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Linda K Sharp

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Linda Sharp

Basketball Coach

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Linda Kay Sharp (born March 14, 1950) is a former collegiate women's basketball coach. Her coaching career spans 31 seasons with stints on all levels from elementary, junior high and high school to the collegiate and professional ranks, and she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.


Early life and education

Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and raised in Cypress, California, Sharp attended John F. Kennedy High School in Los Angeles and played at point guard on the basketball team. She enrolled at Fullerton Junior College in 1968 to begin her college basketball career and transferred to Cal State Fullerton in 1970. In her senior season, Cal State Fullerton finished third in the 1972 AIAW national championship.


After graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 1973 with a physical education degree, Sharp taught part time at a local Catholic school and also did substitute teaching before landing a full-time teaching and coaching position at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. Sharp taught American literature and physical education and coached girls' basketball, volleyball, and softball in addition to launching tennis and track programs.

In 1976, the University of Southern California (USC) hired Sharp as an assistant coach for its women's basketball program; Sharp was a part-time assistant at USC while still coaching at Mater Dei. After one year, USC promoted Sharp to head coach. In twelve seasons from 1977 to 1989, Sharp accumulated a 271-99 won-loss record.

Turning around a program that won only five games in 1976–77, USC won 21 games in Sharp's second season as head coach in 1978–79. Sharp led USC to back-to-back NCAA national championships in 1983 and 1984. For USC's 1984 national title, Sharp earned WCAA, Wade Trophy, and Sporting News Coach of the Year honors. While at USC, she was selected as the Pac-10 Conference "Coach of the Year" three times.

From 1989 to 1997, Sharp compiled a 138-85 record in eight seasons at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State).

For seven years, Sharp served on the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee.

In 2001, Sharp was hired as the Head Coach of the women's basketball team at Concordia University Texas, a Division III school. She coached the team for seven years and to 87-87 won-loss record. On September 10, 2008, Sharp resigned from Concordia.

Sharp's career head coach record is 496-271 after 27 years coaching NCAA women's basketball.


In 1997, she became the first head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association. Sharp later assisted her former player at USC, Cheryl Miller, with the Phoenix Mercury in 2000. Then in 2002, Sharp became the interim head coach for the Phoenix Mercury after Cynthia Cooper resigned from the position. Sharp had a 9–24 overall record as a WNBA head coach.

USA Basketball

Sharp was chosen as the head coach of the team representing the USA in 1981 at the William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The team won their first four games easily, then faced the Republic of China - Blue team. Although the USA had an early ten-point lead, the Blue team came back to lead by four points at halftime. The USA opened the second half with a 9–2 run to reclaim the lead for good and went on to win the game. They then went on to win their next two games easily, and faced the defending champions South Korea in the final. The game was very close, throughout much of the game, including a tie at 49 points each with about ten minutes to go. The South Koreans then pulled out to a nine-point lead with under two minutes left. The USA team pulled the margin back to three points, but could not close the gap. The South Korean team won, and the USA team received the silver medal.

Sharp was the head coach of the team representing the USA at the World University Games held in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in July 1987. The team started out with a 35-point victory over Poland and followed that with a 41-point victory over Finland. In the third game, the USA faced the host team Yugoslavia. The USA hit a high percentage of their shots from the free throw line, 16 of 19, but the Yugoslav team earned 43 shots from the line, of which they made 34. With a home crowd behind them, the game came down to the wire, and was tied at the end of regulation. In overtime, Yugoslavia out scored the USA and won the game 93–89. The USA still had a chance to make it to the medal round, but to do so had to win their next game against China, and do so by at least five points. The USA fell behind, and were down 16 points at halftime. They fell behind by 20 at one point, but made up the deficit and more in the second half. They went on to win the game, but by only a single point 84–83. They won their final game against Canada, but this left them in fifth place, the first time ever the USA team did not win a medal at the World University Games.


Source for USC:

Sources for Texas State:

Source for Concordia (TX):


Linda Sharp Wikipedia

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