Southern Methodist head coach Rhonda Rompola announces retirement
After 35 years as a coach and student-athlete at Southern Methodist, head coach Rhonda Rompola will step away from SMU and from coaching at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. She has played or coached in 35 of the 40 seasons SMU has sponsored women’s basketball as a varsity sport.
“This has been an incredible journey,” said Rompola. “I want to thank my student-athletes, both past and present. I also want to thank my staff. They have been a blessing to me, and we have such a special relationship. Lisa (Dark) has coached every game with me and Deneen (Parker) has been with me for 21 of my 25 years as a head coach. To find that type of loyalty is rare. However, I’ve coached the game for 30-plus years and it’s extremely demanding of your time. I am really looking forward to spending more time with my husband and family.”
“SMU has a special place in my heart. It has given me the opportunity to coach this game I love for so many years. I want to thank President Turner, the administration and the SMU community for a wonderful experience and career.”
“Any discussion of SMU women’s basketball starts with Rhonda Rompola,” said SMU president Dr. R. Gerald Turner. “We all owe Coach Rompola a great debt of gratitude for her faithful service to the university and to her student-athletes. I know I speak for the entire SMU family when I say, ‘Thank you, Rhonda,’ for a job well done.”
Rompola is in her 25th season as head coach of the Mustangs and has an overall record of 438-314. During her tenure as head coach, she has led the Mustangs to the postseason 13 times, including seven NCAA Tournament berths (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2008), and captured five conference championships (1999, 2000, 2008, 2009 and 2013).
“For over three decades, Coach Rompola has been a constant here at SMU,” said SMU’s Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “Rhonda is synonymous with SMU women’s basketball. On behalf of our entire department, I want to thank Coach Rompola and her staff for their long-standing and unwavering commitment to our student-athletes and the SMU community.”
The Mustangs are currently 12-14 and 7-8 in American Athletic Conference play. They face top-ranked UConn on Wed. Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.ET. The game will be televised on ESPN 3 adn SNY. SMU will honor Rompola after the team’s final home game on Feb. 27, when the Mustangs host Houston at 3 p.m. ET.