CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Shortly after North Carolina had rallied to beat Clemson, Jessica Breland approached coach Sylvia Hatchell to inquire how she felt about winning 799 games in her career.
“Does it make you feel old?” the junior asked Thursday.
Hatchell chuckled at the thought and said no.
“I said, ‘I’m just looking forward to that next win,’ ” she said. “The thing is I still get so anxious and excited before every game.”
Hatchell’s second-ranked Tar Heels (15-0) could get her the milestone 800th win Sunday against rival North Carolina State, making her the fourth women’s coach to reach the mark. She sounds as if she plans to add to that total for years to come, too. Her teams have been among the national-title favorites each of the past five years.
That’s important considering Hatchell admits she hates to lose so much that she once applied for a job at UPS after losing a game as coach at Francis Marion years ago.
“I’m young. Hopefully, I’ve still got a lot more in me,” Hatchell, 56, said during a news conference Friday. “I’m as competitive or more competitive right now than I’ve ever been in my life. … I’m having fun. I’m really having a blast.”
So far, only Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, retired Texas coach Jody Conradt and Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer have won 800 games in women’s college basketball.
Hatchell’s career record is 799-274 in 34 seasons, with 527 of those victories coming in 23 seasons in Chapel Hill.
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