UNM hosts San Diego State for Think Pink night on February 15, 2011
The Lobo women's basketball team visited the University of New Mexico Children's Hospital on Jan. 6.
UNM 60, Arizona 84
The winningest coach in New Mexico basketball history, Don Flanagan has nurtured the Lobo program into a rising basketball powerhouse. In 16 years at the helm of the New Mexico program, Flanagan has guided the Lobos to 14 winning seasons and 13 postseason appearances, including eight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Flanagan received his first individual award in 2004-05 when he was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year and his second award in 2005-06 when he was named Russell Athletic/WBCA Region Seven Coach of the Year.
Under Flanagan's guidance, the Lobos have finished in the upper half of the Mountain West Conference 11 times in the past 12 years and were in the upper echelon of the WAC before joining the MWC in 1999.
Flanagan took over a struggling program in 1995 and the Lobos have improved to a remarkable 340-168 (.669). UNM has captured three regular-season conference championships, six conference tournament titles and has made 13 post¬season appearances.
Flanagan became the school's all-time leader in victories in 1999-2000, surpassing Doug Hoselton's previous mark of 89 from 1980-87. Amazingly, Flanagan took just 133 games to reach 90 wins for his career, while Hoselton won 89 in 194 tries.
Flanagan reached another milestone during the 2008-09 season when he won his 300th game at New Mexico on Feb. 11, 2009 against Air Force. Of course winning is nothing new for Flanagan - in fact he is winning almost as much now as in his previous job as head girl's coach at Albuquerque's Eldorado High School, where he compiled an astounding 401-13 record and won 11 state championships in 16 years.
During the 2010-11 season, Flanagan reached another milestone in his career when he coached his 500th collegiate game at New Mexico. Flanagan reached 500 games in The Pit on Feb. 15, 2011 against San Diego State. Flanagan has coached 508 collegiate games as head coach of the Lobos, which is a feat no coach has done in New Mexico basketball history.
Under Flanagan, UNM has become a consistent threat to win the conference title, as the Lobos have finished no worse than fourth in 14 of the last 16 seasons. Flanagan's teams have become noted for their stifling defense. New Mexico has finished among the conference leaders in scoring defense in nearly every year and has consistently ranked in the top-20 in the nation in that category as well.
Fan support has been tremendous as a result of the Lobos' defense and intense style of play. Last year, New Mexico averaged 7,677 people per game inside The Pit to rank seventh in the nation. The Lobos have been in the Top-10 in the nation in home attendance since the 1998-99 season.
During Flanagan's tenure at New Mexico the Lobos have rewritten the women's basketball record book and have chalked up many historical moments.
In 2010-11, Flanagan entered a rebuilding year with the team having only four upperclassmen after injuries plagued two key returners. The young Lobos were put to the test early in the season as they played the 11th toughest schedule in the nation. Despite their struggles on the court, the Lobos made it to the semifinal round of the MWC Championship. New Mexico landed two players on the All-MWC Team and another player on the All-Defensive Team. The Lobos had great success in the classroom this season as New Mexico was the only MWC school to land two players on the first-team Academic All-District Team. Senior Amanda Best was also the only MWC player to be named to the Academic All-America Team for her sterling 4.0 GPA.
During the 2009-10 season, Flanagan guided New Mexico to its 14th consecutive winning season and its 13th straight postseason appearance. The Lobos reached the quarterfinal round of the MWC Championship and were selected to play in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where they advanced to the second round. The Lobos had three players named to the All-MWC Team along with an All-Defensive selection. New Mexico finished the season with an overall record of 19-13 and a 9-7 record to finish tied for fourth in the conference.
In 2008-09, Flanagan once again kept UNM on the national scene and guided the Lobos to a 25-11 overall record. The Lobos were ranked for three weeks during the non-conference and won 25 games for the third time in school history. UNM played 36 games for the first time in school history after reaching the quarterfinals of the WNIT. Flanagan captured his 300th win at New Mexico during his 14th season and helped the Lobos reach the postseason for the 12th straight year. UNM finished fourth in the regular-season standings and reached the semifinals of the MWC Championship.
The Lobos capped off an exciting season in 2007-08 and extended their NCAA Tournament streak to seven consecutive seasons. UNM reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth straight year after finishing the season with a 20-13 overall record. The Lobos won their fifth MWC Tournament Championship in six years. Under Flanagan, UNM rallied from a fourth seed in the championship to win the tournament and earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Seniors Dionne Marsh and Brandi Kimble showcased their desire and determination, leading UNM to another title and continuing the Lobo tradition of success. The Lobos had three student-athletes named All-MWC and were ranked among the WBCA Top 25 academic programs nationally. Marsh, who captured her third MWC Tournament MVP award, finished her career as the New Mexico all-time leading scorer with 1,913 points.
In 2006-07, UNM went 24-9 and 13-2 inside The Pit. The Lobos captured their fifth conference tournament title and earned an automatic berth into their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament. UNM was led by three seniors and two juniors including MWC Tournament MVP Dionne Marsh. The Lobos finished the year with three All-MWC selections and eight players named Academic All-MWC.
In 2005-06 Flanagan led the Lobos to a 22-10 mark and a third-place finish in the Mountain West Conference at 11-5. The Lobos were ranked for 16 consecutive weeks, including a No. 16 ranking, which is the highest in school history. New Mexico also won its first-ever road game against a top-25 team with a win at then No. 12 Texas, as well as its first NCAA Tournament win away from The Pit with a victory over Florida in Tucson, Ariz.
New Mexico finished the 2004-05 season with an overall record of 26-5 and finished first in the MWC at 12-2. In the postseason, UNM won its third consecutive MWC Tournament title and earned its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos also received their first ever ranking in the Associated Press top-25, reaching 23rd.
In 2003-04, UNM finished the season with an overall record of 23-8. In the regular season, UNM was 20-7 and finished first in the Mountain West Conference at 12-2. In the postseason, the Lobos won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos, for the first time in school history, led the country in both scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.
In 2002-03, UNM finished with an overall record of 24-9. In the regular season UNM was 19-8 and finished second in the Mountain West Conference at 9-5. In the postseason, the Lobos won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
In 2001-02, UNM finished 22-9 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history. The Lobos finished tied for second in the Mountain West Conference at 10-4.
The 2000-01 season saw UNM finish with a record of 22-13 and advance to the championship game of the Women's NIT. The Lobos finished tied for fourth in the MWC with an 8-6 record.
UNM finished 1999-2000 with a record of 18-11 and advanced to postseason play in the WNIT for the second consecutive year. The Lobos tied for third in the inaugural year of the MWC with a 9-5 record.
In the 1998-99 campaign, the Lobos finished 24-7, posted a school-record 12-2 mark in Western Athletic Conference play and tied for the regular-season crown in the Pacific Division. UNM also set a school record with a 24-game home-court-winning streak. UNM received a No. 1 seed in the 1999 WAC Tournament. Although the Lobos did not advance to the NCAA Tournament, they accepted an invitation to the NIT. UNM hosted three games in The Pit and made it as far as the quarterfinal round.
Flanagan brought the program into uncharted territory during the 1997-98 season. UNM won 26 games, destroying the previous school record of 19 wins set during the 1978-79 season. To top it off, Flanagan led the team into the WAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed and came away with its first conference tournament championship. The Lobos won four straight games to capture the title. It was the first time in the history of the WAC Tournament that a team other than a No. 1 or No. 2 seed came away with the trophy. The Flanagan-led Lobos were rewarded with their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. UNM received a No. 8 seed in the East Region and although the Lobos lost to Nebraska in the first round, it did not diminish what they accomplished.
In his second season at New Mexico, 1996-97, Flanagan led the Lobos to an 18-10 mark, which was the second-best overall record in the 19-year history of the women's basketball program up to that point. The Lobos finished the WAC season with a mark of 8-8, which was good for fourth place in the Mountain Division.
Flanagan had an immediate impact on the Lobo program and finished his first season with a mark of 14-15, which by and far, gave him the best record of any first-year head coach in the history of women's basketball at New Mexico. The Lobos had gone just 14-96 the four years before his arrival. He led UNM to the championship game of the WAC Tournament, a feat never before accomplished by a first-year head coach in the WAC.
UNM also snapped a 54-game road losing streak and a 34-game WAC-road losing streak with Flanagan at the helm, and finished with its highest WAC standing - fifth - in school history to that point. Additionally, the Lobos improved in 19 of 20 statistical categories under the guidance of the first-year coach.
Flanagan was hired as the fourth head coach in the history of the women's basketball program at the University of New Mexico on April 16, 1995. Before coming to the Lobos, Flanagan left his mark firmly engraved in the annals of New Mexico high school girls' basketball. He established numbers on the high school level that were, in a word - mind-blowing.
In fact, Flanagan posted a win-loss record at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque that will never be duplicated in New Mexico. His incredible 401-13 career record in 16 years was good for a winning percentage of 97.0 percent.
Flanagan's accomplishments included 14 different tournament championships, 15 district championships, winning streaks of 77, 74, 69, 66 and 60 games, respectively, and his teams averaged 25 wins a year over 16 years. During those 16 years, Flanagan's teams went undefeated nine times. In 1987, Eldorado was honored as Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame Team of the Year. Additionally, Eldorado was ranked nationally seven different years, including 1980, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1992.
And it didn't stop there. The honors for Flanagan have rolled in continuously year after year. Following the 1997-98 season, Flanagan was inducted into the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame for a lifetime of achievement. He was nominated for National High School Coach of the Year honors on three occasions (1985, 1994 and 1995) and was named Region VIII Coach of the Year for 10 consecutive years (1985-94). He was named Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame Coach of the Year (1992), Bank of America Coach of the Year (1993 & 1994), Albuquerque Tribune Coach of the Year (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990) and Albuquerque Journal Coach of the Year (1980, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1992). In 2002, Flanagan was inducted into the East Hartford Connecticut Explorers Tip-Off Club Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was inducted to the Fort Lewis College Hall of Fame.
Flanagan was born in Cambridge, Mass., and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College in 1971 where he was a member of the Honor Roll. He played on the basketball team at Fort Lewis all four years. He was also honored during college as a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Academic team.
Flanagan, 67, and his wife Wahleah, have three sons: Sean, Shane, and Brent.