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Alumnus of the Year: Anthony “Tony” Garcia

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Tony Garcia leads a 140-year-old international financial services company that manages more than $25 billion in assets and employs nearly 2,000 people on two continents.

But for the seasoned executive, many of the values that shape his leadership style today can be traced back to a specific period in his youth —his experience on the campus of Delta State University in the 1980s.

“It was the perfect size university for me,” said Garcia, who received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree at Delta State in 1986. Currently, he is the president and CEO of Foresters in Toronto, Canada.

“A lot of what I learned in that kind of college experience that stayed with me was about working together as a team,” he said. “Whether it was with my fraternity brothers, on the tennis team or in study groups that would meet outside of class — the experience taught me a lot about sharing and responsibility, and about what it means to work with each other.”

Garcia, a native of Florida, went on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He has led a successful career that has included executive positions in leading insurance and financial-services companies across the United States.

Garcia began reconnecting with his alma mater several years ago. He was both surprised and humbled to learn he would be honored as DSU Alumnus of the Year.

“There was no way, back in 1983 when I made that trek from Panama City to Cleveland to pursue my degree, that I would have imagined I would ever be acknowledged like this,” Garcia said. “I feel incredibly humbled.”

He came to Delta State when he was recruited for the men’s tennis team. Gina George, a childhood friend who had played on the women’s tennis team, made the connection for him.

On campus, Garcia joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and soon found his niche.

“I met a lot of great people,” he said. Chief among them — his wife, the former Donna Ashby, who was born in Clarksdale and had graduated from Washington School in Greenville.

“For us as students, there was always something going on,” he said. “Cleveland’s a small town, but it was a terrific place to get an education.”

Tony and Donna wed soon after he finished college. Today, they have five children: Kristen, 28; Anthony, 24; Alex, 13; Ayden, 7; and Adam, 5. The chance to raise their three younger kids in a different culture was part of Garcia’s decision to take the reins at Foresters in May of 2014.

“In Toronto, we’ve experienced a very warm welcome,” he said. “Since I grew up in Florida, I have a bit of a Southern accent — not as much as my wife — but the Canadian community here has welcomed my family with such a warm embrace. We’ve found them to be very open, and to be the kind of people who welcome diversity — not only of race and religion, but also diversity of thought. It’s been a terrific move for us.”

Garcia and his family most recently lived in Cincinnati, where he was president of Western and Southern Agency Group. His previous posts include president and CEO of TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, senior vice president of HealthMarkets Inc., and senior vice president of Household International/HSBC. He also spent 11 years early in his career with Allstate Insurance Company.

According to Garcia, his success would not be possible without his wife Donna.

“Donna’s support, through all the moves and new roles, has been critical,” he said. “I could not have done this without her.”

In making the move to Foresters, Garcia was attracted by the company’s service-oriented focus.

“As a fraternal benefits society, we give back to the communities where we live and work in a significant way,” he said. “Since I’ve joined, we’ve marked the completion of the 100th playground we’ve built in North America. It’s exciting to see the fulfillment of our company’s mission to enhance family well-being for our members and their communities.”

Within the company, Garcia has spent the past few months getting to know the people who comprise Foresters across its three markets — Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He’s also been focused on working to understand the challenges and opportunities of the business, in order to better pursue a long-term strategy for its next generation of growth.

Garcia has brought to the post a transparent, authentic leadership style that has aided him in his previous positions. It’s a gift that works to rally others around his vision for a business.

“I have high expectations for myself and for others, but it’s been important to communicate those expectations in a way that’s grounded in trust,” he said. “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is how to be a good listener. And if you listen long enough, people will tell you how they want to be led.”

At the same time, he said, embracing a culture of ethics in business has helped him build trust among those he leads. The approach is so central to his leadership style, he was elected as a board member for the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services at The American College.

He has served as a keynote speaker on the topic of business ethics, and also shares his perspective with the junior executives he mentors.

