The Southern: 'SIU names women's basketball locker room after Scott'

The Southern: 'SIU names women's basketball locker room after Scott'

Earlier this month, Southern Illinois named its women's basketball locker room after its former longtime coach, and current Bentley University assistant athletics director, Cindy Scott.  Here is the story that appeared in the Southern Illinoisan and online at

Southern Illinois University women's basketball celebrated its most successful years and honored the program's winningest coach Friday and Saturday during the Cindy Scott era reunion.

Scott returned to Carbondale to join the players, coaches, administrators and supporters that helped her to an unprecedented 388 wins during her 21 years at the helm of the program between 1977-98.

The weekend included a reception Friday in the John Paul Cook Club and a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, officially naming the new women's basketball locker room complex in Scott's honor.

"This whole weekend has been overwhelming for me," Scott said. "To have so many of my former players back and to be able to see them after so many years has just been absolutely wonderful."

The reunion was made possible thanks to a push by former SIU associate athletics director and coach Charlotte West, who, with help from former Saluki player Vicki King and supporter Trish Guyon, raised $120,000 to name the Cindy Scott Women's Basketball Locker Room.

"Cindy Scott's accomplishments speak for themselves," West said. "It is really a no-brainer that her name belongs on this locker room."

The only person who challenged the naming of the locker room was Scott, who felt her name wasn't sufficient.

"I feel badly it has my name on it, because it needs to have (former assistants) Julie Beck and George Iubelt's names on it, and all the terrific young women that played for us," Scott said. "Our program was truly a joint effort and all the success was about everybody involved."

Scott's years in Carbondale saw the Salukis win three Gateway Conference Championships and earn four NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 1987. She guided the Salukis to eight 20-win seasons and the program enjoyed a streak of 15 consecutive winning seasons under her tutelage.

Scott credited the family environment that surrounded the program with contributing to the success of her teams.

"We weren't the richest program and didn't have the greatest of anything. But we had people that cared about people," Scott said. "We took great pride in the young women we coached and always felt like it was one family trying to get something done together."

The closeness Scott felt for her players was reciprocated, as evidenced by the turnout of more than 35 former players that traveled to Carbondale from all over the country to see her honored.

"It's about the opportunities that she gave each and every one of us to come and be a student-athlete here and represent her and the University," said Petra Jackson (1983-86). "She was a class coach and it is evident that a lot of that rubbed off on her players."

Karen Powell (1991-94) echoed those sentiments.

"Her intensity and her passion for the game of basketball, for her player and the people around her is absolutely amazing. It could not be matched and. I take that as an example for my own work," said Powell, herself a basketball coach. "It wasn't just basketball. Everything that she did, she did with such emotion and such passion that you couldn't help but follow her."

Scott, who is now in her 14th year as assistant athletics director at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., said she carries many great memories with her from her days in Carbondale. Notably, she remembers the program's first NCAA Tournament bid in 1986 and the Sweet 16 run in 1987. She remembers going undefeated in Gateway Conference play both of those seasons.

But mostly, she remembers the players that made those other memories possible.

"Those seasons were great in terms of wins and losses, but I think the things that always stick out for me are the young women I was able to coach, to see them grow and mature," Scott said. "It's always about the kids, and those are the highlights - the opportunity to coach such terrific young women."

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