Saturday, June 25, 2016

XU legend Janice Joseph to enter state hall of fame

NEW ORLEANS — Janice Joseph-Richard will be inducted posthumously Saturday into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame for a variety of accomplishments, but none more impressive than her brilliant coaching tenure with Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball.

Six seasons (1992-98), 159 victories, 34 losses, 26.5 victories per season and a winning percentage of .824. Those are the basics, and they are outstanding. But dig deeper into the numbers, and these gems emerge:

• Her final five teams won Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
• She won her final 38 games at The Barn and her final 28 games against GCAC opponents.
• Her final XU team (1997-98) was the first of two GCAC teams to win all 18 regular-season conference games, then three straight in the tournament. The Gold Nuggets' average winning margin in those 21 games that season was 24.5 points. There were no single-digit victories, and there were six decisions of 30 or more points. The other GCAC team to make the 18-0, 3-0 run — the XU women of 2009-10 — won by an average of 13.5 points.

• She is the only GCAC basketball coach to win in the first round four consecutive years at the NAIA Division I National Championship.

Known as Janice Joseph during her XU tenure, she departed the school in the spring of 1998 to marry for the second time. She then returned to coaching a year later at San Jose State where she jump-started a perennially losing program. After leaving the Spartans because of her health — she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2006 — she resurfaced a year later at her alma mater, Louisiana College, where she coached three more seasons, including a 24-3 record in her final season, 2009-10.

Joseph-Richard died Dec. 1, 2010, at age 46 after her lengthy cancer battle. Her 16-year record as a collegiate head coach was 307-163.

As a player at Louisiana College, Joseph-Richard was an American Women's Sports Federation two-time first-team NAIA All-American and was All-GCAC four times, the last three unanimously. She collected more than 2,300 points and 700 assists at LC and as a senior (1985-86) set the GCAC season record of 283 assists. She led the GCAC in scoring and assists each of her final two seasons. Her final season she led the Lady Wildcats to third place in the NAIA Division I National Championship.

Ten other new members will be inducted Saturday. The banquet, which is sold out, will start at 6 p.m. at the Natchitoches Events Center, 243 miles northwest of the XU campus.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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