San Jose, Calif. – San José State University and women's basketball head coach Jamie Craighead agreed on a new five-year contract that will keep Craighead at the helm of the Spartans through the 2020-21 season. Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier made the announcement Thursday.
"I am thankful for the opportunity to coach our student-athletes and for the support from our Athletics Department and University administration,” Craighead said. “This extension allows me and my coaching staff to continue to build on the foundation that has been laid. As we move forward, we will continue to grow as a program, both on and off the court. Our goals remain the same; developing outstanding young women, both in the classroom and in the community, while striving to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West Conference.”
Under Craighead’s guidance San José State women’s basketball is reborn. In each of her first three years at SJSU, Craighead’s teams increased its number of conference wins and where they have finished in the Mountain West standings; from five wins and tenth place in 2013-14 to seven wins and eighth place in 2014-15 to 11 wins and fourth place in 2015-16.
Since the Spartans began competing in NCAA women’s basketball in 1983-84, Craighead’s 39 overall victories, 23 conference victories and three consecutive double-digit winning seasons are the best three-year stretch to start a Spartans’ women’s basketball coaching career.
When her 2015 the team reached the semifinals of the Mountain West Championship Tournament, it marked just the second time in the 42-year history of the program that the team advanced that far in a conference tournament. In addition, the Spartans’ 15 overall wins were the most since 2004-05.
Last year, San José State was chosen to finish in eighth place in preseason polling, but posted an 11-7 record in Mountain West play, its first winning conference record since the 2004-05 season. The team finished one win shy of the program’s single-season record for league victories. During a five-game conference-win streak, SJSU won three straight road games. The Spartans recorded their first in Fresno since 2001-02, first victory at Utah State in Logan, Utah, since the 2005-06 season, and first road win at the University of Wyoming.
“Jamie has done an outstanding job since she has been here and she has earned this contract extension,” Bleymaier said. “We are excited to have her on board as a Spartan for the next five years.”
Craighead’s teams have set and then broken the program’s record for points scored in a season, which currently stands at 2,511. In 2014-15, San José State set a Mountain West Conference single-game record when the Spartans scored 119 points in a win over Columbia.
The 2013-14 squad established single-season marks for free throws attempted (726) and made (493), and three-pointers attempted (793) and made (245). In 2014-15, the Spartans set new marks for three-pointers attempted (872) and made (271), assists (501) and total field goal attempts (2,262).
For their play on the court Craighead’s athletes have earned eight conference postseason awards, including Dezz Ramos’ 2016 Mountain West Newcomer of the Year and Riana Byrd’s 2016 Mountain West Sixth Player of the Year.
With the success on the court, the team is just as successful in the classroom. Craighead’s players have earned 27 conference academic awards, both Academic All-Mountain West Mountain West Scholar-Athlete honors. Her players have garnered five institutional academic awards, three Dean’s Scholar and two President’s Scholar designations. Four players have been recognized nationally as Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sport-Scholar Award winners and one with a first-team Capital One Academic All-District VIII honor. Two players in the last two years, Ta’Rea Cunnigan, the school’s all-time scoring leader and Emily Vann graduated with Magna Cum Laude academic honors.