Courtesy: UAA Sports Information
Linda Bruns tabbed for Seawolf Hall of Fame
ANCHORAGE – Former coach Linda Bruns, who brought the Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball program to prominence in the NCAA Division II ranks, will be the lone inductee in the Seawolf Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010, athletic director Dr. Steve Cobb announced Thursday.
“Linda Bruns was a true pioneer in both UAA Athletics and collegiate women’s athletics in general,” Dr. Cobb said. “In an era when our women’s team was underfunded and often overmatched, she managed to take the program to new heights, eventually becoming one of the top Division II powers in the West. Coach Bruns built a lasting foundation that the Seawolf women’s basketball program is still building upon today. Our Seawolf Hall of Fame committee did an excellent job of identifying this worthy honoree.”
Nominations for the 2010 class were accepted through April 15. Former UAA student-athletes and teams are eligible for nomination 10 years following their last competition at UAA. Former UAA coaches and staff members are eligible five years following their university service. Volunteer contributors may be nominated at any time.
Seawolf Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by an athletic director-appointed committee consisting of UAA Athletics staff, coaches, boosters, volunteers and faculty members.
Here is a look at Bruns’ accomplishments:
When Linda Bruns took over a fledgling Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball program in 1979, the Seawolves had experienced little success and faced a daunting schedule loaded with Division I teams. By the time she left 11 years later, Bruns had turned the Seawolves into perennial winners, leaving a legacy that included 176 victories, three NCAA Tournament appearances, three conference titles, two conference coach-of-the-year awards (1986 & ’88) and the establishment of the Northern Lights Invitational. Without an NCAA or conference affiliation in the early years, the Seawolves were relegated to playing major schools such as Oregon, Washington and Montana on a regular basis, resulting in losing records in her first three campaigns. But in 1982-83, with the move to NCAA Division II status, the Seawolves earned the first of eight consecutive winning records under her leadership, followed by the first 20-win season in 1983-84. The 1984-85 campaign was UAA’s first in the Continental Divide Conference, and the Seawolves were quick to establish themselves as contenders, tying for second in the eight-team league. Led by national freshman-of-the-year Robin Graul and fellow future Seawolf Hall-of-Famer Cheryl Bishop, Bruns’ squad made more history in 1985-86 with its first CDC title and NCAA Tournament berth. In 1987-88, the Seawolves posted program-bests of 24 victories and an NCAA ‘Sweet 16’ postseason advancement – marks that would stand for 20 years – while going undefeated in their 14-game league schedule. Another 20-win season and NCAA berth ensued in 1988-89 and, despite falling short of the postseason in her final season, Bruns’ 1989-90 team pulled one of the most memorable accomplishments in Seawolf and NCAA Div. II history when it defeated Division I squads Boise State, Wake Forest and South Alabama on consecutive nights to capture the Northern Lights Invitational title. That summer, Bruns moved on to become the head coach at Northern Arizona University for three years, eventually staying in Flagstaff and entering the restaurant business there. Born in Nebraska and raised in Montana, the former schoolteacher and coach died on Oct. 16, 2008 after a battle with cancer. The Seawolf women honored Bruns by wearing her initials, “LB,” on their uniforms during their run to the 2009 NCAA Div. II Final Four.
Seawolf Hall of Fame Classes
Rick Stafford, men's basketball, 1995-97