Jennifer Alley, the first full time women’s basketball coach at UNC, has championed women since the beginning of her career. Alley worked in both the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and the NCAA as a teacher, coach and administrator. She went on to serve 13 years as the executive director for the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NAC-WAA).
Alley coached the UNC women’s women’s basketball team for nine seasons from 1977-1986. The Tar Heels claimed their first ACC Tournament Title and went on to win their first NCAA Tournament game in 1984. She led the program to four consecutive NCAA berths from 1983-86. During her time in Chapel Hill, Alley guided the Tar Heels to an overall record of 179-104.
She came to UNC from High Point, where she served as the senior women’s administrator in addition to coaching women’s basketball and volleyball teams. She also held the rank of associate professor of physical education. In addition to basketball and volleyball, she coached field hockey and tennis during the course of her career.
Alley’s dedication to athletics has resulted in numerous awards and honors. In 2020, she was awarded a Nike Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Leaders in College Sports. Alley was honored as an ACC Women’s Basketball Legend in 2009. She was named Appalachian State’s University Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2006, and also received the NACWAA’s Legacy Award at the 2010 National Convention.
By dedicating herself as a coach, teacher, mentor and friend, Alley has served as a champion for all, working tirelessly to ensure that women have a seat at the table in all aspects of sports.