Jill Dunn enters her ninth season as the head coach of the JU women’s basketball program in 2012-13 and continues to have Dolphins in hunt for the program’s first Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, which eluded them in the last five seasons.
In eight seasons, Dunn has transformed the program into an A-Sun force as the Dolphins earned three trips to the conference championship game (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11). She has also led the Dolphins to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history (2006-07, 2007-08), while missing the feat for the third consecutive time in 2008-09 by one game (19). JU also received votes in the 2007-08 USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top-25 Poll.
In 2011-12, the Dolphins reached the A-Sun semifinals for sixth straight season under Dunn. JU broke the single-season program record for steals with an A-Sun best 334. The Dolphins also swept the season series against ETSU for the first time since they joined the conference. Senior Crystal Bell had a standout year after earning the program’s first A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year with a JU single-season and A-Sun high 84 steals. She also led the team in scoring (13.1) and blocks (32) to garner second team all-conference honors. Bell finish her career ranked fifth all-time in steals with 139.
In the post, sophomore Jade Cargill recorded eight double-doubles, while also putting up the fifth highest single-season marks in steals (57) and rebounds (257). Junior Tracie Sneed made a team-best 120 free throws, two shy of the JU single-season record.
In 2010-11, the Dolphins were once again at the doorstep of earning a NCAA Tournament berth after reaching the A-Sun Championship game for the third time in the last four seasons. The Dolphins opened the year with a school-record 5-1 mark en route to hitting double-digit wins for the sixth straight season (15). Some of JU’s victories included wins against ACC foe Wake Forest, 2011 NCAA Tournament participant Hampton and East Tennessee State in the A-Sun Tournament which ended the Lady Bucs bid at a fourth straight conference title. Along the way, Dunn also picked up her 100th win at JU with a 74-59 victory against Lipscomb on Feb. 5, 2011.
JU recorded the second highest point per game average (64.0) in 2010-11 behind the program record of 67.7 in 2007-08, while also breaking the school mark in rebounds for the fifth straight season with 1,337 boards. The Dolphins finished third in the A-Sun in blocks with 125.
Senior forward Taneskei Richardson put the Dolphins on her shoulders all season after leading the team in scoring (11.1), field goal percentage (.460), rebounds (9.8) and blocks (43). Richardson would break the single-season rebounds record with a total of 315, while placing fifth on the blocks list.
Senior forward Lynsey Paschal rounded out her career by finishing with the most games played all-time (124) and placing sixth in career rebounds (558). She also had 232 rebounds in 2010-11 to place fifth on the single-season list, while junior guard Crystal Bell tied for fifth in steals with 55.
In 2009-10, the Dolphins hit double-digit wins for the fifth straight season, while also reaching the Atlantic Sun Tournament for the fifth consecutive time under Dunn. JU also reached the conference semifinals for the fourth year in a row after the Dolphins downed Campbell in the first round.
The Dolphins finished first in the A-Sun in blocks (140) and third in steals (288), while also setting a new school record in rebounds with 1,289 boards. JU continued its stingy defense by limiting five opponents to under 50-points. In six total seasons, the Dolphins have held 23 opponents to under 50-points, which only occurred five times in five total seasons before Dunn took over the program.
Freshman guard Drameka Griggs finished second in scoring with 8.2 points per game, while leading the squad in assists (59) and steals (50) en route to the Dolphins’ first Atlantic Sun Conference all-freshman selection since the 2000-01 season.
Senior forwards Desarae Johnson and Crystal Grable each produced quality seasons to have their names etched in the JU record books. Johnson produced 35 blocks to finish second all-time in blocks with 127. She also took fifth in the career books in rebounds (524) and fielding percentage (.414). Grable had a block in nine of her final 10 games to take the third spot all-time with 94 rejections.
In 2008-09, Dunn led the Dolphins to a 19-13 overall record, a 13-7 mark in conference play and the No. 2 seed for the third straight year en route to securing a spot in the A-Sun championship game for the second straight season
The Jill Dunn pressure defense came up big as the Dolphins produced a strong defensive presence and held a program-record seven opponents to under 50 points.
