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Cougars Hire New Women's Basketball Coach

Former Saint Francis College head coach Jenny Przekwas takes the helm.

March 31, 1999

PULLMAN, Wash. - Jenny Przekwas, who guided Saint Francis College into the NCAA tournament each of the last four years, has been hired as Washington State University's new head women's coach, Athletic Director Rick Dickson announced Wednesday during a press conference on the WSU campus.

"I am extremely pleased to announce Jenny Przekwas as our new women's basketball coach," Dickson said. "Jenny has demonstrated a high level of competency at developing and coaching student-athletes in women's basketball over the past eight years. She built an outstanding program at Saint Francis College, winning her conference the past four years and participating in the NCAA tournament all four years."

"She surfaced during a thorough national search and I think we are very fortunate to have her as our new head coach," Dickson added. "She brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm to our program. We are looking forward to the future of Cougar basketball and the support and following her leadership will generate."

Przekwas, who graduated from Wyoming in 1986 and was an assistant Cowgirl coach for five years, has guided the Red Flash program the last eight years, compiling six straight winning seasons while fashioning a 133-99 overall record and a 99-43 record in the Northeast Conference. Her teams won both the regular season and league tournament titles each of the last four years and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.

"I am thrilled with the opportunity to lead the Cougar basketball program into the new millennium," Przekwas said Wednesday. "This is a great opportunity. The potential of the program to be competitive in the Pacific-10 Conference and nationally is exciting and I am excited about tapping into that potential."

"I am anxious to get back to West Coast recruiting and Washington recruiting," offered the Colorado native. "I enjoyed the area when I was at Wyoming and I am looking forward to again working with the high schools and the summer programs in the state of Washington."

This year Saint Francis, a school with an enrollment of 1,280 in Loretto, Pa., met the Connecticut Huskies in the first round. After beating the Red Flash, UConn advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. In 1998 Saint Francis met Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA tournament, while in 1997 it was Alabama and in 1996 Georgia.

"Jenny is known and recognized for her knowledge of the game and her ability to teach young players," Dickson said. "At Saint Francis her players not only developed into outstanding basketball players, but were very strong academically." She annually placed several players on the NEC academic honor roll and two of her players earned GTE/CoSIDA District II Academic All-American recognition.

It took Przekwas just three years to turn around the Saint Francis program that had not enjoyed a winning season since 1980. In her first two seasons the Red Flash were 11-17 and 8-18, but in 1994 she orchestrated a 15-14 season that produced a 12-6 record in the Northeast Conference and a second place finish. The conference finish earned the school its first-ever conference tournament berth.

A year later, after an 0-6 start, Saint Francis rebounded by winning 11 straight during a 19-10 season. The next year, 1996, the Red Flash began a string of four straight conference championships that also produced four post-season NEC tournament titles and four appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Przekwas is the winningest coach in Saint Francis history, both in wins, 133, and winning percentage, 56.9%. The two-time NEC coach of the year winner (1995, 1997) won the school's Soriano Outstanding Service Award in 1998 and is a voting member of the USA Today/ESPN board of coaches.

During her tenure nine players were named to the All-NEC first team and she coached three players who won player of the year honors. Her 1998 team won 22 games, the most ever by a Saint Francis team.

"Jenny is familiar with the Northwest and the West Coast. She grew up in Colorado and played for four years at Wyoming," Dickson pointed out.

The selection of Przekwas drew a very positive response from NEC commissioner John Iamarino. "Jenny is an outstanding coach and a terrific individual," he offered. "She will represent Washington State University very well. We hate to lose her, but I know she is ready for the next level. She is extremely organized in everything she does: the way she runs her practices, the way she conducts her team on the bench during a game, the way the team travels and how she handles post-game situations. She is an excellent coach in terms of adjusting the personnel she has and in her strategy during the game."

Washington State University

NAME: Genevieve L. (Jenny) Przekwas (Purr-ZEEK-was)

BORN: July 31, 1964, Denver, Colo.

HOMETOWN: Littleton, Colo.

