Two coaching legends, one court

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Washington University is giving both of its basketball coaches the ultimate honor -- their names on the floor.

With one basketball court, and two multiple-national-title coaches, what’s a school to do? If you’re Washington University in St. Louis, you simply name your floor for both of them.

WashU announced it will name the Field House court for Mark Edwards and Nancy Fahey, honoring the duo’s 35th and 30th anniversaries as WashU’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

Edwards-Fahey Court will be officially dedicated during a ceremony held between the women’s and men’s basketball games against Case Western Reserve on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, a night on which the university will also recognize its athletics hall of fame inductees. Fahey has won 688 games and five national titles as the head coach of the Bears women’s basketball team, while Edwards has won 627 games and two national championships as the men’s basketball coach.

“The coaching legacies of Nancy Fahey and Mark Edwards are nearly unparalleled in the history of NCAA Division III athletics,” said chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Their longevities and winning percentages put them in a very rare group ... in the history of American collegiate sports. They have changed the lives of generations of student-athletes by the way they lead and the spirit of competition they have instilled. They have nurtured the development of great athletes and even greater individuals, and I could not be more pleased with the designation of our home court in their honor.”

“For more than three decades, Mark Edwards and Nancy Fahey have left an indelible imprint on the face of our athletics program,” said athletic director Josh Whitman. “Not only have they enjoyed remarkable success, but they have done it with grace, humility, and a collaborative spirit. They have been tremendous campus citizens, with a reach that far transcends the walls of the WU Field House. We are excited to celebrate this shared milestone in such a significant way.”

Edwards, who will toe the sidelines for his 35th season at his alma mater, guided WashU to the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division III national championships, becoming just the fourth school in Division III history to win consecutive titles. Edwards ranks sixth in active wins by a Division III head coach and 12th all-time in NCAA Division III wins with 627. He has guided the Bears to 13 University Athletic Association titles and 19 trips to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, 19 student-athletes have earned 29 All-America awards under Edwards, along with eight Academic All-America honorees.

“What a great honor for Nancy and me to be recognized in the naming of the court.  Although we are basketball coaches, I feel that we will be representing all of the student-athletes who have achieved so much success on the Field House court,” Edwards said. “The thing that makes this honor so special is that our names will forever be linked to future athletic successes and not just those of the past. Every time a net is cut down or a banner hung in the rafters, we will be a part of it. I can think of no greater honor than this.”

Fahey, who enters her 30th season at WashU, has led the women’s basketball team to a 688-124 (.847) overall record. She is the only basketball coach in NCAA Division III history to win five national championships, including a stretch of four consecutive titles from 1998-2001. Fahey is also the leader of a program that owns the second-longest winning streak in NCAA women's basketball history at 81 games.

Fahey, who has led WashU to a Division III-record 10 Final Four appearances, became the fastest coach in NCAA women's basketball history to reach 600 wins, doing so in her 706th game during the 2011-12 season. Since her arrival in 1986, Fahey's teams have won 21 UAA titles and made 27 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. She achieved another pinnacle in 2012, becoming the first NCAA Division III representative to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. She ranks fourth among all active NCAA coaches with a .847 career winning percentage.

“I am incredibly humbled by this honor, but this is truly about the WashU basketball family. That means every assistant coach, trainer, manager, administrator, SID and professor who has helped make this such a fantastic journey,” Fahey said. “My special thanks go to the players! They are the ones who have given their all for the past 30 years. This is a Bear family honor.”