Dunagan retires from Roanoke with 611 wins

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Susan Dunagan and her team celebrated Dunagan's 600th career win early in the 2013-14 season.
Roanoke athletics photo

Susan Dunagan, the winningest coach in the history of Virginia, has announced her retirement as coach of the Maroons after 33 years at Roanoke. Dunagan steps down as both the school and Old Dominion Athletic Conference career wins leader, with more than 600 victories.

"Although I am retiring from basketball, the student-athletes that I have coached will always be a part of my family," Dunagan said. "I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with quality people in every area of Roanoke College and have made great friends in the Roanoke Valley. I realize this move will allow new energy into our basketball program to work with a first-class team building toward Roanoke's 14th ODAC Championship and 12th NCAA Tournament appearance."

The Roanoke Valley native posted a 33-year career record of 611-271, including a 449-141 mark in ODAC play. She compiled 16 20-win seasons, a conference-record 13 ODAC championships and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Roanoke was 13-13 this past season, bouncing back after back-to-back years under .500.

The "Dunagan Dynasty" began in her second season as Roanoke's head coach in the first year of NCAA Div. III for women's athletics. In 1982-83, the Maroons finished with a 20-5 record and won the program's first ODAC Championship. It was an 11-game turnaround from a 9-13 mark from the previous season in the final year of the old AAIW.

"My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing," said Dunagan. "I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here at Roanoke. I couldn't have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the community and this great institution. Together, we did something very special here."

Her success did not go unnoticed, as Dunagan was named ODAC Coach of the Year nine times. She was named Women's Basketball Coaches Association District Coach of the Year in 1997 and named Virginia State Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors in 2000. In the spring of 2001, the legendary coach was inducted into the Roanoke College Athletic Hall of Fame.

"Susan has left an indelible mark of excellence at Roanoke College," Allison said. "Her ability to connect with and motivate the young women in our basketball program was truly special. She loved them dearly, yet they always knew that she would hold them accountable."

Dunagan's basketball program is a breeding ground for success. She has coached 12 All-Americans, nine ODAC Players of the Year, 14 All-South Region and 37 All-ODAC players. The Roanoke program has also been a stepping-stone into the coaching ranks. No less than 30 of Dunagan's former players and assistant coaches have moved on to have successful head coaching careers at both the college and high school levels.

The on-court triumphs of Maroon basketball players also spill over into the classroom. In her 33 years of coaching at Roanoke, all of her four-year players have earned a diploma. She has been an excellent role model and an inspiration to her players."We thank Susan for her devotion to Roanoke College," said Roanoke athletic director Scott Allison. "Her accomplishments have earned her a place among the elite in NCAA Division III women's basketball history."

Before joining Roaonke, Dunagan spent 11 years at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke where she taught health and physical education, and driver's education. She also coached track, and of course, basketball, where she was a Roanoke Valley Metro Coach of the Year three times (1975, 1976 and 1979). While at Cave Spring, she compiled a 124-39 record for the Knights.

A Radford graduate, Dunagan received her bachelor's degree in physical education in 1970 and returned for her master's in physical education in 1976.

A national search for the women's basketball head coaching position will begin immediately.