Jolette Law, long regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the country, was named the seventh head women's basketball coach at the University of Illinois on May 11, 2007. Law comes to Illinois following 12 years as an assistant on C. Vivian Stringer's Rutgers staff, including the last four as associate head coach. Law replaced Theresa Grentz, who resigned as head coach on April 17, 2007, after 12 years at Illinois.
Law was a driving force behind Rutgers' rise to the top of women's college basketball. During her tenure, the Scarlet Knights saw remarkable success, including two Final Fours, three Elite Eights and three Sweet Sixteen appearances, among them this past season's run to the 2007 national championship game in Cleveland.
Rutgers compiled a record of 257-125 (.673) during Law's tenure in East Brunswick, N.J., winning Big East regular season titles in both 2005 and 2006 and the Big East Tournament title in 2007. The Scarlet Knights featured 22 All-Big East honorees, three Big East Defensive Players of the Year and three Big East Rookies of the Year. They also produced seven All-America selections and had eight players drafted in the WNBA during that span.
In addition to her tremendous technical expertise on the sidelines, Law also used her energetic and enthusiastic personality to help Rutgers bring in eight recruiting classes ranked among the nation's Top 10 during her tenure, including three classes that were ranked No. 1 in the nation (1999, 2001 and 2006). Players such as Shawnetta Stewart, Usha Gilmore, Tasha Pointer, Tammy Sutton-Brown, Davalyn Cunningham, Rebecca Richman, Chelsea Newton and Cappie Pondexter, all of whom were drafted by the WNBA, benefited from Law's instruction and motivation on the court.
Law was a three-time Kodak All-American at Wilson High School before graduating from the University of Iowa in 1990 with a degree in sports studies/corporate fitness. As the Hawkeyes' floor general, she helped Stringer lead the Hawkeyes to four consecutive Big Ten titles and a record of 105-18 from 1987-90. A Kodak District V All-American in 1990, she was a four-year letterwinner at Iowa and a two-time first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection (1989 and 1990). A member of the Iowa Hall of Fame, she still ranks sixth on the Iowa all-time assists list (353), sixth in steals (205), 17th in scoring (1,137) and 22nd in rebounding (350). She also was a member of the 1988 Jones Cup Team.
Following her collegiate career, Law joined the Harlem Globetrotters from 1990-94 as the only female team member, completing three worldwide tours with the team. As an ambassador of goodwill with the Globetrotters, she coordinated several basketball seminars and clinics in addition to her on-court performances. During her stint with basketball's greatest team, her picture appeared on Wheaties cereal boxes with her Globetrotter teammates.
After her playing career came to a close, Law spent one season at Ball State (1994-95) before joining Stringer at Rutgers.
A native of Florence, S.C., Law has utilized her skills and talents to create opportunities to participate in various national projects, including the "Great American Workout" with former president George H.W. Bush, the 1992 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Project D.A.R.E. in St. Petersburg, Fla. Law also has made appearances on ABC's Wide World of Sports, the Montel Williams Show and the Vicki Lawrence Show. She has been featured in several magazines, including Sport Magazine, Black Elegance, Ebony, Jet and People.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JOLETTE LAW
"Jolette quickly stood out among all the candidates for the position with her experiences as a player, as an assistant coach at an extremely high level, and as a proven top recruiter. She blew us away during the interview process, and it was very obvious why the teams she has been associated with have always been extremely successful. Her recruiting abilities speak for themselves as her classes have ranked among the best in the nation each year she has been at Rutgers, including some of the top players from the Midwest."
"Jolette is ready. I always felt she deserved nothing more than being (a head coach) at one of the best schools, in one of the most prominent of conferences. And now, she is. Technically, even as an assistant, I would have placed her as one of the top 10 coaches in the country. I believe her wisdom, enthusiasm, intelligence and technical expertise is unparalleled. It's a day I have dreaded although no mother, no coach could be prouder than I am to see one of their own take the next step. Jolette was born to lead. I truly think people who have been great followers, who can appreciate what is around them, can lead at the highest level. Jolette has grasped all that has been around her, thirsting for more knowledge of the game both as a player and as a coach."
"I'm very proud of Jolette. It's always good to see a talented associate head coach get a head-coaching job. She's a gifted recruiter, she was a top player, and the University of Illinois is lucky to have her."
"The University of Illinois is very fortunate to have Jolette Law as its new basketball coach. Jolette is a rising star in our profession and she will be an incredible head coach. I know she will make an immediate impact on the Illinois program with the great recruiting skills, work ethic and knowledge of the game that she possesses."
"This is a great hire for Illinois. Jolette is a solid recruiter and has worked extremely hard at Rutgers to help make that program one of the best in the country. Between Jolette and Coquese Washington (Penn State), the Big Ten is really getting two of the brighter young stars in the coaching profession. It's exciting to see these young women rewarded for their successes, and especially pleasing to know that these high-profile schools are thinking progressively and giving more African-American coaches the opportunities to succeed as head coaches with their own programs."
"I'm very excited for Jolette. She'll be a great asset and leader on campus. I found her to be extremely smart, in addition to obviously being a great player. Imagine being the only woman traveling with the Globetrotters. We went on two international tours with her and I consider her one of the top 10 ambassadors the team has had over the last 30 years. I've followed her coaching career since she began at Ball State and it was only a matter of time before she landed at a top institution like Illinois. I would hire her tomorrow if possible. Jolette couldn't be at a better place since the U of I is my alma mater and so dear to my heart. I'm looking forward to visiting with her upon my next visit to campus."
"Jolette is a tremendous person who has an unbelievable work ethic. She's been incredibly loyal to Vivian over the years. She's one of the women most mentioned as a head-coaching candidate coming out of the assistant coach ranks. Jolette has established herself with great recruiting success and is clearly qualified. The University of Illinois has hired an excellent coach and a really great person."
"Jolette is a young up-and-comer who is motivated and very well prepared after spending nearly two decades as a player and coach with one of the most well-respected coaches in the country in Vivian Stringer. She is capable of having immediate success at Illinois and in the Big Ten Conference. Jolette is one of the most gracious competitors I've been around. Her basketball pedigree has allowed her some great experience around the game. I can't wait to see Jolette on the sidelines at Illinois. I think it's a terrific hire."
THE LAW FILE
University of Iowa, 1987-90
Wilson High School, 1983-86