Patricia Cage-Bibbs entered coaching to help her alma mater Grambling State University put its fledgling women's basketball program on secure ground. Twenty-five years later she is partly responsible for helping the fledgling sport of women's basketball flourish.
More importantly, she helps it flourish at the historically black college and university level. Bibbs' commitment to being the best raises the level of competitiveness among her colleagues. Bibbs' excellence first made the Southwestern Athletic Conference better through parity and now the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is benefiting.
While the MEAC's level of play has increased, the reason for bringing Bibbs to N.C. A&T had more to do with resurrecting a program that won 51 games from 1997-2005. As Bibbs enters her seventh season in 2011-12, she has led the Aggies to a 115-72 record overall and a 75-25 mark in the MEAC, as well as three MEAC regular season championship titles, a MEAC Tournament championship title, an NCAA Tournament appearance and two WNIT appearances.
She enters the 2011-12 season just 14 wins shy of 500 career victories. If she can reach that mileston this season, it would make her hte first head coach to collect her 500th victory while coaching at a Division 1 HBCU school.
The 2010-11 season saw the Aggies with their fifth straight season with a winning record, and an over .500 finish in the MEAC. The Aggies lost to Howard in the MEAC Tournament, who finished in second place.
The 2009-10 season was another historic year for the women's program. Bibbs led the Aggies to their third straight 20-win season as well as their third straight regular-season MEAC Championship. It was Bibbs' 13th career regular-season title. What followed has to be an example of Bibbs' resiliency as a head coach. She recovered the Aggies from a first-round loss in the MEAC Tournament to No. 8 seed S.C. State, to make an inspiring run through the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
In a rout, N.C. A&T defeated Wake Forest of the ACC at Wake Forest. It was the school's first-ever win over an ACC school. The Aggies followed up that win with a victory over UNC Charlotte on the road. The win made the Aggies the first historically black college or university to win two consecutive games in a postseason tournament. Despite losing to Miami to end the season in Coral Gables, Fla., the Aggies played a competitive game against the eventual WNIT runner-up.
More history was made under Bibbs during the 2008-2009 season. Bibbs' rebuilding efforts produced the fruit many Aggie fans were looking for when she led the Aggies to their first MEAC Tournament Championship in 15 years. She led the Aggies back to the top in a dominating manner as the Aggies average margin of victory in the MEAC tournament was 22.7 points. It was Bibbs' 10th conference championship.
The Aggies went on to play Florida State in the NCAA tournament, marking Bibbs' seventh appearance. The 2008-09 season also saw Bibbs lead the Aggies to a school-best 26-7 record. She won her 10th conference coach of the year honor the same season. The MEAC head coaches voted Bibbs MEAC Coach of the Year for two consecutive seasons (2008 and 2009). Bibbs also broke the school record for wins in consecutive years. In the last three seasons, Bibbs has led the Aggies to a 44-4 record in the MEAC.
History followed Bibbs in 2007-08 as well. She became the 38th active head women's basketball coach to capture 400 career wins. Bibbs' triumphs in the MEAC didn't stop there. During the 2007-08 season, Bibbs led the Aggies to a 25-8 record. The Aggies also went 15-1 in the MEAC. Bibbs' success earned the Aggies women's basketball program its first postseason appearance in 14 seasons when the Aggies were awarded an automatic bid to the WNIT.
Success is not uncommon to Bibbs, however. She holds a 486-278 record entering into 2011-12, and has coached in seven of the last 13 MEAC Tournament Championship games. She has won 64 percent of the 764 games she has coached. When facing conference opponents during her career in the SWAC and the MEAC, she has been successful 75 percent of the time. Bibbs also has 13 20-win seasons and has finished below .500 just four times in 25 previous seasons.
Numerous organizations have started to take notice. The YWCA gave her its 2008 Empowerment Award. The Black Women in Sports Foundation made her a Legends award recipient. Grambling University officials inducted her into its Hall of Fame. She was also introduced as the only female member of the Grambling Sports Legends. Recently, the SWAC made her a member of its Hall of Fame.
