Lieberman-Cline To Receive Undergraduate Degree From ODU On May 6
NORFOLK, VA. (May 5) - Nancy Lieberman-Cline, a three-time kodak All-American and two-time Wade Trophy winner who led the Old Dominion University women's basketball program to back- to-back national titles in 1979 and 1980, will return to her alma mater Saturday, May 6 to walk in the graduation ceremonies as a member of the class of 2000 at 9:30 a.m. at Foreman Field.
Lieberman-Cline, the general manager and head coach of the WNBA's Detroit Shock, completed the requirements this spring for a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
"This might be one of the most exciting moments of my life. As an athlete you accomplish certain things, and as a business person you accomplish things, but there was one void in my life and that was not having my degree," said Lieberman-Cline, who is a member of both the Naismith Basketball and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. "I am excited about having the opportunity to walk in the graduation ceremonies."
Lieberman-Cline's impact on the women's basketball program at Old Dominion is still felt today. A native of Far Rockaway, NY., she was a highly recruited high school star who earned a silver medal in 1976 as the youngest member of the US Olympic team. She led the Lady Monarchs to two straight AIAW national titles, and still holds the University record in career assists. She is the only two-time winner of the Wade Trophy, presented annually to the nation's top women's basketball player, and was also awarded the Broderick Cup, as the top female athlete in all women's collegiate sports in 1980.
"Nancy's commitment to playing professional basketball and her sports business goals were a high priority after her four sseasons at Old Dominion, "Said athletic director Jim Jarrett. "Her estremely busy schedule prevented her from finishing with her classmates, but she has always valued her education and wanted to complete her degree. With her national visibility, this will only enhance Nancy's ability to promote the importance of education for athletes."
Lieberman-Cline was drafted by the Dallas diamonds of the Women's Basketball League in 1980 and became the personal trainer for tennis star Martina Navratilova in 1981. She resumed her playing career in 1986 when she became the first women ever to play in a men's professional league as a member of the Springfield, Mass., sqsuad of the United States Basketball League. The following year she joined the Washington Generals, the long time opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1991, wh completed her first book, "Lady Magic: The Nancy Lieberman-Cline Story" and later co-authored a second book, "Basketball for Women", with ESPN/ABC commentator Robin Roberts.
For the last 17 years, Lieberman-Cline has also worked in broadcasting, covering such events as the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, NCAA Final Fours, and has served as color analyst for numerous women's basketball games.
"I speak to so many children each year about education and I wanted those young people to know how important it is to have your degree. We can't all be olympians and All-Americans, but everyone has the opportunity to complete their education," Lieberman-Cline said. "I wanted my son to be able to say that his mother graduated from college , and now he can."
Nancy and her husband Tim, a former player with the Washington Generals and the Continental Basketball Association, live in Detroit with the 5-year old son, T.J.