July 10, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. -- - Cassie Sawyer, one of the most successful junior college basketball coaches in Arizona, has joined Washington State University's women's program, according to Cougar head coach Jenny Przekwas.
Head coach at Phoenix College since 1993, Sawyer guided the Bears to a fifth place national ranking and a district title this past winter. Phoenix College, ranked number one nationally for eight weeks, finished the year 28-6 overall and 23-2 in ACCAC play.
"We're excited to have Cassie join the coaching staff," offered Przekwas. "Her experience will be invaluable to us as we continue to build this program. Cassie's success at the junior college level was outstanding. I think she has the characteristics to transfer that knowledge and competitiveness to the highest level of Division I basketball."
Sawyer was accorded regional coach of the year honors in 1998 and 2000. Her club also won the regional title in 1998.
The 1988 Grand Canyon College graduate took over a struggling Bear program in 1993-94. After a disappointing 7-23 finish her first season, Sawyer guided Phoenix College to three straight runner-up finishes in district play, then captured her first title in 1998. During her seven years at PC, she coached five NJCAA All-Americans and numerous players who captured academic All-America honors.
One of the mainstays of her program the last two years was Szudia Bragg, a 5-10 guard-forward who signed a national letter of intent to play at WSU next season. Bragg, the Bears' team captain, averaged 14 points and nearly eight rebounds a game last winter.
"Cassie was Szudia's coach at Phoenix College for two years and they'll bring a certain amount of chemistry to the team."
The California native who grew up in Buckeye, Ariz., started her coaching career at her alma mater, Grand Canyon College, in 1988. Two years later she was named the head girls' basketball coach at Antelope High in Arizona, where the team was second in the region two straight years.
In 1991, eight years after graduating from Buckeye High, Sawyer returned to her prep alma mater as the girls' basketball coach. In two years, Buckeye High was 55-8 and competed in the State playoffs each year. For her efforts, Sawyer was Arizona 3A coach of the year in 1992. She also coached in the Arizona 1A-3A all-star game in 1992 and 1993.