“No matter what stage you areat in your career, the most important thing you can do is to judge organizations by their culture — how they make decisions and how they view ethics,” he said. “The goal is to align with an organization that shares your value system — that aligns around not just your professional goals but your personal goals as well.”

For Garcia, leading a service-oriented business like Foresters has brought those two aspects together perfectly. Yet, as he dives into this new season of his career, he is able to reflect upon the way his skills and values took root on a small campus in the Mississippi Delta.

“In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the culture of the business world was focused on individual performance,” he said. “But what I learned at Delta State was the power of working in teams and helping each other out.

“I feel like that experience of teamwork and collaboration has helped shape the sense of personal responsibility I’ve carried with me since then.”

Alumni Association announces service award recipients

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The Delta State University National alumni Association recently announced the annual Alumni Service Awards recipients. Each year, the associsation presents four service awards: the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award; the Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award; the Gladys Castles Friend of Delta State Award; and the Legacy Award.

The Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award was established to recognize outstanding service and contributions to Delta State University by an alumnus. This year’s recipient is Patrick Davis graduate of 1996.

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Davis was born in Cleveland and raised in nearby Greenville. He graduated from O’Bannon High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Delta State University. He is licensed in several areas involving property and casualty insurance, financial services, and holds various professional designations in claims and service.

Davis joined the State Farm Insurance family 19 years ago and has served in various capacities in several cities in Mississippi and Alabama. Prior to opening his agency in Cleveland, he served as an auto operations team manager in Birmingham, Ala. There, he partnered with seven other managers and was responsible for the selection, training, development, and performance management of employees who directly impacted underwriting decisions and processes in the state.

His most cherished roles are those of husband and father. Davis and his wife, Tomeka, also a graduate of Delta State in 1995, are the proud parents of 22-year-old Courtney, and 14-year-old Patrick Jr.


The Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award is given each year to an alumnus who is 36 or younger and has given outstanding service and contributions to Delta State. This year’s recipient is Will Bradham.

Bradham, the son of Joann Kersh and the late Jimmie Moore “Red” Bradham, grew up in Clarksdale. He has a sister, Celia St. Columbia, and one brother, Jim Bradham. Will attended Lee Academy before pursuing his degree in marketing from Deltas State. He is a 2001 graduate of the institution.

He participated in many activities on campus, including the president of the Catholic Student Association, president of the College Young Republicans, Student Senate, Student Alumni Association, president of the IFC and the KAPPA ALPHA ORDER, where he held the positions of scholarship, intramural and rush chair, and vice president and president.

Bradham began his career with Sysco food services in 2002, where he worked for 10 years.  In 2012, he started a non-medical home health company called Right at Home, and then opened Maid to Order Housekeeping services, both located in Clarksdale. He also recently started Bradham Rental Properties in Cleveland. He is currently with Farm Bureau Insurance of Bolivar County as an agent.

He is active in his church, Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Cleveland, where he is a past-president of the Pastoral Council. He was honored as Knight of Year in 2008 by the Knights of Columbus, and he is a former Grand Knight of the Bolivar County Knights of Columbus from 2008-2010.

In 2011 and 2013, he was named Top 40 Under 40 by the Cleveland Current, and in 2012, Delta Business Journal named him one of the Top 20 volunteers of the Mississippi Delta. He served as a board member for the Cleveland Country Club from 2008-2011 and as the Patio Division chairman for Octoberfest from 2006-2014.

Today, Bradham remains active with his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order. He has been a chapter advisor for the Delta Beta Chapter at Delta State since 2008. He was named to the Kappa Alpha Order Irwin Province Court of Honor in 2008 and has served as Deputy Province Commander since 2008. He currently serves as the Delta State University Bolivar County Alumni Chapter President.

He married his wife Lisa Sudduth ‘03, who is a nurse practitioner, in December of 2006. They have two children, Wilkes (4) and Anna Reese (1), and they reside in Merigold.


The Gladys Castle Friend of Delta State Service Award is presented to a non-alumnus who has made outstanding service and contributions to Delta State. This year’s group nomination goes to the Left Field Crew.

