Van Chancellor

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Van Chancellor
Van Chancellor at the 2005 Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.
Biographical details
Born (1943-09-27) September 27, 1943 (age 79)
Louisville, Mississippi
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1965–1967 Noxapater HS
1967–1973 Horn Lake HS
1973–1978 Harrison Central HS
1978–1997 Ole Miss
1997–2006 Houston Comets
2002–2004 United States
2007–2011 LSU
Accomplishments and honors
4× WNBA championship (1997–2000)
NCAA Final Four (2008)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2007 (profile)
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Van Winston Chancellor (born September 27, 1943) is a former college and professional basketball coach. He coached University of Mississippi women's basketball, Louisiana State University women's basketball, and the professional Houston Comets. [1] He was named head coach of the Lady Tigers on April 11, 2007, replacing Pokey Chatman. In 2001, Chancellor was elected to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Knoxville, Tennessee. [2] He was enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2007. [3] Chancellor currently serves as an analyst for Southland Conference games on ESPN3.


Early years

Chancellor played two years of basketball at East Central Junior College in Decatur, Mississippi, before transferring to Mississippi State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics & physical education in 1965.

During his senior year at Mississippi State, he served as head coach of the boys' basketball team at Noxapater High School. Chancellor went on to coach boys' and girls' basketball at Horn Lake High School and Harrison Central High School in Mississippi. He received his master's degree in physical education from the University of Mississippi in 1973.

University of Mississippi

Chancellor spent 19 seasons (1978–1997) as the head coach of the University of Mississippi Rebels, compiling an overall record of 439–154 (.740). As the Ole Miss head coach, Chancellor guided the Rebels to the NCAA tournament 14 times, including 11 consecutive appearances from 1982 to 1992.

Chancellor's teams won at least 20 games 15 times, including a school-record 31 wins in 1978–1979. He also led the Rebels to top 20 final rankings 13 times, with top 10 finishes four times (#5 in 1992, #6 in 1985, #8 in 1987, and #10 in 1984).

Chancellor led Ole Miss to the Elite Eight at the NCAA tournament four times, while his teams made the Sweet 16 on three other occasions. Chancellor was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year three times, including the 1992 season when the Rebels were 29–3 overall and claimed the SEC regular season title with a perfect 11–0 mark. He was also named the 1992 National Women's Basketball Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball News Service.

Houston Comets

Chancellor served for 10 years as head coach of the Houston Comets from 1997 to 2006. During that time, Chancellor was named the WNBA Coach of the Year three times (1997, 1998, 1999) and he led the Comets to the league's first four titles (1997–2000). Under Chancellor, the Comets were the only team in the WNBA to make the playoffs in each of the first seven seasons of the league. His 1998 Houston Comets team holds the record for highest winning percentage in the history of both the NBA and WNBA basketball (27–3, .900).

In 10 years with the Houston Comets, Chancellors’ teams posted a 211–111 record (.655), making him the winningest coach in the history of the WNBA. He coached the Western Conference All-Star Team three times during his career and was named the coach of the WNBA's All-Decade Team in June 2006.

During his time as head coach of the Comets, Chancellor also served as a television analyst for women's college basketball, working for both ESPN and SEC-TV.

USA Basketball

Chancellor has recorded an unblemished 38–0 record in international competition as head coach of the United States National Team. His teams won first place at the 2002 Opals World Challenge, a gold medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championships, and a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Chancellor served as the head coach to the National team in the 2002 World Championships, held during September in three cities in China, including Nanjing, China. The USA won the opening six preliminary rounds easily, with no contest closer than 30 points. That included the opening round game against Russia, who has played them close at the 1998 Championship final. In the opening game, the USA won 89–55 behind 20 points form Lisa Leslie and 17 from Sheryl Swoopes. The USA wasn't seriously challenged in the quarterfinals, where they beat Spain by 39 points. The semifinal game against Australia was closer, but Leslie had a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds to help the USA team win by 15 points. In the championship game, much like the 1998 finals, the rematch was much closer. This time the USA team did not have to play form behind, and had a ten-point lead late ant he game, but the Russians cut the lead to a single point with just over three minutes remaining. The game remained close, and was within three points with just over twelve seconds to go, but Swoopes was fouled and sank the free throws to give the USA a 79–74 win and the gold medal. [4]

LSU Lady Tigers

In his first year as head coach at LSU, Chancellor led the Lady Tigers to an SEC championship game and to the Final Four. He was also named 2008 SEC Coach of the Year. [5] Chancellor resigned on March 16, 2011. He spent the rest of his contract as an assistant to Athletic Director Joe Alleva. Chancellor spent four seasons at LSU. [6]

Post-coaching career

Chancellor continued his work as a color commentator after retirement, working Southland Conference games on ESPN's family of networks. In 2022, he joined Houston Baptist University as a color commentator for its men and women's basketball home games. [7]

Head coaching record

Ole Miss Rebels

1978–7931–9AIAW State Tournament Champions
1981–8227–5NCAA First Round
1982–8326–6NCAA Second Round
1983–8424–6NCAA Second Round
1984–8529–3NCAA Elite Eight
1985–8624–8NCAA Elite Eight
1986–8725–5NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1987–8824–7NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1988–8923–8NCAA Elite Eight
1989–9022–10NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1990–9120–9NCAA First Round
1991–9229–3NCAA Elite Eight
1993–9424–9NCAA Second Round
1994–9521–8NCAA First Round
1995–9618–11NCAA First Round

Houston Comets

YearRecordPlayoff RecordNotes
199718–102–0WNBA Champions
199827–34–1WNBA Champions
199926–64–2WNBA Champions
200027–56–0WNBA Champions

USA Basketball

2002U.S. National Team WBCA All Star Challenge1–0
2002U.S. National TeamOpals World Challenge4–01st Place
2002U.S. National TeamFIBA World Championships9–0Gold Medal
2004U.S. National TeamPre-Olympics Exhibition Games16–0
2004U.S. National Team Olympics 8–0Gold Medal

LSU Lady Tigers

2007–2008LSU31–6 (14–0 SEC) SEC Regular Season Champions; SEC Tournament Runner-Up; NCAA Final Four
2008–2009LSU19–11 (10–4 SEC) SEC Tournament Semifinals; NCAA Second Round
2009–2010LSU21–10 (9–7 SEC) SEC Tournament Quarterfinals; NCAA Second Round
2010–2011LSU20–14 (8–8 SEC) SEC Tournament Quarterfinals; did not make NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament

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  1. "Van Chancellor Bio @".
  2. "WBHOF Inductees". WBHOF. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  3. "Van Chancellor – 2007 Naismith Hall of Fame Inductee".
  4. "FOURTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2002". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  5. "Chancellor, Fowles Receive SEC's Top Annual Honors".
  6. Bill Feig (March 16, 2011). "LSU women's basketball coach Van Chancellor steps down, accepts assistant to AD position". Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  7. "MBB: Huskies and Islanders Clash on Saturday". (Press release). Houston Baptist University. February 25, 2022.