[HBCU NEWS] The National Sports Media Association (NSMA) has named Virginia Union University Women’s Basketball Coach as its 2015-16 Big House Gaines College Basketball Coach of the Year

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The Gaines Award will be presented at the NSMA’s 57th Awards Banquet, June 20 in Salisbury, N.C.

“We are pleased to recognize Coach Gilbert for the outstanding job she did this season,” NSMA executive director Dave Goren said. “Her team had an historic seasons and truly deserves this Award.”

Gilbert finished her first season at Virginia Union with a 28-3 record. The Panthers won both the CIAA Northern Division title and the CIAA Tournament championship, before winning three games in the NCAA Division II Tournament (Atlantic Region champions) and making it all the way to the Elite Eight. Gilbert was also named the AAE Division II Coach of the Year.


Before coming to Virginia Union, Gilbert was the head coach at Eastern Michigan University from 2007-2012, where she compiled a 94-64 record.  As head coach, the Eagles had three consecutive 20+ win seasons (2009-12) and in 2012, won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament championship and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

Gilbert spent three seasons (2003-06) as an assistant on the Michigan State coaching staff. She was the staff’s recruiting coordinator and worked with the guards.

She spent the previous eight seasons (1994-2002) as the head coach of NCAA Division III Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. She is the winningest coach in Oberlin women’s basketball history. She also served as the Senior Women’s Administrator/Associate Director of Athletics at Oberlin from 1996-2002.

Gilbert played for two seasons (1986-88) at Ohio University, earning Most Outstanding Defensive Player and All-Mid-American Conference honors in 1988. She transferred to Oberlin for her junior and senior seasons (1989-91). There, she was a two-time Kodak First-Team All-American, a two-time NCAC Player of the Year, the Honda Division III Athlete of the Year and the Champion USA/WBCA Player of the Year in 1991.

Gilbert led the nation in scoring as a junior (31.1 points per game) and was the nation’s second-leading scorer as a senior (31.3 ppg). She set the NCAA Division III record for points in a game with 61 against Allegheny on Feb. 6, 1991. She is still the Oberlin record holder for points in a season (778), field goals in a game (28), field goals in a season (319) and free throws made and attempted in a game.

In just two seasons at Oberlin, she registered 1,527 points to become the school’s leading scorer, a record which stood until 2002. All told, Gilbert set 24 school records and 10 conference records as a player and still holds 10 standing NCAA Division III records.

She received an invitation to the Pan Am Games trials in Colorado Springs in 1990. Oberlin retired her jersey in 1994 and in 2001, she was inducted into the Oberlin College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Gilbert was a Street & Smith’s All-American, a McDonald’s All-Star game participant and was Ohio Miss Basketball her senior year of high school.

She earned her B.A. in sociology with a minor in economics from Oberlin in 1991.  She earned her Masters Degree in Sports Management from Cleveland State University in December of 2014.


The Gaines Awards are named for Winston-Salem State University head men’s basketball coach Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines. During 47 seasons as WSSU’s head coach, Gaines’s teams won 828 games, including the 1967 NCAA Division II national championship.

Among the players Gaines coached were basketball Hall of Famer Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, Cleo Hill (first player from a historically black college to be drafted in the first round by an NBA team), and television personality Stephen A. Smith.  A former President of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Gaines was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.  He died in 2005.


The NSMA will hold its 57th Awards Weekend, June 18-20, 2016, in Salisbury, N.C. Chris Berman, Billy Packer, Gary Smith the late David Halberstam will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. National Sportscaster of the Year Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and, National Sportswriter of the Year Tom Verducci will be honored, along with 104 State Sportscasters and Sportswriters from throughout the country. Registration and ticket information can be found at www.nationalsportsmedia.org.

Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.

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