Kathy Delaney-Smith
Kathy Delaney-Smith
Title: The Friends of Harvard Women's Basketball Head Coach
Phone: (617) 495-2214
Email: harvardwbb@fas.harvard.edu
Previous College: Bridgewater State 1971
Experience: 37th Season

The women's basketball coaches office is located in the Lavietes Pavilion (follow the driving directions to Harvard Stadium.)

Delaney-Smith By the Numbers (Entering 2019-20):
Head Coaching Tenure: 37 Seasons
Overall Record: 602-408 (.596)
Ivy League Record: 354-153 (.698)
Ivy League Titles: 11 (1986, 1988, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: Six (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007)
Women's NIT Appearances: Eight (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

The winningest head coach in Ivy League history, The Friends of Harvard Women's Basketball Head Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith will enter her 38th season with Harvard basketball in 2019-20. Delaney-Smith has put Harvard basketball on the map and expanded its reach both nationally and internationally as one of the longest tenured coaches in collegiate women’s basketball.

Delaney-Smith’s career success cannot be measured by the numbers alone - while, on their own, the numbers are impressive enough. Delaney-Smith owns a 37-year coaching record at Harvard of 602-408 with a 354-153 record in Ivy League play. Those marks include 12 20-win seasons, 11 Ivy titles, a .500 record or better in 30 of the last 31 campaigns and 15 postseason appearances. Her 602 career wins and 408 Ivy League victories are the most of any head coach - men's or women's - in the Ivy League. 

Delaney-Smith, one of four active Division I head coaches to spend 37-plus years at one institution, passed Princeton's Pete Carril (514) in overall victories during the 2013-14 season.

With Delaney-Smith leading the way, Harvard has finished lower than fourth in the Ancient Eight only three times and has finished in the top three in the league standings in each of the past 15 years, including shares of the Ivy title in 2005 and 2008 and outright titles in 2002, 2003 and 2007.

She has coached eight Ivy League Players of the Year, including three-time winner Allison Feaster ’98 and two-time recipient Hana Peljto ’04, six Ivy League Rookies of the Year and 41 first-team All-Ivy League selections. Additionally, all 21 members of Harvard’s 1,000 point club have been coached by Delaney-Smith.

Delaney-Smith’s involvement in the game on the national level has afforded her the opportunity to coach for USA Basketball three times in her career, including the honor of serving as the head coach of the contingent that won gold at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey in the summer of 2005. Coaching with Louisiana State’s head coach Pokey Chatman and Boston College mentor Cathy Inglese, a dozen of women’s college basketball’s brightest stars accomplished their mission of bringing home gold for the United States. Delaney-Smith was an assistant coach on the USA Basketball staff at the 2003 FIBA World Championship for Young Women, helping lead the U.S. to a gold medal in that tournament, as well. In 2007, she teamed up with Temple’s Dawn Staley and Holy Cross’ Bill Gibbons Jr. and coached the USA team to gold at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janerio.

Delaney-Smith has consistently fielded teams that have competed for Ivy titles and taken on formidable opponents on the national basketball scene. Under her tutelage, Harvard has evolved into one of the Northeast’s most successful programs. She has directed Harvard to all 11 of its Ivy titles, including the first in school history during the 1985-86 season. In 1996, Delaney-Smith guided the Crimson to its inaugural trip to the NCAA tournament and has brought the Crimson to the NCAAs in five seasons since.

Delaney-Smith and her Crimson team of 1997-98 will forever be the darlings of NCAA lore. The Crimson turned in one of its finest seasons with a record-setting 23-5 overall mark and the first-ever NCAA tournament victory for an Ivy League women’s basketball team with a 71-67 win over Stanford. The win halted the Cardinal’s 59-game home win streak, and the Crimson became the first No. 16-seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the history of the men’s or women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. Delaney-Smith’s squad also captured its third straight outright Ivy League title - the first Ivy team to accomplish such a feat.

Harvard has been to the postseason in five of the last six seasons, including in 2018-19 when Delaney-Smith led Harvard to advance to the WNIT, advancing to the second round for the fifth time and hosting two postseason games for the first time in program history. 

Delaney-Smith has celebrated career milestones during her recent years with the Crimson, as she earned her 600th career victory during the 2018-19 season, joining a group of just 19 active coaches in Division I with at least 600 wins. Additionally, Harvard announced the endowment of her head coach position as the Friends of Harvard Women's Basketball Head Coach this year, becoming the 23rd head coach position to be endowed at Harvard. 

The 2013-14 season was one of more milestones, as Delaney-Smith led Harvard to its 600th program victory – the first team in the Ivy League to pass the plateau – at Brown Feb. 7. Delaney-Smith recorded her 500th victory at Colgate Nov. 23 and passed Carril for most wins by an Ivy League coach.

The 2013-14 squad recorded its 11th 20-win season with a 22-8 record and became the first Ivy League program to receive an at-large berth to a postseason tournament, advancing to the second round of the WNIT for the third-straight season.  Winning its first seven games at Lavietes, the Crimson posted its second-longest home win streak in program history (22 games).  

