NEW YORK - On May 23, 2012, the first of two 2012 sessions of The Center for Coaching Excellence concluded as 29 head college women's basketball coaches completed the invitation-only, two-and-a-half day, elite leadership program.

"We are thrilled to host the second year of The Center for Coaching Excellence," said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education at Columbia University.  "Our goal is to introduce the coaches of college women's basketball to various aspects of leadership, and provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the importance of ethics and integrity. I am thrilled with the overwhelming success of our outstanding program."

Capitalizing on the resources of Columbia University, one of the world's leading research universities, and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), The Center for Coaching Excellence provides an unparalleled, exclusive learning experience for college women's basketball coaches. Utilizing collaborative and interactive learning sessions and panel discussions featuring experts in college athletics and women's basketball, 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 our third session of The Center for Coaching Excellence," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass.  "Close to 90 participants have experienced this landmark program.  I'm excited for the fourth session in June 2012.  I can't wait to welcome 30 more coaches in just a couple of weeks."

"It was great to return to The Center for Coaching Excellence this year as part of the faculty," said Charli Tuner Thorne, Head Women's Basketball Coach at Arizona State University and President of the WBCA.  "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 inquisitive learners who are passionate about being the best leaders for the young women who play for them," said Dr. Siders. "The coaches who participated in our program gained valuable tools to succeed in the everyday leadership of their women's basketball programs."

Matthew Mitchell, Head Women's Basketball Coach at the University of Kentucky and participant in May's session echoed Dr. Siders' sentiment.  "I have never participated in a more beneficial professional development program in my coaching career," Mitchell said.  "Columbia University put on a first class program - not just in the outstanding curriculum, but in the first-class way each coach was treated.  I am truly grateful to have attended The Center for Coaching Excellence."

Faculty of The Center for Coaching Excellence included Julie Roe Lach, Vice President of Enforcement, NCAA; Dick Baddour, Former Athletics Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Bernard Muir, Athletics Director, University of Delaware; Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Executive Director, Patriot League; Beth DeBauche, Commissioner, Ohio Valley Conference; Val Ackerman, Professor for Sports Management; Jeffrey H. Orleans, Consultant, Alden and Associates; Jody Conradt, Head Women's Basketball Coach Emerita, University of Texas; Chris Plonsky, Women's Athletics Director, University of Texas; Charli Turner Thorne, Head Women's Basketball Coach, Arizona State; Amy Huchthausen, Commissioner, America East; Pete Mangurian, Head Football Coach, Columbia University; Susan K. Feagin, Special Advisor to the President, Columbia University.

The fourth session of The Center for Coaching Excellence will be held on Columbia's campus June 11-13, 2012.