Entering her 12th year at the helm of the Toledo women’s basketball program in 2019-20, head coach Tricia Cullop has rebuilt a Mid-American Conference powerhouse.
Toledo has hung eight postseason banners in Cullop’s time patrolling the sidelines, including a 2011 Postseason WNIT championship, one MAC Championship, two MAC regular-season and four MAC West Division banners from the rafters of Savage Arena. Considering the Rockets experienced five-consecutive losing campaigns prior to Cullop’s arrival, Toledo’s turnaround has truly been a testament to her coaching ability.
Under Cullop’s guidance, the Midnight Blue & Gold has amassed an impressive 241-123 overall record and a 127-61 conference mark. Her 241 wins are the most in program history. UT is also averaging a MAC-best 21.9 wins over the last 11 seasons, tied for 38th-best in the NCAA (among 351 teams). Individually, 12 Rockets have earned All-MAC honors on 29 occasions.
Cullop, who has a 364-233 record in her 19-year coaching career, was named the Toledo head coach on April 18, 2008, becoming the ninth coach in the program’s history.
A 1993 graduate of Purdue University, Cullop received a bachelor’s degree in communications. As a four-year letterwinner with the Boilermakers, she was part of three-straight NCAA Championship teams (1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92) that won Purdue’s first-ever Big Ten championship. Cullop was a team captain in 1992-93 and a three-time academic All-Big Ten selection under head coach Lin Dunn. A 2018 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame honoree, she was named the Purdue Mortar Board Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 1993.
A native of Bicknell, Ind., Cullop was a 1989 High School All-American at North Knox High School. She was also a member of the North Squad in the 1991 U.S. Sports Festival.
Cullop, who is serving as President of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 membership years, is the daughter of the late Theodore and Jannette Cullop, and has two sisters, Tammy and Tracy.
Head coach Tod Kowalczyk has turned the University of Toledo men’s basketball program into one of the best in the Mid-American Conference during his near-decade run at the Rockets’ helm. UT’s mentor will enter the 2019-20 campaign looking to continue a run of success that has elevated the Rockets into one of the top mid-major programs in the country.
Last year, Toledo tallied the second-most victories (25) in program history, captured its second straight outright MAC West Division title and earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. In addition, the Rockets have produced a 48-18 (.727) record over the last two years, marking the most wins in back-to-back seasons in program history.
Now in his 10th year at UT, Kowalczyk has guided the Rockets to four 20-win seasons in the last six years and has posted a 129-71 win-loss mark during this stretch. In fact, the only losing season Kowalczyk has experienced at the helm of the Rockets was in his first season. UT posted a 4-28 ledger in 2010-11 before posting a 15-win improvement in Year Two and capturing a share of the MAC West Division title the following season.
Those building blocks evolved into a 2013-14 campaign that brought unprecedented success for the Rockets. UT established a school record with 27 victories that season, captured a share of its eighth league regular-season title and appeared in its eighth National Invitation Tournament.
Kowalczyk’s imprint hasn’t been felt just on the hardwood. One of the most respected coaches nationally, Kowalczyk was named the chair of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Ethics Coalition in 2018.
Prior to Toledo, Kowalczyk served as head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for eight seasons (2002-10). Kowalczyk prepared for his time as a head coach with 13 years as an assistant at five different institutions, with his final stint coming at Marquette under current Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean. Kowalczyk and his wife, Julie, reside in Ottawa Hills and have two children, Race (12) and Rose (11).