Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros women's basketball

UTRGV Vaqueros women's basketball
2016–17 Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros women's basketball team
University University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Conference WAC
Location Edinburg, TX
Head coach Larry Tidwell (Third year)
Arena UTRGV Fieldhouse
(Capacity: 2,500)
Nickname Vaqueros
Colors Kelly Green, Navy Blue, and Orange[1]

The UTRGV Vaqueros women's basketball team is the intercollegiate women's basketball program representing the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The school competes in the Western Athletic Conference in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Vaqueros play home basketball games at the UTRGV Fieldhouse on the university campus in Edinburg, Texas.[2]

The team was established in its current identity after the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) were merged in 2015. The UTPA athletic program, nicknamed "Broncs", was directly converted to that of UTRGV, with UTPA's WAC membership and athletic history transferring to the new institution.[3]


John McDowell era (1982-1986)

The Broncs began play in women's basketball in 1982 when the school was known as Pan American University. The Broncs played their first three season as a NAIA Independent, with the first ever coach in school history being John McDowell. In their three seasons as a NAIA Independent, they finished 10-5, 7-11, and 12-12, respectively. In his fourth and final season, he coached them to a 7-19 record in their first ever season of Division I play (as an independent).

McDaniel and De Los Santos years (1986-1988)

Tony McDaniel coached the team for one season (1986–87), leading them to a 7-17 record. Becky De Los Santos took over for the 1987-88 season, the first season for the Broncs in the American South Conference. However, the team lost all 27 games, and De Los Santos did not return.

Tim Hicks era (1988-1992)

Tim Hicks also did not win any games as coach of the 1988-89 season, but the next season saw an improvement from 0 wins to 3. After that season, the school's name changed to the University of Texas–Pan American when it joined the University of Texas System. The 1990-91 season was their last in the American South Conference, but it was the season in which they picked up their first ever conference wins (2 in total). In four seasons in the American South Conference, they went 2-40 in conference play. The conference merged with the Sun Belt Conference in 1991. In the final season for Hicks as coach, the Broncs went 10-18 and 2-14 in conference play.

Garner and Green years (1992-1996)

Traci Garner took over for the 1992-93 season. In her two season as coach she went 10-44 (6-21 and 4-23, respectively) overall and 3-24 (3-11 and 1-13 respecitvely) in conference play. Cletus Green also coached for two seasons (1994–95 and 1995–96), going 3-24 (2-12) and 10-17 (3-11), respectively.

Kathy Halligan era (1996-2000)

Kathy Halligan coached for four seasons from 1996-2000, overseeing their departure from the Sun Belt Conference after the 1997-98 season. In the final two seasons (1996–97 and 1997–98) playing under the Sun Belt label, they went 5-22 (3-11) and 1-26 (0-14), respectively, with the cumulative total of their seven seasons of conference play being a record of 14-86. Halligan's two seasons under the Independent label did not have much improvement, as she went 8-19 in 1998-99 and 6-21 in 1999-2000. On March 1, 2000, it was announced that Halligan would be reassigned within the Athletic Department, ending her tenure as coach.[4]

Karin Nicholls years (2000-2002)

Two months later, Karin Nicholls was hired as coach.[5] She coached for two seasons from 2000-2002. In her two seasons, her teams went 11-17 and 7-21 for a total record of 18-38. Tracy Anderson coached for only the 2002-03 season, going 7-21.

DeAnn Craft era (2003-2009)

DeAnn Craft took over as coach, starting with the 2003-04 season. The Broncs finished with a 13-15 record, but the team had the most victories in school history. They improved to a 14-14 record the following year, which was their first ever .500 season since the 1984-85 season. They sunk to a 7-21 record in 2005. The next two seasons finished the same, with 11-18 records. The 2008-09 season proved to be the final season for Craft and the last season as an Independent for the Broncs, and they finished 14-16, tying the school record for wins. Craft resigned with one year remaining on her contract. She cited the loss of a radio contract to broadcast both men's and women's basketball games, the decision to cease providing scholarship benefits to incoming players to the program in the summer before their first year and aid to ensure graduation for fifth-year students, both factors that she thought were de-emphasizing the program.[6] Her 70 victories (and 102 losses) remain a school record.

Denny Downing era (2009-2013)

Denny Downing took over as coach for the 2009-10 season, their first season as member of the Great West Conference. They finished 13-17, with an 8-4 conference record, their first ever season with an above .500 record in conference. The next season was a downgrade, as they finished 12-19 (4-8 in conference). They inched up with a 13-17 record (5-5 conference record) in 2011-12, but they stepped back the next season, finishing 12-16 (4-4 conference record). Downing's contract was not renewed after the season ended.[7]

Larry Tidwell era and transition to UTRGV (2013-present)

Larry Tidwell was hired to coach the team for the 2013-14 season, which was the first for the Broncs in Western Athletic Conference play. They finished 14-16, with an 8-8 conference record. The following year, the Broncs, in their final year before transtioning into being known as the UTRGV Vaqueros, finished the history of Pan American with a winning season. It was their first since finishing 10-5 in the NAIA Division II level back in their first ever season. They also broke the record for most program victories (which had been 14 in 2013) with 19 victories. Other school records were set, such as conference victories, conference tournament wins (two), victories at home (12), victories on the road (4), and victories on a neutral site (3). Ultimately, they finished 19-15. In the 2015 WAC Women's Basketball Tournament, they beat UMKC and Cal State Bakersfield to reach the Championship. Even though they subsequently lost to New Mexico State 70-52, the Broncs secured a Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) appearance, their first postseason appearance in program history. In the 2015 Women's Basketball Invitational, they lost to Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 78-56 in the first round.

The 2015-16 season was the first ever season under the UT-RGV label, which was a combination of Pan American with University of Texas at Brownsville. The Vaqueros finished 18-13 overall, with a 9-5 conference record. In the 2016 WAC Women's Basketball Tournament, they beat Chicago State and Cal State Bakersfield to reach the championship once again. However, they were beat by New Mexico State once again, 80-53. Despite the loss, the team qualified for the 2016 Women's National Invitation Tournament.

Coaching history

Stats updated as of the 2015-16 season.

Coach Years Record Conference
John McDowell 1982-1986 36-47 N/A
Tony McDaniel 1986-1987 7-17 N/A
Becky De Los Santos 1987-1988 0-27 0-10
Tim Hicks 1988-1992 20-89 4-44
Traci Garner 1992-1994 10-44 4-24
Cletus Green 1994-1996 13-41 5-23
Kathy Halligan 1996-2000 20-88 3-25
Karin Nicholls 2000-2002 13-38 N/A
Tracy Anderson 2002-2003 7-21 N/A
DeAnn Craft 2003-2009 70-102 N/A
Denny Downing 2009-2013 50-69 21-21
Larry Tidwell 2013–present 51-42 26-18
Totals 297-625 63-165 0

All-time statistical leaders

Career leaders

Single season leaders

Single game leaders


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