The Left Field Crew is comprised of a group of Delta State supporters. It started as a group of fans that set up behind left field at home baseball games, cooked out and cheered on the Statesmen Baseball team.

The crew does much more than just cheer on the Statesmen. They are involved in every facet of Delta State athletics, and they now have a presence at almost every Delta State sporting event. They also participate in various community and university events, such as the Delta State Trunk-or-Treat. The group also volunteers their time to cook barbecue for the university’s signature Pig Pickin’ event.


The Legacy Award was established to honor an alumnus who made an institutional impact on the university. This year’s recipient is May Ellen Leftwich.

Mary Ellen Leftwich, of Gunnison, is a 1939 graduate of Delta State Teachers College. She first came to Delta State in 1934 when she and her sister roomed together in Ward Hall as work-study students. She worked for Mrs. Doolittle in the Hill School Library. As an education major, she also did her student teaching in the Hill Demonstration School her last year at Delta State. While at Delta State, she was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, which was a teacher’s sorority.

After graduating from the university, Leftwich taught first grade in Houlka, before moving to Drew to teach at the Wade School for two years. She then moved to Benoit, where she taught for five years. It was in Benoit that she met her husband, Eugene Porter Leftwich Jr. They were married in 1943 in New York City before he went off to serve his country in the U.S. Army.

In 1949, she and her husband bought her uncle’s grocery store in Gunnison, the Leftwich Grocery, which they ran together. She returned to teaching in 1957 when both her children were in school. She taught sixth grade in Rosedale until retiring in 1977 after 29 years in education.

Leftwich and her late husband have two children, Ellen and Porter, three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She is a member of the Daughters of American Revolution and a member of Gunnison United Methodist Church.

In 2011, the Mary Ellen Arnold Leftwich Endowed Scholarship was established for elementary education students at Delta State. Leftwich lives in Gunnison where she still plays in a bridge club and loves to get out and ride around and return to Delta State gatherings. She is also a big sports fan and routinely stays up late watching the Atlanta Braves and college football. Since her graduation from Delta State 75 years ago, she has only missed returning to campus for Homecoming once.

The award recipients will be honored during Homecoming on Nov. 14 at the Alumni Awards Gala at 7 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House or online at www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/homecoming2014.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).



