UNC's Hatchell goes for 900th win in Duke game

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — This could be a huge weekend for North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell.

A victory over rival Duke Sunday would make it 900 career wins for the veteran Tar Heels coach.

Hatchell said Friday that "I'd be lying if I said it didn't matter" that the milestone victory could come against the fifth-ranked Blue Devils.

"It's really not about me winning 900 games against Duke," she added. "It's about the experience those kids have playing this game. ... The experience our kids have playing each other, Carolina and Duke, in any sport, it's as good as probably playing in the Super Bowl because it is the Super Bowl of college athletics."

Hatchell is the winningest active women's coach in Division I with an 899-316 record in her 38th season. She is poised to join Pat Summitt and Jody Conradt in the women's 900-win club. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer is two wins behind Hatchell.

The 60-year-old went 272-80 in 11 seasons at Francis Marion before coming to North Carolina in 1986 and has gone 627-236 with the Tar Heels, leading them to their only women's national championship in 1994.

The 11th-ranked Tar Heels (20-2, 8-1), the preseason picks to finish fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference, enter the weekend tied for second behind Duke (19-1, 9-0).

Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie called the milestone "a special thing" because it represents a long, successful career. North Carolina men's coach Roy Williams — whose archrival, Mike Krzyzewski, surged past 900 career wins last season and now is at 945 and counting — said Hatchell's upcoming accomplishment is "off the charts.

"Toughness, the tenaciousness to have that kind of longevity is off the charts," Williams said. "Of course, you have to have good players. You have to have good players that you can convince to buy into what's best for the team. You have to have the stamina and the will to keep doing it (consistently). ... I can't even perceive that kind of thing."