The Dolphins were led by the senior guard trio of Virginia Gregoire, Regina Omoite and DaVina Hamilton, who each finished their careers in the top five of several career categories.
Gregoire finished second all-time in points with 1,345 and steals with 198. She also wrapped her career ranking third in rebounds (602), assists (332), 3-pointers made (137) and minutes played (3,259).
Omoite set career records in assists (459) and minutes played (3,953), while finishing fifth in scoring with 1,027 points. She also placed second in three-pointers made (172), third in steals (191) and fifth in free throws made (193).
Hamilton etched her name at the top of the JU career list in steals with 220 and ranks second all-time in assists with 361. She was just 73 points shy of becoming the sixth player to reach the 1,000-point plateau as she finished sixth in scoring (927).
After remodeling the history of the program in 2006-07, the Dolphins took it to a new level in 2007-08 by recording their best finish in program history (23-9( while reaching the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Game for the very first time. JU also tallied 11 conference wins and solidified the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun tournament for the second consecutive season.
Along with the program’s best finish, the squad also rewrote the JU record book with 13 new team records, including back-to-back 20-win seasons, consecutive wins (10), consecutive home wins (17) and road wins (9).
In only her fourth year with the program, Dunn established JU at the national level by ranking second in the nation in consecutive home wins, earning votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll and tallying wins from opponents in the SEC (Florida), ACC (Miami) and Atlantic 10 (UMass).
In the midst of all the accomplishments, Dunn earned her 50th career win at JU as the Dolphins defeated Kennesaw State, 61-53, on Jan. 14, 2008 in Kennesaw, Ga.
In the single-season record book, the Dolphins established new records for points per game (67.7), points (2,167), field-goals made (814), blocks (126), assists (472) and rebounds (1,210) while averaging a program-low 16.7 turnovers per contest. Senior forward Ashley Williams, who ended her career as arguably the best player in history, notched program records for points (1,489), field goals made (579) and blocks (128) and junior guard Virginia Gregoire became the fifth Dolphin to reach 1,000 career points. Along with Gregoire’s program record for steals (161), junior guard Regina Omoite set a new program record with 305 assists.
In her third season, JU set the first standard for program wins in a season (21) and finished with a then best record in history (21-9) to surpass the previous mark of 13-15 by the 2000-01 squad. The Dolphins surpassed their previous A-Sun record (9-9, 2000-01) and finished the year with a 14-4 mark and earned the program's highest seed (second) in the conference tournament.
The records didn't stop there as the squad set a new record for consecutive home wins (surpassing the previous mark of six in 2000-01) and finished the year with 10-consecutive wins at home before heading into postseason play. The Dolphins finished the year with a nine-game winning streak, won 16 of their last 19 games and 15 of their last 18 A-Sun games. The Dolphins also went 6-1 in January, 6-1 in February and 2-1 in March for a combined record of 14-3 in 2007.
The Dolphins also set new standards on the road with a record of 7-7, surpassing the previous mark of 4-10 by the 2000-01 squad, while also tallying a program-record four-game road winning streak.
As a team, JU set new marks for overall points scored (1,986), overall points averaged (66.2 ppg), steals (309) in a season and steals in a game (17). The squad's points-per-game average was the first more than 60 and the points total was the first more than 1,700 in program history.
Individually, junior forward Ashley Williams and sophomore guard Virginia Gregoire were each named first team all-conference after ranking second (17 ppg) and third (14.6 ppg), respectively, among conference scoring leaders. The duo became the first set of Dolphin teammates to earn first team honors in school history.
During the season, Dunn set a new program record for wins by a Dolphin head coach (36) with a 64-57 win over Mercer on Jan. 27.
In 2005-06, Dunn engineered the Dolphin offense into the most potent scoring machine in program history. The up-tempo style of play and pressure defense paved the way for a then program-record 62.6 points per contest as the Dolphins played with an undersized, youthful squad due to injuries to the front line.
