Navy hires ex-Wake coach to head women's basketball

Joe Sanchez, who's been a women's basketball head coach for 16 years, was named coach at the Naval Academy yesterday.

Sanchez has a 307-174 record for his career, which includes seven seasons at Wake Forest. Last season at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, he took UNK to its first NCAA Division II tournament.


"I think it's an exciting opportunity, an exciting career move," Sanchez said. "It's going to be a challenge to build a women's basketball program at Navy, but I believe, no doubt, it will be done."

Sanchez replaces Debra Schlegel, who resigned after going 31-50 in three seasons.


"We're going to be very young next year," Sanchez said. "My first goal is to build a competitive team and win the Patriot League."

At Wake Forest, Sanchez had his best season in 1987-88, when the Demon Deacons finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 23-8 and reached the NCAA tournament. Sanchez left Wake Forest in 1992.

Before coaching at Wake Forest, Sanchez took Central Florida to three consecutive NCAA Division II tournaments (1982-84).

In 1984-85, Sanchez led Central Florida (20-10) into Division I. The 20 wins were the most by a coach in the first season after moving a team from Division II to Division I.

Last summer, Sanchez directed the Spanish Olympic women's basketball development program.

"I think it's a tremendous honor and a tremendous opportunity to coach at Navy," Sanchez said. "I know everything there is first-class."