NEW YORK - On May 25, 2011, the inaugural session of The Center for Coaching Excellence concluded as 28 women's basketball coaches completed the invitation-only, two-and-a-half day elite leadership-training program.

"Our goal was to introduce the coaches of women's basketball to various aspects of leadership, and provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the importance of ethics and integrity," said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education at Columbia University.  "I am thrilled with the success of the program.  We achieved our goal."

Capitalizing on the resources of Columbia University, one of the world's leading research universities, and the WBCA, The Center for Coaching Excellence provided an unparalleled, exclusive learning experience for the WBCA Board of Directors and conference captains. Utilizing collaborative and interactive learning sessions along with lectures and panel discussions featuring experts in college athletics, The Center provides college women's basketball coaches with valuable networking opportunities with their peers and top industry leaders.

"We are thrilled at the success of the first session of The Center for Coaching Excellence," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass.  "Columbia, the conference faculty and participant coaches hit it out the ball park for this inaugural session.  Just like a good coach, we will tweak our game plan and keep the momentum going for our second session in June."

"It was a fun and exciting two-and-a-half days of learning here at our host institution, Columbia University," said Charli Tuner Thorne, Head Women's Basketball Coach at Arizona State University.  "This concept of building a WBCA leadership and ethics program was one of the paramount reasons that I got involved with the WBCA's presidential track."

Dr. Cathie T. Siders, a clinical psychologist, organizational consultant and executive coach, facilitated group-learning sessions. Other sessions will feature panel discussions from a wide variety of leaders from both the college athletics industry and other sectors of industry.

"The men and women who coach college women's basketball are outstanding individuals," said Dr. Siders. "They are inquisitive learners and passionate about being the best leaders for the young women who play for them. The coaches that participated in our program gained valuable tools to succeed in the everyday leadership of their women's basketball programs."

Faculty of The Center for Coaching Excellence included Julie Roe Lach, Vice President of Enforcement, NCAA; Dick Baddour, Athletics Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Bernard Muir, Athletics Director, University of Delaware; Bernadette McGlade, Commissioner, Atlantic 10 Conference; Robin Green Harris, Executive Director, Ivy League; Carolyn Schile Femovich, Executive Director, Patriot League; Mary DiStanislao, Senior Associate Athletics Director, University of Pennsylvania; Beth DeBauche, Commissioner, Ohio Valley Conference; Val Ackerman, Professor or Sports Management; Ceal Barry, Associate Athletics Director, University of Colorado; Jeffrey H. Orleans, Special Advisor to the Ivy League;  Jody Conradt, Head Women's Basketball Coach Emerita, University of Texas; Brian Giorgis, Head Women's Basketball Coach, Marist College, and Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner, Mid-American Conference.

The second session of The Center for Coaching Excellence will be held on Columbia's campus June 8-10, 2011.