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When Tammy George inherited the USC Upstate women's basketball team in 2005-06, the program hadn't had a winning season in seven years. As she enters her fifth season as head coach in 2009-10, George has guided the Spartans to a NCAA Division II Tournament appearance and has also led the team into the waters of Division I, as Upstate posted one of the best turnarounds in all of Division I in 2008-09.
In just six seasons as a head coach, George has established herself in both the NAIA and NCAA, having coached both Brevard and Upstate to berths in their respective national tournaments. In addition, she has coached three conference Players of the Year: Upstate's Yakeeshia Ross in 2005-06 and Brevard's Kris May Richardson and Ayana McWilliams, Co-Players of the Year in 2004-05.
George enters the 2009-10 season looking to reach a couple major milestones. She is just six wins shy of becoming the fourth coach to win 50 games at USC Upstate and she is just 12 shy of reaching 100 career wins.
An offensive guru, in just four years at Upstate, George has helped five players finish in the Top 10 in their conference in scoring, including the A-Sun scoring leader in Courtney Hawkins in 2007-08.
With an extremely young team in 2008-09 thanks to a seven-member recruiting class, George led the team to a remarkable improvement in its second go-round in Division I. From 5-24 in 2007-08 to 13-16 in 2008-09, an eight-win improvement - the 20th best in all of Division I. A final RPI of 321st of 338 teams in 2007-08 to a final RPI of 242nd in 2008-09. The 79-team jump was the 32nd best improvement in Division I, a leap that helped them finish among the top 10 percent of all DI schools. From a 1-15 A-Sun record to an 8-12 record, the Spartans made a leap of seven wins and five spots up the conference ladder from last to seventh. It was the fifth-most dramatic turnaround in A-Sun history.
The Spartans also grouped together a few firsts during the season, as it won its first A-Sun game on the road, it's first Division I non-conference game at the Hodge Center and it had its first Preseason All-A-Sun selection in Hawkins. Kendra Wallace also became the first player in school history to earn A-Sun All-Freshman honors. The team also set two new school records, as it posted a .715 free throw percentage and notched 114 blocked shots. In the classroom, the Spartans also set new high marks, as nine players earned A-Sun All-Academic Team honors, besting the mark of eight set in 2003.
George guided the Spartans into the waters of Division I in 2007-08, leading the team to five wins. Injuries plagued the team, cutting short the seasons of the team's point guard and power forward. However, Hawkins still won the league scoring title.
George helped the 2006-07 team to an 11-17 record and kept the team in the pack in the Peach Belt Conference, finishing the regular season in fifth place at 6-10.
She had a tremendous first season with USC Upstate in 2005-06, leading the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994-95 season and coaching Yakeeshia Ross to Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year honors. USC Upstate finished with a 16-14 overall record, including a 12-8 mark in the Peach Belt Conference and the No. 2 seed in the Peach Belt Tournament.
George came to USC Upstate from Brevard where she spent two years as the head coach of the Tornados women's hoops team. Her brief stint at Brevard was successful, leading the team to a 21-1 conference record and the regular season conference championship in 2004-05 after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. She earned Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors and guided Brevard into the NAIA Division II National Tournament. She coached the league's co-Players of the Year (Richardson and McWilliams) and the Defensive Player of the Year. Richardson and McWilliams each earned Honorable Mention All-American honors as well. She compiled a 43-21 record over her two seasons at Brevard.
Prior to her stint at Brevard, George was an assistant coach at three NCAA Division I schools. She served as an assistant at UNC Asheville from 2002-03 where she helped coach two of the top 11 scorers in the Big South Conference. As an assistant at Wofford College from 2001-02, she helped guide the Lady Terriers to its best Division I record in winning 16 games, advancing to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament, and helped coach the Southern Conference Player of the Year. As an assistant at Gardner-Webb from 2000-01, she helped sign the top rated recruiting class in the history of the program. Prior to her stint on the college level, she served as the junior varsity coach at her alma mater East Henderson High School where she guided the squad to three division titles and a 47-15 record in three years from 1996-99.
George is a former member of Charlotte's women's basketball team, where she played from 1989-93, leading the 49ers in assists, steals and three-pointers as a senior in 1992-93. She owns Charlotte's all-time 3-point field goal percentage record and is among the all-time leaders in steals and assists. She competed in the 1993 National College Slam Dunk/Three-Point Shootout shown nationally on ESPN during the Men's Final Four in New Orleans, La. She finished third in the 3-point shooting portion of the contest. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in child and family development.
A native of Henderson County, N.C., George was a standout and three-year starter at point and shooting guard on the East Henderson High School squad. She helped lead the Lady Eagles to the 3-A State Championship game in 1988. As a senior in 1988-89, she averaged 24 points and eight rebounds per game en route to being named the Western North Carolina Player of the Year by the Asheville Citizen Times. She garnered first team all-state and Converse All-America honors in 1989 and was named Henderson County Player of the Year in 1988 and 1989. She also earned Tournament Most Valuable Player honors at the State Regionals in 1988. Her jersey was retired in 2008 after becoming the school's all-time leader in points, steals and assists.
George was a member of the Asheville Rage/Smoky Mountain Swarm traveling exhibition basketball teams from 1996-2000, playing several exhibition games against Division I opponents.
George and her husband David, who is an engineer for General Electric, live in Zirconia, N.C.
The George File