Legendary Coach Named Alumni Award Recipient

January 15, 2021


Tall, slender man with white hair stands in a gymnasium holding a basketball net
Joe Lombard

PLAINVIEW – Joe Lombard, a 1975 graduate, will be honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by Wayland Baptist University during its spring Homecoming celebration. While the weekend is mostly a virtual affair, the awards presentation will premiere online on Friday, Feb. 19, when it would traditionally have been offered.

Lombard is a legend in Texas high school sports circles, retiring in 2020 after a 42-year girls’ basketball coaching career that boasted a 1,379-133 record. He came to Wayland to play basketball from Indiana, then entered coaching after graduation. In his first year of coaching at Nazareth High School, he led his team to the state title. At retirement, he had racked up 19 state championships between Nazareth and Canyon High, where he coached for 35 years – a record for the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL).

Over his storied career, Lombard has been duly honored many times. He was awarded the Texas UIL Excellence Award in 2003 and the 2015 Morgan Wooten Special Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was named the 2003 USA Today Coach of the Year, the 2003 WBCA National High School Coach of the Year and the 2011 Max Preps National Coach of the Year.

He was inducted into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007; the Texas Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008; the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016; and the National High School Hall of Fame in 2017. He will be inducted into the Texas Panhandle Hall of Fame in 2021. There are only 18 undefeated teams in the history of Texas girls’ basketball, and Coach Lombard led four of those. His teams never missed the playoffs.

Lombard shares his coaching prowess with wife Babs, who earned her WBU degree in 1973 and spent a career in education as well. The two were recognized in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd for winning state the same year at two different schools. He and son Tate, who succeeded him as head coach at Canyon, have won state twice in the same year. He also has a daughter, Lindy, and three grandsons.

“If you follow girls basketball in Texas at all, you know the name Joe Lombard for his incredible success on the court. But off the court, Joe is a humble and hard-working man who took the talents God gave him and used it to influence the lives of hundreds of young women over a storied career,” said Teresa Young, director of alumni relations at WBU. “His career record is simply unbelievable, but his love for young people is what really sets him apart. We are so proud he is part of the WBU alumni family and beyond proud to present him with the Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Wayland honored Lombard previously with the inaugural Harley Redin Coaches Award in 2000 and inducted him into the Athletics Hall of Honor in 2017.

The recorded awards presentation will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, on the alumni YouTube channel with access through the homecoming website, located at www.wbualumni.com/homecoming. The video will remain on the YouTube channel for later viewing as well.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards annually recognize individuals who make a distinctive contribution to their profession, serve in exemplary leadership roles in their community and/or demonstrate a strong loyalty to Wayland through service or giving. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award is for alumni under 35, and the Distinguished Benefactor Award honors a faithful donor to the university. More information can be found on the alumni website at www.wbualumni.com.

In addition, an Alumnus of the Year is chosen by previous Distinguished Alumni Award winners, including the winner for each external campus across the Wayland system. That winner will be announced during the awards presentation in February.

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