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Sharon Fanning Biography

Mississippi State University head coach Sharon Fanning began her basketball career as a member of the varsity team at Chattanooga High School. Following her graduation, Fanning attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she played both basketball and volleyball. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Fanning immediately joined the bench at her alma mater and worked her way up until being promoted to the head coach of the University women’s basketball team in 1978.

However, while her rise to a head coaching position was rapid, Fanning’s record at UTC was rather mixed. In ten years, she led one squad to the WNIT finals (in 1983-84) with a 26-5 record, but she also had no other postseason appearances and went 7-20 in her last season. Nonetheless, she earned a reputation as a keen basketball strategist and was hired to coach the Kentucky women’s basketball team in 1987.

In her eight years at Kentucky (1987-1995), Fanning compiled a 134-97 record, had five winning seasons, and won the WNIT title in 1989-1990. However, she led the team to only one NCAA tournament appearance (a first round loss) and went 4-7 in the SEC in her last season as head coach in 1995. However, despite her again mixed results, Fanning moved on to coach Mississippi State; the position that she currently holds.

Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis
Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis and Brittany Young at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens GA.

In her thirteen seasons as head coach at MSU, Fanning has been far more successful than in the past. She won the NCAA coach of the year award in 2000 and has seen the team have ten winning seasons, six NCAA appearances, and reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in the 2009-10 season. Therefore, while her record has been up and down over several decades coaching, Fanning’s future and the future of Mississippi State women’s basketball looks bright and could become one of the dominant SEC powers in the near future.

Check out our current preview of Mississippi State Bulldogs Women's Basketball.

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Sharon Fanning Not rated yet
I grew up with Sharon in Chattanooga. She was always a winner in everything that she did. Good luck Sharon in your new position at Mississippi State. …

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