Gail Striegler enters her eighth season at the helm of the Golden Knights' women's basketball team. Since Striegler became head coach on June 21, 1999, UCF has posted an overall record of 98-106, gone 74-54 in conference play and finished five of the last six seasons with double-digits in victories. She also guided the team to three Atlantic Sun Championships, earning A-Sun Coach of the Year honors in both 2003 and 2005.
When the Golden Knights celebrated their first season in Conference USA in 2005-06, they did so in front of a record crowd of 1,182 fans that attended the team's first nationally televised game, a 51-46 win over UTEP. Shelby Weber became the 15th player in UCF history - the sixth in Striegler's tenure - to grab 500 rebounds in her career.
Off the court, the Golden Knights were named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division I Academic Top 25. The players combined for a team grade-point-average (GPA) of 3.335 during the 2005-06 academic year, which ranked them 16th in the nation. They were the only Conference USA team to make the WBCA's list. The squad also posted the most improved grade-point-average among the UCF athletic teams, going up over half a point, and 10 individuals earned C-USA academic honors with GPA's of 3.0 or better.
During the 2004-05 season, UCF finished with a 19-10 mark. The Golden Knights also captured the A-Sun title for the third consecutive season after posting a 16-4 mark in conference action. Striegler was named A-Sun Coach of the Year, while Celeste Hudson was named first team all-conference and Ali Roberts was named to the second team. Hudson was also chosen as the inaugural A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2003-04, Striegler led UCF to a 17-13 overall record. The team tied for the A-Sun regular season championship and finished runner-up in the conference tournament. Two players earned postseason awards under Striegler as Hudson grabbed first-team all-conference, and Takira Allen received second-team all-conference accolades. Hudson and Roberts were both voted to the 2004 A-Sun All-Tournament team.
The Golden Knights earned their first A-Sun title in 2002-03 after compiling a 19-11 overall record and a 13-3 A-Sun mark. The performance gave Striegler her first A-Sun Coach of the Year recognition. Shayla Smith was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team following the season. Erin Paige and Hudson were both named to the A-Sun All-Tournament team.
In 2001-02, she led the squad to a 17-13 overall record with wins over Kansas, Georgia State, Campbell and Belmont. At the end of the season, UCF was ranked 20th in the nation in three-point shooting percentage and blocks per game, while Roberts and Jessica Scala earned post-season conference honors.
During 1999-2000, her first season at the helm, Erin Paige was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team. The following year, UCF led the A-Sun in three-point field goal percentage. Adrienne Billings was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team, while LaToya Graham earned A-Sun Third Team All-Conference honors.
Success has followed Striegler throughout her career as a player at the University of Central Arkansas and as an assistant coach at Northwestern State (La.) and Stephen F. Austin.
"I have learned something from every place I have been whether I was a player, assistant coach or head coach," says Striegler. "For me, it's important that I always have the desire to expand my knowledge of basketball. If you lose that desire, you lose your edge."
A native of Fayetteville, Ark., Striegler spent five years at Stephen F. Austin as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. During her tenure at SFA, the Ladyjacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times (1994, `95, `96, `97 & `98), including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1996. A highly respected recruiter, Striegler's 1998 recruiting class was ranked 13th by Women's Basketball Journal and Blue Chip Report, while her 1997 class was ranked 17th by the Blue Chip Report. She also signed and coached numerous All-Americans while at SFA.
One of her many responsibilities as the top assistant included academic monitoring of players. The Ladyjacks maintained an 80-percent student-athlete graduation rate while Striegler was at Stephen F. Austin. She was also in charge of public relations, helping boost the Ladyjacks' attendance among the nation's Top 25 in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
Prior to her stint at SFA, Striegler was the first assistant coach at Northwestern State for three seasons. During her time there, the Lady Demons amassed a 65-16 mark, earned a WNIT bid in 1992 and compiled three consecutive 20-win seasons.
Striegler began her coaching career in 1990 at the University of Arkansas as a graduate assistant in charge of on-court workouts as well as on-campus recruiting and public relations. At Arkansas, Striegler was part of a team that posted a 28-4 record en route to winning the Southwest Conference regular season and tournament championships and advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
As a student-athlete, Striegler was a member of the Central Arkansas women's basketball team, earning All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference honors in 1988-89. She was inducted into the UCA Hall of Fame in the fall of 2006.
Always a standout on the court, Striegler was named MVP for Fayetteville High School during the 1985 Arkansas AAAA Championship and was twice selected as an all-state honoree.
Striegler holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology from Central Arkansas and a master of science degree in kinesiology from the University of Arkansas.
An active member of the community, Striegler has volunteered for a variety of organizations, including the March of Dimes, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Hoops for Scholars and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.