Jody Conradt was nurtured by the small-town, West Texas values of Goldthwaite (pop. 1,345), where her childhood revolved around community, family, friends and sports.
Her love was basketball. Her aspirations were to teach. Fortunately, she is native to a state which takes pride in its passion, independence and can-do attitude. Those traits, along with her graceful, compassionate style, Texas-sharp wit and humor, and desire to bring education and sport opportunities to young women, advanced Conradt into a visionary leader for women's college basketball and women's sports administration.
Conradt's classroom eventually became a 16,000-seat arena at her beloved University of Texas, after serving as coach at Sam Houston State (1969-73) and coach/women's athletics director at UT-Arlington (1973-76). In 38 years as a collegiate head coach, Conradt's players won 900 games – and, more important, 99 percent of them graduated. Speak with her former student-athletes, and they agree on Conradt's life lessons: integrity and team goals above all, self-discipline and organization, embrace diversity and tolerance, commit to honest and effective communication, maintain presence and exhibit class.
Educated at Baylor (B.S., M.S. in physical education), Conradt first was a high school teacher and assistant girls basketball coach under legendary Waco Midway school administrator M.T. Rice. Under Rice, Conradt learned the value of fundamentals. Later, North Carolina's Dean Smith and his Tar Heels' run-and-jump, full-court press inspired her coaching style on the hardwood.
Especially at Texas, Conradt showcased her female student-athletes, their speed and athleticism in a fast-breaking, run-and-shoot attack that lifted her players above the rim. With a full-out style that was unprecedented and unmatched during its time, Conradt led the 1985-86 Longhorns to a 34-0 record and national championship, the NCAA's first perfect season in the sport.
As only the second woman ever inducted into the Springfield, Mass., Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, Conradt is known as a pioneer, but also a durable, dynamic and ethical leader who gave credibility to her sport during 31 years as head coach with the Longhorns. From 1992-2001, Conradt served UT in a dual role as basketball coach and women's athletics director. She continues to serve the University as a special assistant to women's athletics.