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Coaching Greatness: Jody Conradt
Kyle Martin

1986, Basketball, Coaching, College Basketball, College Sports, Jody Conradt, Longhorns, National Champions, Sport History, UT Sports, Women's Basketball, Women's Sports

Addie Jo “Jody” Conradt was born in Goldthwaite, Texas, on May 13, 1941. Although science may not be able to prove this claim, she has basketball in her DNA. As a teenager at Goldthwaite High School, Conradt played on the girls’ basketball team and averaged 40 points per game. She attended Baylor University where she played on the women’s basketball team and averaged 20 points per game. She completed a B.S. in Physical Education in 1963 and an M.S. in Physical Education in 1969.

Conradt’s first collegiate coaching job was at Sam Houston State University where she served as the coach of the women’s basketball team during their first three seasons (1969–1973). She also coached the volleyball and track teams. In 1973, the University of Texas at Arlington hired her as the women’s athletic director as well as the coach for women’s volleyball, women’s softball, and women’s basketball (1973–1976).

In response to the passage of Title IX, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) created a separate women’s athletic department in 1975. A year later, Donna Lopiano, UT’s first Women’s Athletic Director, hired Conradt to coach both the women’s basketball and volleyball teams. After two years of coaching both sports, Conradt began to focus solely on women’s basketball, beginning a sustained period of Southwest Conference dominance and basketball excellence in Austin. Her teams were known as the “Lady Longhorns” and Conradt put them on the marquee of the Frank Erwin Center, where both the men’s and women’s teams played their home games. She elevated the women’s game through the use of higher level thinking and strategy, implementing a full court press and a double-low-post offensive scheme, along with a transition game that brought speed and excitement to the court. Besides winning a lot of basketball games, Conradt made sure that she and her players engaged with fans and grew the game. From 1986 to 1991, the Longhorns were the women’s basketball attendance leaders, averaging an NCAA record 8,481 fans per game during the 1989 season.

A photo of a table style display case in which several small artifacts from Jody Conradt's personal collection are on display. A burnt orange banner, two medals, photo prints, a jewelry box, a small volleyball, and more.

With Conradt as head coach, the Longhorns ranked in the Associated Press’s Top 10 for all but one year of the 1980s and reached number one in the nation in four straight seasons (1984 to 1988). Perhaps their most dominant record is the 183-game win streak against Southwest Conference opponents. For twelve years (1978-1990), the Longhorns didn’t lose a single conference game. During that stretch, they won the 1986 NCAA national championship and recorded the first-ever undefeated season in collegiate women’s basketball (34-0). Under Conradt, the team reached the Final Four again in 1987 and once more in 2003. Conradt also served as the head coach of the US Women’s National Team and won the gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games, the team’s first title since 1963.

Conradt was the first women’s basketball coach to reach 700 career wins. She achieved her 800th win on January 22, 2003, against Texas Tech University, and her 900th win on March 6, 2007, against the University of Missouri. At the time of Conradt’s retirement, only Pat Summit (University of Tennessee) had more career wins as a head coach—in both men’s and women’s college basketball history. Twenty-eight of her players went on to professional basketball careers, four were US Olympians, and almost every single one of her players graduated. Conradt’s student-athletes posted a 99% graduation rate.

She retired in 2007; however, Coach Conradt has continued to serve as special assistant to UT’s Women’s Athletics department since 2018. In addition to her coaching, Conradt is well known for her community work, especially for raising money for scholarships through the Neighborhood Longhorns Program, promoting organizations such as Coaches vs. Cancer, the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, America’s Walk for Diabetes, and SafePlace––an Austin shelter for domestic violence victims. In 2003, she was awarded the Harvey Penick Award for Excellence in the Game of Life by Caritas, an organization based in Austin that specializes in fighting poverty and hunger.

A photo of the Jody Conradt exhibit where a basketball commemorating her 600th career win is on display in a wall vitrine.