Mississippi State head women's basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis announced Monday her intent to retire from her current position at the close of the 2011-12 season. Following the current campaign, she will move into an athletic development position in the Bulldog Club.
Fanning-Otis has produced a 608-457 record during her 36 years as a collegiate head coach. She served as head women's basketball coach at UT-Chattanooga, Kentucky and Mississippi State. She is the all-time winningest women's basketball coach in Mississippi State history with 281 victories, becoming just the 14th Division I head women's basketball coach to amass 600 career wins earlier this season.
"I want to thank Mississippi State for the opportunity and experience it gave me to be the women's head basketball coach and for the past 17 years," Fanning-Otis said. "I look forward to working in the Bulldog Club in a fund-raising capacity for all our sports. I especially want to thank all of the coaches, players, staff and fans for the tremendous experience. I am blessed to have been a part of the growth of women's basketball over the past 37 years."
A 1975 graduate of UT-Chattanooga, she served her alma mater as Coordinator of Women's Athletics, head volleyball, and head women's basketball coach during her 11 years. She was inducted into the Tennessee-Chattanooga Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. Fanning-Otis was head women's basketball coach at Kentucky from 1987-95, winning a WNIT Championship in 1990 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament the following year.
During her coaching tenure at Mississippi State, she has directed the Bulldogs to 11 postseason appearances, including six NCAA Tournament berths and the school's only women's basketball Sweet 16 appearance. Ten of her Bulldog players earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference recognition and two players were named Kodak All-American a collective five times.
Fanning-Otis was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2000 after leading her team to the championship game of the SEC Tournament.
During her tenure, she has served on numerous NCAA and WBCA committees, and she was named MSU’s Outstanding Professional Non-Faculty Woman Award by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1999.
"I want to thank Sharon for her devotion to our women's basketball program for nearly two decades and for the accomplishments she has guided our program to during that time," Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. "She has a great heart for people, and her work ethic and dedication to Mississippi State has taken our women's basketball program to successes never attained prior to her arrival. The timing of Sharon's announcement gives us the opportunity to begin looking for our next women's basketball coach. As always, we'll identify a hard-working, intelligent coach who can move this program forward."