The Crimson returned to the WNIT in 2012-13, moving onto the second round for the second consecutive season and fourth time in five years. The Crimson also posted an undefeated record under the roof of Lavietes Pavillion, 11-0, for the second time in program history and first since 1997-98.

In 2011-12, Harvard also became the first Ivy League school to pick up a win in the WNIT when it upset Hofstra, 73-71. The Crimson’s appearance in the WNIT was its third in four years and the program’s ninth trip to the postseason in 17 years. Harvard also picked up a very impressive victory over the BIG EAST’s St. John’s during the campaign, topping a Red Storm team which advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and finished the year ranked 14th by the Associated Press.

Under the direction of Delaney-Smith, the 2002-03 Harvard squad (22-5, 14-0 Ivy) won its second consecutive Ivy League title and the eighth in school history. While the year concluded with a hard-fought 79-69 loss to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it was highlighted by a school-record 16 straight wins, 26 consecutive Ivy League victories and the second undefeated Ivy season in school history.

The Crimson finished the 2001-02 season with a 22-6 overall record and a 13-1 Ivy mark. It was Harvard’s sixth 20-win season under Delaney-Smith, and its second-highest win total in school history. Delaney-Smith’s squads have finished .500 or better in 16 of the last 17 seasons.

In 2006-07, Delaney-Smith’s squad turned a frustrating 2-11 start to the season into an Ivy League championship and a NCAA tournament berth. The Crimson won 12 straight games during Ivy play en route to Delaney-Smith’s 10th conference title.

In the 1999-2000 campaign, Delaney-Smith picked up her 250th victory when she guided the Crimson to a win over Sacred Heart in the Harvard Invitational. She then became the first Ivy League women’s coach to record 150 Ancient Eight victories with a win over Dartmouth.

Delaney-Smith was named the 1996-97 Ivy League Coach of the Year after her squad recorded a perfect 14-0 conference mark and landed its second straight NCAA appearance. It was the first time in league history that a team had gone undefeated since the institution of double round-robin play in 1982-83.

Delaney-Smith came to Harvard in 1982 after compiling an incredible 204-31 record at Westwood (Mass.) High School, with an unparalleled six undefeated regular seasons and one Massachusetts state title, in addition to 96 straight wins in the regular season. While at Westwood, she coached seven Boston Globe All-Scholastic selections, as well as numerous other players who went on to play in college. She was inducted into the Westwood Hall of Fame in 1996. Prior to her arrival at Harvard, she also served as the New England Junior Olympic Basketball coach from 1980 to 1982.

Delaney Smith has received her fair share of accolades throughout her coaching career, including being named the Boston Herald-American Coach of the Year in 1978-79, and the Boston Globe Coach of the Year in 1979-80. The National High School Coaches Association selected her as Coach of the Year in 1981, and she was the first woman named to the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986. The Crimson mentor was also named to the New Agenda Northeast Hall of Fame in 1998.

A 1971 graduate of Bridgewater State, Delaney-Smith was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in October 1999. In addition, Delaney-Smith holds the distinction of being the first Massachusetts high school girl’s basketball player to score 1,000 points all while playing for her mother, the late Peg Delaney, at Sacred Heart of Newton.

In recognition of her contribution to the game, Delaney-Smith, along with Feaster, was part of the inaugural class to be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in October 2003.

In 1997, she was chosen as a “Leading Woman” by the Patriots’ Trail Girl Scout Council, which recognizes women who have succeeded in their professional and public lives. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the organization. She was also named a 1997 Newton Tab Person of the Year.

In March of 2000, Delaney-Smith received the New England Women’s Leadership Award for Sports - another testament to the lives that she has touched through her courage, talents, and accomplishments. The awards were presented by young girls of the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, who benefit from the leadership of the award winners.

Delaney-Smith was also bestowed with the prestigious Carol Eckman Award at the 2000 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) convention, held at the Final Four in Philadelphia. The award is presented annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose. The award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach who is considered the “Mother of the Women’s Collegiate Basketball Championship.”

Delaney-Smith also served as the chairperson for the Converse Coach of the Year Selection Committee and was honored by Converse as the 1998 Coach of the Year in District I.

Delaney-Smith has been recognized by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union as a “woman who has inspired other women, and has contributed to the quality of life for women and their families.” Among her civic involvements is her association with the American Cancer Society, particularly its annual “Relay for Life.” Herself a cancer survivor, Delaney-Smith has dedicated much of her spare time to spreading the word of early detection and treatment and has been the featured speaker at several fund-raisers in the Boston area for cancer research. In 2007, she received the Gildna Radnar Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated determination and hope in the face of cancer.

During the summer Delaney-Smith runs a basketball camp, Crimson Elite Weekend at Harvard.

Delaney-Smith resides in Newton, Mass.. Her son, Jared, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and currently works for Credit Suisse in New York City.