Bibbs took over the women's program at N.C. A&T in March of 2005, and immediately raised the expectations for a program that had not won the MEAC championship since the 1993-94 season. She won nine games her first season, and then nearly doubled that win total in her second season by leading the Aggies to a 17-13 record and a second-place finish in the conference with a 12-6 mark.
Winning has followed Bibbs wherever she has coached because of defense. She often tells her coaches when recruiting to look for not only a player's offensive prowess, but their defensive excellence as well. The defensive-minded Bibbs uses pressure in the full court and half court to ignite her offense, which usually ranks among the best in the MEAC and the nation. On offense, the Aggies have routinely ranked among the top 30 teams in the nation in scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage, won-loss percentage, steals and turnover margin.
Under Bibbs, the Aggies broke the school record for steals with 452 in 2007-08. In addition, the Aggies broke school records in wins, conference wins, points scored, points per game, assists, scoring margin, field goals made, free throws made and rebounds during the Bibbs era. Three of Bibbs' recruits at N.C. A&T - Amber Bland, Brittanie Taylor-James and Ta'Wuana Cook - are ranked in the top 6 on the school's all-time scoring list.
Before coming to N.C. A&T, Bibbs established Hampton University Women's Basketball as a MEAC power from 1997-2004. In just her first season as head coach at Hampton University, Bibbs took the Lady Pirates basketball program into uncharted waters. She inherited a young team consisting of five starting guards and guided them to a 1997-98 MEAC regular season Co-Championship with an overall record of 22-7 (16-2 MEAC).
In that same season, the Lady Pirates finished as the MEAC Tournament runners-up. During the 1998-99 campaign, Bibbs implemented her own philosophies and tactics into the Lady Pirates basketball program.
She surprised many observers by scheduling three nationally-ranked powers in Duke, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Playing the nation's best would become a staple of her future programs. During that season, Bibbs proved that her team could play and win against anyone as the Pirates finished with an 18-10 overall record, while catapulting to their second MEAC regular-season title.
Bibbs won 127 games in seven seasons as Hampton's head coach. She went 95-31 in the conference, won three tournament championships and two regular-season championships. Including her time at N.C. A&T, Bibbs is an impressive 156-54 against MEAC opponents.
Before coming to Hampton, Bibbs served as the head women's basketball coach at her proud alma mater Grambling State University in Grambling, La. During her 13-year tenure with the Lady Tigers program,
Bibbs led the Lady Tigers program to 244 victories. Out of the six SWAC titles she won at Grambling, three of them came within a four-year span. In 1996-97, Bibbs became the first coach in SWAC history to lead a team to an undefeated season (15-0) throughout conference play.
Bibbs went 138-44 against SWAC opponents, won six conference championships and eight regular-season titles. To truly understand Bibbs' coaching career and where it started, you must first go to the source of it all. Bibbs' coaching career began with successful high school stints in her home state of Louisiana. She began at Ruston High School in 1974, where she stayed three years with the Bearcats program.
In 1977, she moved to Dubach High School where she completed a six-year stay. During her six years at Dubach, Bibbs led the Hornets to six state playoff appearances. Perhaps her finest moment came in 1983 when she led the Hornets to the Louisiana State Championship, on their way to setting two Louisiana state records at the time for most points scored in tournament play. Her exceptional leadership earned her the 1981 and 1983 Louisiana High School Coach of the Year award.
Bibbs, who is also a former collegiate softball coach, is a native of Choudrant, La. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education from Grambling State University in 1972. She later went on to receive a Master's Degree in Sports Administration from Grambling State in 1977.
She is happily married to Ezil Bibbs, a former professional football player with the New York Giants. Together, the two own two successful car rental dealerships in Louisiana. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Sabrina and Satin. Bibbs also has two beautiful granddaughters via Sabrina, Dezireé and Kiana.