Women’s Basketball Program Enters New Era with the Retirement of a Legendary Coach

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College & State University Department of Athletics announced today that head women’s basketball coach John Carrick has decided to retire and will not return for the 2010-11 season. Carrick, who had been head coach for 27 years, officially retired from full-time employment at the university in 2007 but continued to coach the team on a part-time basis.

The university will seek a full-time replacement, according to Athletic Director Wendell Staton, with a target date of July 1.

“Coach Carrick truly has created an outstanding legacy for the women’s basketball program,” Staton said. “Finding the right individual to maintain and challenge the standard that John set will be a tall order.”

In his 27 years, the most of any head coach at Georgia College, Carrick compiled a record of 474 wins and 305 losses. This past season, the Bobcats went 21-8, the ninth team under Carrick to win at least 20 games, and won the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) West Division title. With 21 winning seasons and six NCAA Tournament appearances, Carrick established a strong, winning program.

More than his reputation as a winner, Carrick took pride in the fact that 92 percent of his players graduate from college.

“I’d like to thank Georgia College for 27 wonderful years,” said Carrick, the dean of the PBC. “I’d also like to thank Mike Peeler and Jim Wolfgang for hiring and guiding me through my first few years of stumbling through college coaching.”

“I’m proud of the program we’ve established over the years, and I do mean we. I owe a lot of success to the young women and men that worked as assistant coaches, as well as the outstanding young women that have played here.”

A 1974 Georgia College physical education graduate, Carrick took over as head coach in 1983 on the heels of a dismal 2-22 season. Under his guidance, the then Lady Colonials battled to respectability, and Carrick's first winning season came in 1985-86.

Carrick’s teams posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns in 1987-88 and 1988-89, helping Georgia College to average 18 wins a season under Carrick. He picked up his 200th career win during the 1995-96 PBC Championship season with a 68-55 victory over rival Kennesaw State and his 300th win in 2001 with an 85-67 victory at Lander. He notched his 400th win in the first round of the 2006 PBC Tournament with a 63-60 victory over Armstrong Atlantic.

Even the 1990 switch from competing at the NAIA level to NCAA Division II and entering the Peach Belt Conference did not slow Carrick’s ability to bring home a winner as Georgia College finished 18-11. The following year, Carrick's team was the PBC regular season co-champion with a 12-2 conference mark and 22-7 overall record.

The wins kept adding up, capped by a sensational two-year stretch during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons in which Carrick led his team to its first outright regular season PBC title, first PBC Tournament title, and two NCAA Tournament berths. The Bobcats made history in 2002 after becoming the lowest seeded team to win the PBC Tournament -- the first team to win four games in the tournament and also knock off both No. 1 seeds to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third time.

Under Carrick, Georgia College did it again in 2004, winning four games on the way to its third PBC Tournament title, knocking off both top seeds. The Bobcats advanced all the way to the "Sweet 16" at the NCAA Tournament, falling in the regional championship game. Georgia College won the PBC Tournament again in 2006 to earn its fifth berth into the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to his bachelor's degree, Carrick earned a master's degree in health, physical education and recreation in 1976, also from Georgia College. As an undergraduate at Georgia College, he competed in soccer and tennis, and was named GC Male-Athlete-of-the-Year in 1974. Carrick has one son, Josh, who attended GCSU and has been a student-assistant coach on his staff.

Carrick started his coaching career at Putnam County High School in Eatonton, Ga., where he coached football, baseball and girls’ basketball. In 1982, he took a perennial loser and led them to a 29-0 record and a Class AA State Title. He was named the Class AA Coach-of-the-Year and was selected as the Macon Telegraph Middle Georgia Prep All-Sports Coach of the Year.

“When I look back on it all, the thing I remember most won’t be the wins and losses, it’ll be the relationships formed with co-workers, staff and the players. We all worked hard to give the young women an experience they could be proud of, and one that would prepare them for their professional lives.”

The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.