George Washington 68, Stony Brook 55
Joe McKeown (pronounced Mick-Q-ann) enters his 19th season at George Washington after enduring one of the most adverse, yet successful, seasons of his career in 2006-07. McKeown and the Colonials returned to the nation's Top 10 and Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with last winter's fascinating 28-4 finish. However, the 21 victories posted while McKeown coped with a serious knee injury lends testament to the solid foundation the long-time coach has built in his 18 years in Foggy Bottom.
Fast approaching his milestone 500th career victory, McKeown's coaching record ranks among some of Division I's elite. His 482 career victories rank 23rd on the D-I active coaches list and 37th all-time, while his .743 winning percentage is 13th on the active list, 12th all-time. His 18 20-win seasons are tied for the 17th most all-time.
The five-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (1991, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007) and two-time National Coach of the Year nominee (1995, 1997) is by far GW's and the A-10's winningest mentor. His 414 total victories account for better than two-thirds of the program's 587 triumphs and his 228 conference victories are 141 better than the next closest active coach.
McKeown came to GW in mid-September of 1989, inheriting a team that went 9-19 a year earlier. In just 14 months, McKeown built the Colonials into one of the elite women's basketball programs in the country. His first team posted a 14-14 record and the program has soared past the .500 mark since then. In 1991, he was named an All-American Coach by the American Women's Sports Federation and collected his first A-10 Coach of the Year trophy after going 23-7.
The very next season, 1991-92, the Colonials exploded onto the national scene, climbing as high as sixth in the Associated Press Women's Basketball Top 25 Poll and staying there for three weeks. It remains the highest ranking for any women's program in the history of GW athletics. To cap off the season, the Charles E. Smith Athletics Center played host to its first NCAA Tournament game as the Colonials scored a 70-69 triumph against the nation's only unbeaten team, Vermont. After the season, McKeown was invited to be a floor coach at the 1992 Olympic Trials, assisting the U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team in Colorado Springs, CO.
With McKeown at the controls, the Colonials put together eight consecutive 20-win seasons and won five Atlantic 10 regular-season championships from 1991-1998, reaching the postseason each year. The 1995-96 campaign saw GW post its second straight 26-win season, tie a school record at the time for wins in a season, make its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in six years and capture its third consecutive Atlantic 10 regular-season championship. The Colonials also won their second A-10 Tournament title that year, and their 15-game winning streak was the longest in the nation at one point.
The 1996-97 team won a school-record 28 games and reached the championship game of the NCAA Tournament's East Regional. The squad won 22 consecutive games during the season and finished the Atlantic 10 portion of its schedule with a perfect 16-0 record to capture its fourth-straight Atlantic 10 regular-season crown.
After missing out on the NCAA Tournament in 1998-99 despite a 19-9 campaign, McKeown has led GW to eight straight postseason appearances and seven trips to the "Big Dance." In 2002-03, the Colonials won both the A-10 regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, finishing 25-7 overall and peaking at No. 21 in both national polls.
Perhaps McKeown's finest coaching job came last season, when he led GW to a school-record tying 28 victories and the program's sixth consecutive A-10 regular season crown. McKeown ruptured his patellar tendon in mid-December and had to endure several months of grueling physical therapy in the midst of the record-breaking season. The Colonials didn't miss a beat, rolling to a perfect 14-0 league record to become the first program in conference history to accomplish the feat twice. GW peaked at No. 8 in the national polls, the second highest ranking in program history, while riding the nation's third longest winning streak at 19 games. In the NCAA Tournament, McKeown shed his crutches and the Colonials dispatched Boise State and Texas A&M, coached by long-time coaching friend Gary Blair, to reach the Sweet 16 for the third time.
The Colonials have reached several milestones in McKeown's 18 years at GW. He led the school to its first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship in 1992 and its first regular-season co-championship in 1993-94. In 1995, McKeown guided the Colonials to their first outright regular-season title. The 1995 squad didn't stop there as it went on to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament crown and, as the fourth seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional, made its first appearance in the Sweet 16. Two years later, McKeown led GW to a school-record 28 victories en route to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and a No. 10 final national ranking.
