Athletics Hall of Fame Spotlight: Tracey Braden, Women’s Basketball Coach
Westminster College Athletics will recognize the 2018 Hall of Fame class Oct. 20 as part of Homecoming weekend. Each week leading up to the Hall of Fame ceremony, Westminster will recognize one of the five inductees.
Tracey Braden served as the women’s basketball coach at Westminster from 2007-2017, including stepping into the role of Athletics Director in 2016.
“I am so humbled and honored in being inducted into the Westminster College Athletics Hall of Fame! Westminster holds so many incredible memories for me and in many ways, helped shape who I am as a coach,” said Braden. “The players, staff, and faculty truly made my time there so rewarding.”
Braden is the winningest coach in women’s basketball history at Westminster, amassing a record of 155-100 through her 10 seasons, including seven out of those 10 being winning seasons. The squad’s 22 wins in the 2011-12 season remains a program-high for wins in a season.
Westminster women’s basketball won its first St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) title under Braden in the 2010-11 season, claiming the regular season title after recording the program’s only undefeated conference season, going 16-0. The following season, the program earned its first-ever NCAA berth, winning the regular season title along with the SLIAC Tournament title. In 2012-13, the squad repeated both feats and returned to the NCAA Tournament. In 2015-16, Braden led her fourth team to a SLIAC regular season title.
Braden earned four SLIAC Coach of the Year awards in her 10 years as a Blue Jay beginning in the 2008-09 season after the squad posted the highest number of conference wins in program history. She then earned the award after the 2010-11, 2012-13, and 2015-16 seasons.
Along with her impressive seasons, Braden has also led many players to individual success on the court. A total of 25 players were named to SLIAC All-Conference teams during her tenure, including 2010-11 SLIAC Player of the Year Rachel Backes and 2016-17 SLIAC Player of the Year Andrea Zalis.
On top of success on the court, Braden’s teams and players were known for their exemplary performance in the classroom. Seven of her 10 teams were named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, including posting the top team grade point average in the nation in 2013-14. Three of her players were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team, including Leigh Ann Lutz, who was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America third team in 2013-14. A total of 26 of her players were named to the SLIAC All-Academic team.
“Legendary coach, Pat Summitt said, ‘you win with people’ and for me, this is exactly how I feel about Westminster! We won because of the people connected with our program, starting with the student-athletes!,” said Braden.
Braden is now the Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Senior Woman Administrator at University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.