Williams became the second Dolphin to earn first team all-conference accolades after setting a program record with 478 points. She also became the third member of the program to earn preseason all-conference honors after leading the A-Sun in field-goal percentage (.562) and ranking second in blocked shots (1.9 bpg).
Guard Sheena Carpenter earned second team all-conference accolades and became the third Dolphin to surpass the 1,000 career-point plateau.
In her first season with the program, Dunn led the Dolphins to their most overall and conference wins in two seasons, despite injuries decimating her frontcourt early in the year. JU also set new program marks after finishing second in the conference with an average of 17.1 turnovers and a turnover margin of 1.89 per contest.
Also under her tutelage, Carpenter developed into one of the top players in the A-Sun and earned preseason all-conference honors. She finished the 2004-05 season with career highs in every offensive category.
Along with player development on the court, Dunn also rubbed her coaching prowess onto others as former Dolphins Rebecca Montz (Centenary College) and Yolisha Jackson (Kennesaw State) were hired as assistant coaches.
In three seasons at Georgia State, Dunn served as the recruiting coordinator and top assistant coach as the Panthers captured three straight A-Sun regular-season titles and played in the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Tournaments. The Panthers also tallied 59 wins in her three seasons, including a 40-16 mark in A-Sun play. In 2003-04, Dunn's recruiting class was rated in the Top 100 nationally by All-Star Girls Report.
Before joining Georgia State, Dunn was the top assistant coach at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The RedHawks finished 18-11 overall in 2000-01 with Dunn serving as the primary recruiting coordinator, while also working with the RedHawk post players.
Prior to her one-year stint in Miami, Dunn served as the head coach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., from 1998-00. In her final season with the program, the Lady Catamounts posted 12 wins which was the most in 15 seasons at WCU and the most ever by a first-year head coach in the Southern Conference. Prior to being elevated to the head spot at Western Carolina, Dunn was the top assistant coach during the 1997-98 campaign.
Dunn’s coaching career began at the University of South Carolina where she was as an assistant coach from 1994-97. In three seasons, she coached current WNBA star Shannon Johnson of the 2004 champion Connecticut Sun and Annie Lester, who is currently playing in Europe. Johnson was also a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team in the summer of 2004.
Dunn’s success began as a player at Georgia Southern, where she was a three-year starter from 1989-93. While serving as team captain as a senior, Dunn earned second team A¬ll-Southern Conference honors and was selected to the Southern Conference all-tournament team after averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals. In 1993, she led the Lady Eagles to the SoCon Tournament championship game and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Currently the Eagles' record-holder for career three-point field goal percentage (37.3%, 120-322), Dunn ranks fifth on the season (47) and sixth on the career GSU three-pointers made list. She also finished with the Lady Eagles' fourth, seventh and 10th-best season three-point percentages (38.6 - 1991; 37.0 - 1992; 35.6 - 1993) and stands fourth all-time in assists (318) and eighth in career steals (164). As a senior, she was also named GSU’s Woman of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year. Dunn earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Georgia Southern in 1994.
For her efforts, Dunn was named to the Georgia Southern Hall of Fame on Sept. 25, 2006. A member of a six-person class, she was later inducted by the school in a ceremony at the Gene Bishop Field House on Nov. 3, 2006 and was later recognized during halftime activities of the Georgia Southern-Wofford football game at Paulson Stadium the next day.
In her prep career, Dunn was a basketball and track star at Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnell Hill, Ga. As a senior, she led the Bruins to a 29-1 record before losing in the state playoffs. For her efforts, she earned all-state and region player-of-the-year honors and was invited to play in Georgia/Tennessee All-Star Game and the Georgia All-Star Game. After being selected region player of the year as a junior and senior, she was invited to participate with the SCORE International traveling team, which competed in Costa Rica. Dunn also became just the second female in Northwest Whitfield High School history to have her jersey retired.
A member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Dunn currently serves as a coach and speaker at regional camps and clinics. She is currently on the State Farm All-America committee and has served as the A-Sun conference captain for the WBCA from 2007-10.
Born Nov. 21, 1971 in Birmingham, Ala., Dunn grew up in Dalton, Ga. and lives in Jacksonville.