HIGH SCHOOL: Columbine High, 1982 - Earned All-Jefferson County Conference athlete of the year honors as a's female hall of fame award winner honoring the top all-around students senior year...competed in basketball, volleyball and track (sprints, jumps).

COLLEGE: University of Wyoming, 1986 - Graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance...two-year captain for the Cowgirls...starter as a junior and senior...coached by Margie McDonald (freshman) and Dan Richards...set school records for career assists (374) and steals (155)...set single-season records with 75 steals in 1985 and assists, first with 157 in 1985 and then with 163 the next season...single-game record holder with 14 assists against Utah in 1985.

COACHING EXPERIENCE: Saint Francis College (of Pa.), 1992-1999...Directed the Red Flash to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, 1996-97-98-99 while compiling a 133-99 record overall and a 99-43 record in Northeast Conference play during her eight seasons...her teams finished 16-3 in NEC Tournament competition...twice named conference coach of the year, 1995 and 1997...during her tenure, she became the first Saint Francis coach to win the NEC title, compete in the NCAA tournament and win 20 games...she also coached the team's first conference player of the year (Stacy Alexander, 1995) and newcomer of the year (Colleen Joyce, 1993) and in 1994 guided her team to a 15-14 record, the team's first winning season since 1980...won conference titles in 1996-97-98-99...coached player of the year recipients in 1995, 1997 and 1998...her 1998 team won a school-best 22 victories...Saint Francis players were named to the All-NEC first team nine 1998 she received the Soriano Outstanding Service Award at Saint Francis College...six members of her 1999 team recorded 3.00 or better grade point averages in the fall...her 1996 team ranked third in the nation among Division I teams for cumulative GPA...left Saint Francis as the school's winningest coach (133 wins, 57%), most NEC tournament wins (16).

University of Wyoming, 1987-91 - Joined head coach Chad Lavin's staff in 1986 as an assistant coach...a year later took on recruiting coordinator 1990 the Cowgirls notched a school best 24-8 record and earned a trip to the Women's NIT after winning the High Country Athletic Conference title...during her five years Wyoming was 81-65.

WSU APPOINTMENT: March 31, 1999

WSU RESPONSIBILITIES: Head coach, WSU Women's Basketball

DID YOU KNOW: Jenny Przekwas holds a second-degree black belt in Tae-Kwan-Do, the Korean martial art...she plays the guitar and piano...once considered using her degree in finance as a spring board to Wall Street.


1992 Saint Francis 11 17 8 8 Fourth
1993 Saint Francis 8 18 7 11 Seventh
1994 Saint Francis 15 14 12 6 Second
1995 Saint Francis 19 10 15 3 Second
1996 Saint Francis 19 11 13 5 First, NCAA vs. Georgia
1997 Saint Francis 21 9 16 2 First, NCAA vs. Alabama
1998 Saint Francis 22 8 14 2 First, NCAA vs. ODU
1999 Saint Francis 18 12 14 6 First, NCAA vs. UConn
SFC Record 133 99 99 43 4 NEC Titles, 4 NCAA Appearances
2000 Washington State



Saint Francis College:

  • Four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, 1996-97-98-99
  • Four straight Northeast Conference championshps, 1996-97-98-99
  • NEC coach of the year, 1995, 1997
  • Six straight winning seasons, 1994-99
  • First NEC championship, 1996
  • First NCAA tournament bid, 1996
  • First winning season, 1994 (15-14) since 1980
  • First 20-win season, 1997 (21-9)
  • First NEC player of the year, 1995
  • First NEC newcomer of the year, 1993
  • Most wins in a season, 1998 (22)
  • All-time winningest coach, wins and percentage (133-99, 56.9%)
  • Most wins in NEC tournament (16)
  • Soriano Outstanding Service Award, Saint Francis College, 1998
  • Voting member, USA Today/ESPN board of coaches, 1996-99
  • Commitment to Equity committee for NCAA certification
  • Chair, Saint Francis College Code of Ethics committee
  • NCAA Div. I Legislative committee, 1993-95

Washington State Cougars Athletics