Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell wins 1,000th game

North Carolina women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell won her 1,000th career game Tuesday afternoon, as her Tar Heels beat Grambling State 79-63.

Hatchell became just the third coach in Division I history to win 1,000 games joining the late Pat Summit of Tennessee (1,098 wins) and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (1,018).

“I told them except for you mom and dad, there is no one that will do more for you than coach Hatchell,” she said to her players and fans after the game. “I focus on my purpose, not my problems and I just love the kids that we have. And they’re just super, outstanding young ladies and I’m proud of them.”

Hatchell’s career record now sits at 1,000-376, with 728 of the wins coming with North Carolina and 272 at Francis Marion. Her illustrious career includes winning the NCAA title at North Carolina in 1994 as well as AIAW and NAIA titles at Francis Marion in 1982 and 1986.

She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 in Springfield, MA.

Back in 2015, Hatchell spoke to Sports Spectrum about overcoming leukemia and beating cancer.

“You learn really quick who’s in charge and it’s not you,” Hatchell told Sports Spectrum. “You have a cancer and a disease that most people don’t survive from. You start to think about what is important.”

Today, Hatchell says she is just as passionate about coaching, if not more so, and just as competitive, if not more so. (“I’ve never been a good loser, and I hope I never become one,” she laughs.) But the real difference in Hatchell is her perspective on life.

“I have no fears on this world or thereafter,” Hatchell says. “You go through what I’ve been through and get as close to death…again, I have no fears. I know who wins. I know what the final outcome is…I feel like I’ve gone from being a Christian to being a disciple.”

Connecticut women’s head coach Geno Auriemma also reached 1,000 wins on Tuesday Night in the Huskies 88-64 win over Oklahoma.

For more on Sylvia’s story, click below to read our piece from 2015. 

Sylvia’s Song: UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell’s fight with leukemia