Oklahoma announces new women's coach

Jennie Baranczyk takes the Sooners reins for Sherri Coale
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A proven winner with a record of consistent excellence as a player and coach, Jennie Baranczyk has been hired as the ninth head coach in University of Oklahoma women's basketball history. OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione made the announcement Saturday.

Baranczyk (pronounced bah-RAHN-check), who has served as head coach at Drake the last nine seasons, will be formally introduced this coming week at a press conference on the OU campus. She replaces Sherri Coale, who retired last month after 25 seasons at the Sooners' helm.

Jennie Baranczyk

Jennie Baranczyk

"This is a truly exciting day for our university and athletics department, as we welcome Jennie Baranczyk as our new head women's basketball coach," said Castiglione. "Her track record of overseeing creative and effective offenses, and producing high win totals, conference championships and postseason appearances during her time at Drake certainly appealed to our search committee as it evaluated the very competitive candidate pool. But her mastery of the head coaching role extends far beyond the court, and it's clear that her personal and professional values align with ours.

"Jennie prioritizes the overall well-being of everyone in her program, is passionate about empowering her student-athletes and recognizes that a program is only as good as its people. She is family-oriented and community-minded, both of which will help her generate enthusiasm among our fans and as she works to return our program to Big 12 and national prominence. We are thrilled that she and her husband Scott and kids Eli, Jordi and Hope have joined the OU family, and we are so eager for their arrival in Norman."

Baranczyk comes to OU after amassing a 192-96 (.667) record at Drake and leading the Bulldogs to six consecutive 20-win seasons (2014-15 through 2019-20) and to three NCAA tournament berths (2017-19). A two-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year, Baranczyk's .667 winning percentage ranks fifth in the league's history.

Known for fostering high-powered offenses, Baranczyk is coming off a 2020-21 season that saw Drake lead the nation's 336 teams in assists per game (20.4) and rank sixth in the country in field goal percentage (48.1%), 22nd in scoring offense (76.4 ppg) and 24th in 3-point field goal percentage (36.4%). The Bulldogs finished 18-12 overall and in second place in league play with a 13-5 record.

Baranczyk's teams have dominated the Missouri Valley over the last seven seasons. During that span, Drake went 109-17 (.865) in regular season league play - good for the 10th-best conference winning percentage nationally - and finished no worse than second in the league standings each year. Its lowest MVC winning percentage during the stretch was .722 this past season.

Also over the past seven years, Drake ranked second nationally in effective field goal percentage (.540) and 2-point field goal percentage (.549), third in assists per game (20.6) and sixth in scoring offense (80.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.474). It is the only program in the country that has ranked in the top three nationally in assists per game in each of the last five seasons (averaged a nation-leading 21.5 per game during the stretch).

Jennie Baranczyk

Jennie Baranczyk

"We're thrilled to have Coach Baranczyk join the Sooner Nation," said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. "Her enthusiastic coaching style fits perfectly in our culture and her track record of excellence will serve our student-athletes and our program well into the future. The Baranczyks will make a wonderful addition to our OU family."

Baranczyk won back-to-back MVC Coach of the Year awards after her team's historic 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns, leading the Bulldogs to an 18-0 regular season conference record both years and winning both MVC Tournaments. And after the 2018-19 squad posted a 17-1 league record, the Bulldogs had amassed a near-perfect three-year MVC mark of 53-1 (.981).

Drake's 2016-17 team finished with a 28-5 record that included a school- and MVC-record 22-game winning streak. That season, Baranczyk was named Mid-Major Coach of the Year by ESPNW.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be named the next head coach for the University of Oklahoma's women's basketball program and follow the highly successful and much-admired Sherri Coale," said Baranczyk. "My coaching philosophy is based upon the most powerful human emotion to me and that is love. The players who put on this jersey must love the game, love to compete and love OU.

"We are going to compete at the highest level on the court and in the classroom. We will play hard, play together and be fun to watch. I'm looking forward to being at Oklahoma where there are amazing people and where we can – and will – compete for championships."

Jennie Baranczyk

Jennie Baranczyk

Under Baranczyk, Drake spent multiple weeks ranked in the AP Top 25 poll in 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons. In November 2018, the Bulldogs climbed as high as No. 24 to earn the program's highest ranking since 2001.

Three of Baranczyk's players combined to win five Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year awards and she produced 24 all-conference selections during her Drake tenure, including a league-high 18 first-team honorees and a league-leading 38 MVC Player of the Week winners. In addition, she coached four players to MVC Freshman of the Year honors, as well as the program's first two MVC Defensive Player of the Year recipients in 2018 and 2019.

Baranczyk began her coaching career in the Big 12 Conference, serving first as an assistant coach at Kansas State during the 2005-06 season (the Wildcats won the WNIT) and returning to the league as an assistant coach at Colorado from 2010-12.

Between her Big 12 stints, Baranczyk served as an assistant coach at Marquette from 2006-10, helping the Golden Eagles to an 81-53 record and four postseason appearances. The 2007-08 squad won the WNIT title.

Formerly Jennie Lillis, Baranczyk spent her collegiate career at the University of Iowa (2000-04) and is regarded as one of the best all-around players in Hawkeye women's basketball history. She was a three-time All-Big Ten Conference selection, earning first-team honors as a junior (2003) and second-team recognition as a sophomore (2002) and senior (2004).

The Urbandale, IA, product led the Hawkeyes to four postseason appearances, including three NCAA tournament berths, as well as the 2001 Big Ten Tournament title. Baranczyk graduated as the only player in Iowa history ranked in the top 10 of five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Additionally, she was one of only two Hawkeyes to score more than 1,700 points and grab 800 rebounds in their career.

Baranczyk earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Iowa in 2004. She was the recipient of the 2004 Big Ten Conference's Medal of Honor, the award given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, a WBCA Scholarship Award recipient, a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a Collegiate Basketball Award for Excellence semifinalist as a senior in 2004.