Linda K. Sharp
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2008)|
Linda K. Sharp is a former collegiate women's basketball coach. Her coaching career spans 31 seasons with stints on all levels from elementary, junior high and high school to the collegiate and professional ranks, and she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.1
Sharp served as the Head Coach at the University of Southern California (USC) women's basketball team, known as the Women of Troy, or simply Trojans, for 12 years, compiling a 271-99 won-loss record. She guided the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA national championships in 1983 and 1984, and a total of three appearances in the Final Four of the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship. She earned WCAA Coach of the Year honors, the Wade Coach of the Year, and Sporting News Coach of the Year in 1984. While at USC, she was selected as the Pac-10 Conference "Coach of the Year" three times.
Sharp compiled a 138-85 record in eight seasons at Southwest Texas State University.
Sharp served on NCAA Basketball Rules Committee for seven years.
Sharp's involvement with USA Basketball includes coaching in the 1979 Olympic Festival (silver medal), the 1981 Jones Cup (silver medal) and the 1987 World University Games.
In 1997, she became the first head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association. Sharp later assisted her former pupil at USC, Cheryl Miller with the Phoenix Mercury in 2000. Coach Sharp became the Head Coach of the Phoenix Mercury during the remainder of the 2002 season after Cynthia Cooper resigned from the position.
In 2001, Sharp was hired as the Head Coach of the women's basketball team at Concordia University in Austin, Texas. She coached the team for seven years and to 87-87 won-loss record. On September 2008, Sharp announced that she was resigning from the position.
Sharp's career head coach record is 496-271 after 27 years coaching NCAA women's basketball.
Sharp was chosen as the head coach of the team representing the USA in 1981 at the William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The team won their first four games easily, then faced the Republic of China - Blue team. Although the USA had an early ten point lead, the Blue team came back to lead by four points at halftime. The USA opened the second half with a 9–2 run to reclaim the lead for good and went on to win the game. They then went on to win their next two games easily, and faced the defending champions South Korea in the final. The game was very close, throughout much of the game, including a tie at 49 points each with about ten minutes to go. The South Koreans then pulled out to a nine point lead with under two minutes left. The USA team pulled the margin back to three points, but could not close the gap. The South Korean team won, and the USA team received the silver medal.2
Sharp was the head coach of the team representing the USA at the World University Games held in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in July of 1987. The team started out with a 35 point victory over Poland and followed that with a 41 point victory over Finland. In the third game, the USA faced the host team Yugoslavia. The USA hit a high percentage of their shots from the free throw line, 16 of 19, but the Yugoslav team earned 43 shots from the line, of which they made 34. With a home crowd behind them, the game came down to the wire, and was tied at the end of regulation. In overtime, Yugoslavia out scored the USA and won the game 93–89. The USA still had a chance to make it to the medal round, but to do so had to win their next game against China, and do so by at least five points. The USA fell behind, and were down 16 points at halftime. They fell behind by 20 at one point, but made up the deficit and more in the second half. They went on to win the game, but by only a single point 84–83. They won their final game against Canada, but this left them in fifth place, the first time ever the USA team did not win a medal at the World University Games.3