One of the greatest women’s college basketball coaches of alltime will resign at the end of this season.
Gene Roebuck of Grand Forks announced earlier this week that this will be his final season as coach at the University of North Dakota. The Velva, N.D., native and Mayville State graduate transformed UND into one of the powerhouse programs of NCAA Division II and has taken his program through a successful transition to Division I status.
“I am proud to have represented this university with pride and respect,” said Roebuck. “After five years of the transition, the program is going in the right direction. The tradition of women’s basketball at UND will go on. It’s time for me to move on. Until that time, I will coach as hard as I always have. Thank you University of North Dakota for 25 great years.”
Roebuck’s teams have gone 616-144 at UND.
His overall collegiate coaching record is 703-158.
Roebuck is not the only legendary women’s basketball coach to get his 700th win this season.
In his 33rd season at Northern State, Curt Fredrickson got his 700th win earlier this month as well. Both men (Fredrickson at Aberdeen Central and NSU) were outstanding athletes in high school and college as well.
Although they haven’t played much and never in Aberdeen, Roebuck and Fredrickson’s teams have had some epic battles over the years. UND has won six of those eight games. However, after UND’s new basketball home, the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks, opened in 2004, its women’s basketball team went 85-5 there in the first five seasons.
Two of the five loses were to Curt Fredrickson’s Northern State teams: 77-69 and 71-65.
UND wins over NSU with the two legendary coaches in place were 88-76, 84-53, 56-50, 83-63, 90-58 and 66-61.
“Gene has enjoyed a tremendous career here, from winning national championships to the professional accomplishments of his student-athletes after they have graduated from UND,” said UND athletics director Brian Faison. “His positive impact on this institution, his student-athletes and the state of North Dakota has been nothing short of incredible.”
With 703 career wins, Fredrickson and Roebuck are tied as the 11th winningest active women’s basketball coaches. Roebuck’s teams won three straight NCAA Division II national titles (1997-99). Fredrickson’s teams won two NAIA national titles.
In the second round of the 1997 national tournament, UND defeated NSU 88-76 to on its way to the national crown.
During UND’s three-year run as the DII champs, Roebuck’s teams posted a 90-6 record, including a 49-5 mark in North Central Conference play and a 48-1 record at home.
He nearly captured a fourth national championship in 2000-01, falling to Cal Poly Pomona in overtime in the national championship game. A search for a new women’s basketball coach at UND is under way.