March 7, 2006
University of San Francisco Head Women's Basketball Coach Mary Hile-Nepfel resigned her position today (March 7th, 2006) after leading the program for nineteen seasons.
"I feel that it is time for a change for both the program and myself," said Coach Hile-Nepfel, who finished her USF career with a 270-264 mark. It is time for a change in the program and time for me to take care of me," she continued. "After my illness (pneumonia) last season it caused me to pause and reflect on the priorities in my life. I want to spend more time with Bill and my family.
"It has been a great experience to be back on the Hilltop for the past 19 years. I will cherish the memories as I move onto other possibilities in my life. I am excited about the future.
"The WCC tournament win over Gonzaga and the near-win over Santa Clara has given the returning players something to build on for next season. The players and the program earned some respect in the tournament and that is very important to me.
"I am proud of this program's accomplishments. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to coach here with my husband Bill.
"It is in the best interest of the program and myself to resign. The players need a change and I need a change."
Hile-Nepfel is the winningest coach in the history of the USF women's program taking her team to 270 career wins. Her 123 career West Coast Conference victories are eclipsed only by Portland's Jim Sollars.
"I have really enjoyed my relationship with Mary over the years," said USF Director of Athletics Bill Hogan." She brought some great players to the Hilltop and a lot of excitement. At times like this, it is important to recognize the impact she has had on USF and women's intercollegiate basketball.
"The Championship seasons and the tough times come and go but we will remember her most as an outstanding role model for young people, a dedicated staff member to the University and a person with a tremendous amount of class. Mary will be missed and we wish her the best."
Coach Hile-Nepfel is a member of the USF Athletic Hall of Fame and was the first women's basketball player to have her number (#15) retired.
As a player from 1977 to 1981, she scored 2,324 points which puts her atop the USF scoring chart for women or men. She was a two-time All-American at USF and twice a finalist for the Wade Trophy, awarded to the nation's top collegiate player.
Mary returned to the Hilltop as Co-Head Coach along with her husband Bill in 1987. Along with Bill she took USF to three straight NCAA tournaments in 1995, 1996 and 1997, with the 1996 team the only West Coast Conference team to advance to the NCAA "Sweet Sixteen." When Bill decided to move into Athletic Administration, Mary took over as the sole head coach in 2000.
The Dons finished a record of 9-20 this year but were a big surprise in the West Coast Conference postseason tournament knocking off co-champion Gonzaga on their home court in the first round and barely falling to top seed Santa Clara in overtime in the semifinals.