UT Athletics Director Emeritus Joan Cronan Selected for Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Joan Cronan / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 2019 induction class on ESPN2 during the Baylor at Texas basketball game on Monday night, and the group includes two with University of Tennessee ties, including athletics director emeritus Joan Cronan.

The members of the Class of 2019 are: Beth Bass (Contributor), Cronan (Contributor), Nora Lynn Finch (Contributor), Ticha Penicheiro (International Player), Ruth Riley (Player), Carolyn Bush Roddy (Veteran Player) and Valerie Still (Player). Cronan was the highly-respected, long-time women’s athletics director at UT before her retirement, while Bass was once a graduate assistant in women’s athletics.

The addition of Cronan and Bass brings the total of honorees with UT ties to 14. Previous selections include coaches Pat Summitt (1999) and Mickie DeMoss (2018), administrator Gloria Ray (2010) and players Cindy Noble Hauserman (2000), Patricia Roberts (2000), Holly Warlick (2001), Cindy Brogdon (2002), Daedra Charles-Furlow (2007), Bridgette Gordon (2007), Jill Rankin Schneider (2008), Nikki McCray (2012) and Chamique Holdsclaw (2018).

The 2019 Induction will mark the 21st class of Inductees to be honored by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which held its grand opening and inaugural induction in 1999. The Class of 2019 will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, receiving their coveted Eastman Trophy and Baron Championship Induction Ring, on June 8, 2019, in Knoxville. Tickets for the ceremony are on sale now. For more information regarding ticket packages, please visit www.WBHOF.com.

In addition to inducting the Class of 2019, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame will recognize key contributors from the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) for their contributions to the game with a display at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame entitled “Trailblazers of the Game.” The AIAW will join nine other teams and organizations that have been recognized as “Trailblazers of the Game.” The AIAW was founded in 1971 to govern collegiate women’s athletics in the United States and was one of the key contributors to the significant advancements of women’s athletics at the collegiate level.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors serves as the selection committee in determining which individuals will be inducted each year and which groups will be honored as “Trailblazers of the Game.” Voting is based on minimum candidate requirements, which include record of performance, national or international recognition, and contributions to the game of women’s basketball.

For more information on the 2019 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Weekend, please visit www.wbhof.com.


NOTE: The following bio capsules highlight a few major accomplishments, but not the comprehensive contributions these individuals have made to women’s basketball.

BETH BASS (Contributor)

  • 2001-2014 – CEO of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
  • 2007- Assisted in the launch of WBCA’s Think Pink campaign in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
  • 2004 – President’s Award from the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).

JOAN CRONAN (Contributor)

  • Athletics Director Emeritus for the University of Tennessee after serving there as Women’s Athletic Director for nearly three decades.
  • 2005 Athletic Director of the Year & 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).
  • 2017 first recipient of the NCAA Pat Summitt Award & 2018 recipient of NACDA’s top award – The James Corbett Award.

NORA LYNN FINCH (Contributor)

  • 1981-1988 – Inaugural Chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.
  • Member of several key NCAA committees, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, the NCAA Division I Management Committee, and the NCAA Division I Championships Cabinet (Chair), as well as many other committees.
  • The Atlantic Coach Conference’s (ACC) first female Assistant Athletics Director.

TICHA PENICHEIRO (International Player)

  • Russian League Champion (2007), EuroLeague Champion (2007), Czech League Champion (2011), and Turkish League Champion (2012).
  • 4-time WNBA All-Star, 7-Time WNBA Assist Leader, and named to the 2016 WNBA Top 20 players of all time.
  • 2-time Kodak All-American (1997, 1998) and the Wade Trophy Winner (1998)

RUTH RILEY (U.S. Player)

  • 2004 – Olympic Gold Medalist
  • 2-time WNBA Champion with the Detroit Shock (2003, 2006) and the 2003 WNBA Finals MVP.
  • 2001 – Naismith Player of the Year guiding Notre Dame to their first NCAA Division I National Championship.


  • 2-time NJCAA All-American at Hiwassee Junior College.
  • Led Wayland Baptist Flying Queens to two AAU National Championships, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding both years.
  • 1975 – Texas Panhandle Player of the Year.


  • University of Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, guiding them to the 1982 SEC Regular Season and Tournament Championships.
  • 1982 & 1983 – Kodak/WCBA All-American at University of Kentucky, and led the Columbus Quest to back-to-back (1997- 1998) ABL Championships.
  • First female to have her jersey retired at University of Kentucky, in any sport, and inducted into the charter class of the University of Kentucky’s Hall of Fame.


  • Founded in 1971 to govern collegiate women’s athletics in the United States and was one of the most key contributors to the significant advancements of women’s athletics at the collegiate level.
  • The AIAW started with 280 member schools and at its peak had almost 1,000 member schools.
  • The annual AIAW women’s basketball tournament received great publicity, and the 1973 tournament showed that women’s sports could be financially successful with the tournament earning over $4,500 in profits. Some teams played before sellout crowds on campus, and New York’s Madison Square Garden also featured match-ups between the top teams of the AIAW era.

-UT Athletics


“Breaking Thru With Elaina” Featuring Maren Morris

“Breaking Thru With Elaina” Featuring Maren Morris

Elaina Smith is back with the second season of her award-winning podcast, Breaking Thru With Elaina, formerly titled Women Want to Hear Women. Elaina kicked off Season 2 with one of her favorite guests from Season 1 . . . the one and only Maren Morris. In addition to chatting with Maren about country radio,…


  • Forecast
  • Currents
  • Planner