Under McKeown's tutelage, four of his charges have been named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year a total of five times. Debbie Hemery was the first to earn the honor in 1995. Tajama Abraham won it two years later (1997) and Noelia Gomez garnered the award in 1999. Cathy Joens became GW's first two-time recipient of the honor, winning it in 2003 and being named co-Player of the Year in 2004. McKeown also has coached seven A-10 Rookies of the Year, four Defensive Players of the Year, five Sixth Players of the Year, 14 All-Rookie Team selections and 48 All-Conference performers.
Senior Kimberly Beck is the most recent addition to the list of players who have earned All-America status under McKeown after garnering Associated Press honorable mention honors this past season. Six other Colonials have been bestowed All-American accolades, most notably Abraham, who was a first team Kodak All-American in 1997 and honorable mention selection in 1996. Anna Montañana earned WBCA/Kodak honorable mention laurels in 2004-05, while Joens claimed Associated Press honorable mention and WBCA/Kodak honorable mention honors in 2003-04. Gomez was named an honorable mention Kodak All-American in 1999. Hemery received honorable mention Associated Press All-America recognition in 1995, along with teammate Darlene Saar. Saar also was a 1993 honorable mention Kodak All-American.
In addition to McKeown's considerable success on the court, he also has produced winning teams off the court, most notably in the classroom. His philosophy of what it means to be a student-athlete has made well-rounded indivduals out of the athletes he has coached.
During McKeown's stint in Foggy Bottom, Colonials' players have received Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference recognition 17 times and seven players have been named CoSIDA District 2 Academic All-Americans. Of those seven, Jennifer Shasky was a Rhodes Scholar nominee and another, Kristin McArdle, received a Fulbright Scholarship. Colleen McCrea, a 1997 graduate who majored in accounting, received the GW School of Business Distinguished Scholar Award after posting the highest grade-point average of all graduating business students. 2003 graduate Lindsey Davidson was named the NCAA Woman of the Year representative for Washington, DC. Joens was selected as the Atlantic 10's Student-Athlete of the Year in 2004. Most recently, Kenan Cole became the program's second first-team Academic All-American and was awarded the GW School of Engineering's Distinguished Scholar Award.
On an individual level, McKeown has passed several milestones in his years as the Colonials' head coach. McKeown reached 100 career victories in his second season at GW, his fifth season overall as a Division I court boss. In December 1995, he reached the 200-win mark in his 10th season. McKeown won the 250th game of his career in March 1997 and his 300th victory came in the 1999-2000 season against Maryland-Eastern Shore. It only took two more seasons for him to notch his 350th win, a feat he accomplished three years ago with a triumph against Temple on January 18, 2002. McKeown recorded career win No. 400 versus La Salle on January 31, 2004 at the Charles E. Smith Athletics Center. In February 2006, McKeown became the 45th Division I coach to reach 450 career victories with a thrilling overtime win at Temple.
McKeown came to the Colonials with seven years of collegiate coaching experience, including three as a head coach. He began his career in 1979, serving as an assistant coach at Kent State, while pursuing his master's degree in athletics administration. The result of McKeown's first coaching experience should come as no surprise to GW fans, a 21-8 record.
McKeown was hired as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Oklahoma for the 1983-84 season. In his first season in Norman, he helped guide the Sooners to a 22-10 record and a Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) berth.
Oklahoma posted at least 20 wins in each of McKeown's three seasons on the coaching staff. The Sooners went to the Sweet 16 in his final year and finished the campaign with a Top-10 national ranking.
McKeown was named head coach at New Mexico State University in 1986 and led the Roadrunners to a school record for victories and averaged nearly 23 wins per season (68-20, 77.2 winning pct.) in his three-year tenure. He took New Mexico State to the NCAA Tournament in his first two seasons in Las Cruces, including finishing with an overall record of 26-3 in 1987-88, when he was named the High Country Conference's (HCC) Coach of the Year.
As a player, McKeown earned Junior College National Small Player of the Year honors at Mercer College in Trenton, NJ. He helped the team to a 33-1 record and a spot in the NJCAA championship game. McKeown transferred to Kent State the following season, where he was the co-captain of the Golden Flashes as a senior and earned honorable mention All-Mid-American Conference honors. His school record of 15 assists in a game still stands after 26 years.
McKeown, who signed a contract extension through 2014 this offseason, and his wife, Laura, have three children, Meghan, Joey, and Ally. The McKeown's reside in Fairfax, VA.