Tricia Binford, MSU’s head women’s basketball coach, was named HERO Sports Fan Choice Coach of the Year in Division-I women’s basketball.
HERO Sports is a collegiate sports news platform that promotes coaches and players from every sport in every division. Their goal is to empower collegiate athletic departments when it comes to recruiting prospects, building the fan base, engaging alumni and hiring staff.
With each sport, they hold a fan-based vote for best coach in the division based on their performances on and off the court. More than 6,500 votes were cast in the Division-I women’s basketball portion, and Binford won with 2,563 votes (38.31 percent). Other coaches in the race for Coach of the Year included Western Illinois’ JD Gravina, who collected 2,486 votes (37.16 percent), as well as Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut, Kelly Graces of the University of Oregon and Maureen Magarity of the University of New Hampshire.
Prior to coaching at MSU, Binford was the WNBA’s 31st overall pick in the 1998 draft, and played professionally for the Utah Starzz (1998-1999) and the Cleveland Rockers (1999-2002). She also played professionally in Australia for two years with the NWBL’s Brisbane Blazers, Latrobe Demons and Launceston Tornadoes.
Following her professional playing career, Binford served as an assistant coach at Boise State University (her alma mater) and at Utah State University before taking over the Montana State women’s basketball program in the spring of 2005.
In her 12 years at MSU, Binford has become the winningest coach in the program’s history. She was named the 2015-2016 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year and, as of last season, Binford has produced 75 Big Sky Conference All-Academic honorees, 26 Big Sky Conference Players of the Week and 19 All-Big Sky Conference performers.
Out of her program has also come one Two-Time Academic All American, one Big Sky MVP – Jasmine Hommes and two Big Sky Conference Defensive Players of the Year. She has also coached two Big Sky Newcomers of the Year, one Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year, two Big Sky Top Reserves of the Year and four MSU/Big Sky Conference Female Scholar Athletes of the Year.
“What an incredible season of accomplishments, and to be able to cap it off with the tourney championship was amazing. I’m so proud of our team for their ability to respond to every opponent’s best game. We had so many players step up throughout the course of the year throughout our entire bench, which showed our depth, trust and chemistry as a team.” Binford said, looking back on the 2016-2017 season.
During this past season she led the MSU Women’s Basketball Team to a record of 25-7, a Big Sky Conference title and championship win and their first performance in the NCAA tournament since 1993. This season’s performance, as well as her record of excellence, earned her the well-deserved vote of HERO Coach of the Year.
“Coach Binford has worked so hard to create a championship team and a championship program,” senior Margreet Barhoum said. “She has succeeded and is more than deserving of this award. She cares about her players and assistant coaches on and off the court, making her both an awesome coach and person.”