CLEVELAND, March 31, 2007 -- Continuing the WNBA's tradition of honoring inspirational leaders in all walks of life, the league announced the creation of the WNBA Inspiring Coach Award, designed to honor coaches who have positively influenced athletes across numerous levels and whose achievements leave an indelible mark on sports as a whole.

Retired University of Texas Women's Basketball Head Coach, Jody Conradt has been named the inaugural recipient of the award, in recognition of her profound impact on female athletes and her demonstrated commitment, passion and dedication to work, family and community. A Naismith Hall of Famer and six-time National Coach of the Year, Conradt coached a total of 38 years in the college ranks, including 31 years at Texas, before she retired on March 12, 2007, with an impressive 900 wins, making her the second all-time winningest coach in collegiate men's or women's basketball history.

Conradt's influence resonated on and off the court, as she not only taught basketball to talented student-athletes, but played a primary role in helping them develop discipline and leadership qualities that serve them in a positive manner well beyond their basketball careers.

"The accomplishments of Coach Conradt's players are a testament to her success as a teacher and a mentor," said WNBA President Donna Orender. "She has inspired a generation of female athletes who have competed on the highest levels and embody the values and spirit of their great coach."

A special presentation of the award was held at the annual WNBA/WBCA Party celebrating coaches and their dedication to the development of women's basketball, on Saturday, March 31, at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland.