Basketball Preview: McKeown, nothing but a success

It is not hard to figure out why the GW women’s basketball program in the 1990s has being nothing less than dominant. It is rather easy in fact to realize why GW is 224-85 (.725) in the decade, which includes two Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight appearance in seven NCAA Tournaments. This winning program comes from the winner who runs it – head coach Joe McKeown.

Entering his 11th season, McKeown put together a string of eight consecutive 20-win seasons from 1991-1998. McKeown led the amazing 1996-1997 Colonial women to a 28-6 record that took them to the East Region championship game, where GW knocked off the University of North Carolina before falling to the University of Notre Dame.

Always approachable, McKeown runs his team practices with high enthusiasm, expecting complete effort on and off the court. Sometimes he can be found wearing a GW sweatshirt and shorts, other times in a T-shirt and athletic pants. He paces the baseline with his hand under his chin, and other times he stands in the middle of the court instructing his team. Come game time, McKeown maintains a calm demeanor on the sidelines except for the occasional times when the jacket comes off. He said he knows that, above all, his players have to stay healthy for his team to compete.

We have to stay healthy, McKeown said. If our team stays healthy, I think we have a good shot.

McKeown said his three new assistant coaches, Kara McVey, Kathy Wilson and Tori Harrison, have brought a great attitude to the program.

They’re a great staff, and they understand what it takes, McKeown said. It’s exciting when you have staff committed to the players.

McKeown has many achievements at GW, beginning with the A-10 Coach of the Year award in 1991. In 1992, McKeown led GW to its first A-10 Tournament championship. McKeown led GW to a 26-win season in 1994-95, the team’s most victories ever in one season. Always setting higher goals, McKeown’s team tied its 26-win mark the following season and then surpassed it with the 28-win season. McKeown needs eight victories to reach 300 career wins.

McKeown, who would love a national championship to round out his achievements, tends to be always unselfish and said numbers don’t matter.

It’s not about numbers, McKeown said. It’s about having a great year and setting your goals high.

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