and year-out we’ve not only been on the leaderboard, From pretty humble beginnings To appreciate where UGA is today, it’s but we’ve been up there near the top.” hard not to reflect on where the program was. During the Lady Bulldogs’ first six Executing a master plan Though numerous factors aligned seasons of intercollegiate competition prior to Landers’ arrival, Georgia com- perfectly to play a major role in the emergence of Georgia Basketball, it’s hard to piled a woeful 37-85 record. That all changed when Landers arrived imagine very many coaches would have capitalized as much on their surroundin Athens. In his first campaign, Georgia posted a ings as Landers did. Landers hasn’t slowed down since respectable 16-12 record. The following year, the Lady Bulldogs won the Georgia arriving in Athens. He came to the UniAIAW Tournament and then captured versity of Georgia with a definite style of the WNIT title. Two years later, Georgia basketball he wanted to play and knew found itself advancing to the Final Four he would have to get the right players to in only the second edition of the NCAA play that way.
gia is one of only four schools to post a winning record during every campaign. The Lady Dogs also rank No. 4 in total wins during that time frame with 682. Georgia has earned bids to 26 of 28 editions of “March Madness,” secondbest nationally. And the Lady Bulldogs have made the most of those invitations, advancing to 17 “Sweet 16s,” 10 “Elite Eights” five Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games. Individually, Landers’ career win total of 807 and his average of 24.2 wins a season rank fifth among Division I women’s hoops head coaches with 20 or more years of tenure under their belts.
2009-10 Lad y Bulldo G Basketball
Bios, stats, and photos of the Georgia Lady Bulldogs.