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THE WIZARD OF POMONA
If you're a Division I athletic director interested in beefing up your women's basketball program, you might want to hustle out to Los Angeles and have a talk with coach Darlene May. She has created a Division II dynasty at Cal Poly-Pomona, a school with 19,000 students, tucked away in the westernmost part of Los Angeles County.
Last week's three victories over UC Riverside, Chapman College and Cal State-Dominguez Hills not only gave May's Broncos a 20-4 record but also pushed her career record to 389-89 and her California Collegiate Athletic Association record to a remarkable 140-4. In her 15 seasons at the school May has led Pomona to the NCAA Division II championship three times (in 1982, '85 and '86), and it has been runner-up twice ('83 and '87), meaning that in five of the past seven years, the Broncos have finished either first or second in the nation.
Division I teams in the area, such as Southern Cal, UCLA and Cal State-Long Beach, see little reason to play Pomona because a loss—always a very distinct possibility—would affect the computer ratings that help determine NCAA Division I tournament participants and seeds. May would like to see a rule stipulating that only 25 of the 28 opponents on a Divison I school's schedule count in the power ratings, "so teams could schedule three games against any team that they want without fear of what it might do to their postseason chances," she says.
It was just a few years ago that May turned down an offer to become the coach at the University of Washington. "Sometimes I regret it because it could have been a real good situation," she says, "but I'm happy here. They treat me well, and there's no reason to leave when you have a winning program."
In her free time May sometimes works as an official at Division III games. She's so good with the whistle, in fact, that in 1984 she became the first woman to officiate an Olympic women's basketball game. So, naturally, she's more patient with refs than other coaches, right?
"No, I'm awful," says May. "I'm probably less tolerant. Some of those guys just don't hustle. If you hustle and make the wrong call, all right. But the game's beyond some of them. Some are just incapable of officiating."
Rather than take a vacation after coaching the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal in Seoul, Kay Yow plunged right into the job of rebuilding her North Carolina State team, which finished 10-17 in 1987-88, her first losing season in 12 years of coaching at N.C. State.