ATLANTA — Andy Landers has ended a run of longevity that is rare in major college sports, retiring after 36 seasons as the only full-time coach in the history of the Georgia women’s program.
Under Landers, Georgia became a constant in the NCAA tournament, including five Final Four appearances. He never led Georgia to a national championship but was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Landers, 62, retired Monday following a season in which he recorded his 850th career win with the Lady Bulldogs. But Georgia lost nine of its last 11 games to finish 19-12 following a strong start to the season. Georgia was 17-3 before losing several players to injuries and illness.
Athletic Director Vince Dooley hired Landers in 1979, and the coach built a national power. Georgia ranks second nationally with 31 NCAA tournament appearances and 522 weeks in the Top 25.
In a statement, Landers thanked Dooley “for entrusting me with the challenge of building a successful program” and current Athletic Director Greg McGarity “for continuing that trust and support.”
Landers also thanked former Georgia men’s coach Hugh Durham “for being a young coach’s mentor.”
BRANNEN WILL LEAD TEAM AS INTERIM COACH: Alabama associate head coach John Brannen will lead the team through the NIT after the firing of Anthony Grant.
The Crimson Tide opens the NIT on Tuesday against Illinois at Coleman Coliseum, just two days after Grant’s firing.
Brannen worked under Grant the past nine years at Alabama and VCU and is a 16-year coaching veteran.
Around the nation
Penn hired Steve Donahue as its new coach, the former Quakers assistant returning after head coaching stops at Cornell and Boston College. ... Bill Grier was fired at San Diego after the Toreros finished 15-16 in his eighth season. ... Paul Hewitt was fired as George Mason’s coach after going 66-67 in four seasons.