Beth Dunkenberger begins her seventh season as the head coach of the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team after guiding the Hokies to postseason appearances in three of her first six seasons. Dunkenberger has compiled an 99-85 record at Tech and is 164-135 in her 10-season career as a head coach.
|Metro Conference tournament title|
|NCAA first round|
|Metro Conference regular season title|
|NCAA second round|
|NCAA Sweet 16|
|NIT Championship Runner-up|
|Southern Conference Coach of the Year|
|Most Victories in School History (21)|
|Southern Conference tournament runner-up|
|NCAA first round|
|NCAA second round|
|WNIT third round|
Dunkenberger’s 2009-10 squad battled its way through the always challenging ACC schedule led by seniors Utahya Drye, an Honorable Mention All-ACC performer, and Lindsay Biggs. The highlight of the year was Tech’s 79-64 domination of No. 10 North Carolina in Cassel Coliseum.
In her tenure as head coach, several of Dunkenberger’s players have gone on to professional careers. Kerri Gardin became the first Tech player to see action in a WNBA game with the Connecticut Sun while former players Kirby Copeland, Nara Diawara and Dawn Chriss have all played in Europe. Additionally, Diawara was selected to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games team for her native country of Mali.
The program under Dunkenberger has produced four All-ACC performers in Gardin (2005, 2006), Copeland (2007), Brittany Cook (2008) and Drye (2009) in addition to one member of the All-ACC Freshman team.
Dunkenberger’s commitment to academic excellence is best displayed by the 2008-09 senior class. Cook is a second year-medical student at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Laura Haskins and A.J. Lemaitre are Master’s candidates in the prestigious Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech while Amber Hall is a second year student at the University of Florida Law School. Additionally, Biggs and freshman Alyssa Fenyn were named this past season to the ACC Women’s Basketball All-Academic team.
Not only have her teams been successful, but her student-athletes themselves have garnered several awards and honors during the Dunkenberger era at Virginia Tech. In 2009, Haskins was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team as well as being selected to the District III First Team. Haskins also was selected as the first recipient of the Kay Yow ACC Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Brittany Cook was selected to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team as well as being named to the District III First Team. In 2005, Erin Gibson and Carrie Mason were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America District III University Division team. Gibson was also selected as one of 29 ACC scholar-athletes to be named as a recipient of the ACC Postgraduate Scholarship, awarded to individuals who have performed with distinction in both the classroom and in their respective sports, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community. Mason also received the scholarship following the 2005-06 season.
Dunkenberger was named the fifth head women’s basketball coach at Virginia Tech on April 6, 2004.
Dunkenberger has a long association with the Virginia Tech women’s basketball program, having served on Carol Alfano’s staff for nine years (1988-97). She worked as a graduate assistant for two years before being promoted to a full-time assistant position, and helped lead the Hokies to the 1994 and 1995 NCAA Tournaments, the first two appearances in school history. Dunkenberger not only helped lead Tech to two NCAA Tournaments, but also to the Metro Conference Tournament championship in 1994 and the Metro Conference regular-season championship in 1995. She served three years as recruiting coordinator and was responsible for signing Tere Williams, the first Parade All-American in the school’s history. In addition, Dunkenberger assisted in recruiting eight members of the Tech 1,000-point club and four of the top six scorers in the program’s history.
Dunkenberger returned to Blacksburg in 2004 after guiding Western Carolina to a 65-50 record, including a 14-17 mark in her final season when the sixth-seeded Catamounts won three games to advance to the Southern Conference Tournament finals. The program had only won a total of four tournament games in its previous 20 years in the conference.
The Catamounts came up with huge wins during the 2002-03 season, including a 73-69 victory over Chattanooga on the road to clinch second place in the SoCon and a 64-54 win over UNC Greensboro heading into the league tournament. Dunkenberger’s efforts earned her 2002-03 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors as the Catamounts finished the season with a 21-7 record, the program’s best since beginning NCAA Division I competition in 1981-82. It was the first time a WCU women’s basketball coach had received the recognition.
In Dunkenberger’s first season (2000-01), the Cats posted a 13-15 record, the most wins for the program in 12 seasons. She backed that up with a 17-11 record in the 2001-02 season. Dunkenberger reached 50 wins faster than any other head coach in the program’s history.
In 2003-04 at Western Carolina, Tiffany Hamm was named to the SoCon All-Conference team after being voted the 2002-03 Player of the Year by the SoCon Sports Media Association. Hamm also earned 2002-03 all-conference honors along with teammate Jennifer Gardner, while Erin May graced the All-Freshman team that season. It was the fourth consecutive year a WCU athlete was represented on the All-Rookie list.
In addition to the athletic honors, Yoneko Allen was named to the 2004 Verizon Academic All-America Third Team after being named to the All-District III team for the third consecutive season. She was also a two-time Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar along with teammate Christy Blackwell, who received the honor the previous year. Laura Echols racked up quite a number of honors in her last two seasons under Dunkenberger’s tutelage. Echols was named to the 2001 and 2002 Verizon Academic All-District III teams, the 2001 and 2002 all-conference teams and the SoCon Player of the Week three times.
Other Catamounts receiving honors under Dunkenberger’s guidance included 2001 Conference Freshman of the Year Tiffany Hamm, who was the SoCon leading rookie scorer that year, with 12.0 ppg; Ki-Ki Glass, who was named to the 2002 SoCon All-Freshman team; Jennifer Gardner, who was named a SoCon Player of the Week in 2002; and Yoneko Allen, who was named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District III second team, an Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar and Western Carolina’s 2002 Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Dunkenberger’s emphasis on the importance of academics is easily recognized. Her 2000-01 squad finished in the top 25 in the nation for women’s basketball programs academically, ranking sixth with an overall team GPA of 3.313.
During Dunkenberger’s three-year tenure as an assistant coach, the last as recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida, she helped the Gators to a 63-36 overall record. The Lady Gators advanced to postseason play all three years with the 1997-98 team making an appearance in the Sweet 16. While in Gainesville, Dunkenberger had the opportunity to help coach five players who are currently, or were previously, on rosters in the WNBA.
Dunkenberger was valedictorian at Shawsville High School and graduated cum laude from Randolph-Macon College with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1988. She was named academic all-district as well as all-conference. She continued her education by earning a Master of Science degree in education at Virginia Tech in 1990 and served as the commencement speaker at both her high school and undergraduate graduation ceremonies. A native of Shawsville, Va., she is the daughter of Tom and Rebecca Dunkenberger.