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Rizzotti to be Inducted into Hall of Fame on Saturday
Rizzotti (second from left) with husband and Assistant Coach Bill Sullivan (far left), UHart Athletics Director Pat Meiser, and President Walter Harrison at the May 28 send-off reception.
University of Hartford women's basketball head coach Jennifer Rizzotti will be formally inducted, as a player, into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night, June 8, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Rizzotti, who was an All-American at the University of Connecticut, played eight seasons professionally in both the WNBA and ABL. During her college career, she totaled 1,540 points, 637 assists, and 349 steals. The point guard was the Associated Press National Player of the Year and Wade Trophy winner as college basketball's outstanding senior player in 1995-96. That accolade came a season after leading the Huskies to their first national championship and a perfect 35-0 record in 1995.
Rizzotti's court success quickly transferred to coaching, where she has turned the UHart women's basketball program into one of the nation's top mid-major programs. During her 14 seasons as head coach, she has guided the Hawks to the NCAA tournament six times, and her 276 career victories are the most wins among all current and former America East head coaches.
Rizzotti also has experienced international success as a head coach, coaching a pair of U.S. national teams to gold medals in the FIBA World Championships.
The University of Hartford hosted two events during the spring to celebrate Rizzotti's induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. On April 11, a fundraising dinner to support the Hawks women's basketball program was held at the home of UHart friends Frank and Pat Longobardi. Then, on May 28 at the Governor's Residence in Hartford, a send-off reception brought together more than 100 of Rizzotti's family members, friends, former teammates, and campus colleagues.
"I look around and I see every piece of my life," Rizzotti said at the reception. "It just makes me feel so blessed. The actual induction will be a little less emotional. I won't be surrounded by as much family as I feel like I have here tonight."
See a gallery of photos from the May 28 send-off reception on Facebook.
Read a Hartford Courant article about the send-off reception.
Rizzotti is one of six honorees in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Also to be inducted Saturday night will be longtime coaches Gary Blair and Jim Foster, and players Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Annette Smith-Knight, and Sue Wicks.