Margaret Wade: The Coach, The Teacher, The Legend

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 After a 41-year drought due to the disbandment, Delta State welcomed the sport back for the 1973-74 season and handed it over to a familiar face. With the reinstatement, Title IX and Wade would help give young women an avenue to participate in sports that had been obstructed for Margaret many years before.
Six national championship banners are hoisted in Walter Sillers Coliseum. The first trio was earned in three consecutive seasons (1975-77) in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women under the direction of Wade. In her first four seasons, Wade assembled an astounding 109-6 record for a .947 winnings percentage.
The combination of Wade and the success of her teams, Delta State fans responded to the popularity of the program by filling the Coliseum every time the Lady Statesmen played, mostly with fans Wade coached at Cleveland High School. With women’s basketball just being reinstated at DSU and the sport as a whole in its infant stages, live television was not an option. A key factor to the dynasty established was Stan Sandroni’s creation of a radio network to broadcast the games live, both on the road and at home.
Van Chancellor, former University of Mississippi head women’s basketball coach, first came in contact with Wade in his first year at Ole Miss. “I was simply in awe of her. She had already won three national championships and her teams represented the gold standard in our sport.” Chancellor reflected on the atmosphere of the packed house at Walter Sillers when his team took the floor against the Lady Statesmen in January 1979. “You saw the championship banners hanging from the rafters and that’s what you were shooting for with your teams.”
A compilation of qualities defines Wade, but those that were directly impacted by her came to a consensus that she was always calm and very even keel. Chancellor added, “I loved the way she carried herself with such grace and poise. She was so well respected and people just wanted to be in her presence. She was a tremendous lady, and it was important that her players reflect the qualities of being young ladies while also excelling on the court.” 
Long-time neighbor and coworker Langston Rogers expressed fond memories of watching collegiate women’s basketball with Coach Wade, a frequent occurrence. Rogers recalls one moment when he and Wade were watching Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols play. Wade predicted that Summitt would hold the collegiate record for coaching wins. She was right. Summitt went on to become the winningest coach in basketball history and was influenced by Wade. “Anyone that knew Margaret was touched by her life. She had a passion for teaching and a desire to win that was hard to quench.” The two women’s basketball greats share similarities in the successes of their respective programs but also in recognition. The Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball Award is given each year to a deserving candidate. Wade was the first ever recipient in 1999, with Summitt receiving the accolade over a decade later in 2013.
Rogers went on to say what the Mother of Modern Women’s Collegiate Basketball meant to the sport and the state of Mississippi. “When Title IX came along, many people who tried to increase interest in the sport looked no further than Margaret Wade. She was the perfect example needed to help overcome some of the challenges if women’s basketball was to be seriously accepted.” Courage, compassion, loyalty, trust, dedication, kindness, patience, respect, teamwork and wisdom were just a few of many qualities describing Wade’s character.
The rich tradition that was left behind by Wade after she retired following the 1978-79 season was meant to be continued by the next coach in line. Four years passed before another legendary coach took the reigns in Lloyd Clark.
Inheriting the program after its first ever losing season, Clark took over and won three NCAA National Championships in his tenure. “Looking at the banners that hang in Sillers, you can see the legacy that she started. She hung those banners when women’s basketball was just getting started and she created a lot of interest in it. I think everything that we do there today is directly through her,” Clark expressed. “I wish she was still around to see the legacy live on.”
Few people make an impact like Wade did in her coaching career. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association established the Margaret Wade Trophy in 1978 that is given annually to the NCAA’s Player of the Year. This honor is revered as the most prestigious award in women’s college basketball and regarded as the “Heisman of Women’s Basketball.” Recent recipients include Brittney Griner, Candace Parker, and Diana Taurasi, who have all had successful WNBA careers.
In the words of Lloyd Clark, the best way to describe the impact she had on the game is the Wade Trophy. “That tells you exactly what she meant to the sport. When you have the best player in the country receive an award that is named after her, that says it all.” Chancellor shared a similar opinion. “It is only fitting that the women’s college player of the year award is named for Coach Wade. She always represented what is right about college athletics, and she had a major influence in promoting the growth of women’s basketball.” Everyone knew about Margaret Wade and the Lady Statesmen, whether it be from coaching the sport or following it as a fan. “Their success helped pave the way for so many young women to participate in athletics at the highest level,” Chancellor added.
In basketball and life, limits are meant to be exceeded, goals are meant to be reached, and lives are meant to be impacted. But a legend, a legacy remains constant.
The dedication of the Margaret Wade Statue will be held at Delta State on Friday, Nov. 14 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the West Plaza of Kent Wyatt Hall.

Alumni Association names Hall of Fame inductees

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Induction into the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the Delta State Alumni Association. Established in 2007, the honor is extended to alumni and friends who have achieved professional distinction and made significant community service contributions at the local, national, and/or international level, and who have thus brought honor and distinction to Delta State University.

As part of Homecoming activities planned for Nov. 14, the Delta State University Alumni Association will recognize this year’s HOF inductees — Gary Gainspoletti ‘73, Antony Garcia ‘86, and Dr. Dwaun Warmack ‘99.

Gainspoletti graduated from Delta State University in 1973 after majoring in accounting. Following graduation, he began working at Ellis & Hirsberg, CPAs, in Clarksdale in the general practice of public accounting. From 1981-2002, he practiced and had an equity interest in the accounting firm of Barfield, Lindsey, Gainspoletti & Gladden, Ltd, where he served as managing partner. In June of 2002, Gary opened the accounting firm of Gainspoletti and Associates, CPA, LLC. This firm operates primarily in the area of income and estate planning and taxation.

While practicing in each of the above firms, he has been in a supervisory capacity in several large audit engagements. In 1986, Gainspoletti became actively involved in the quality control for accounting firms and served as a peer reviewer for the Private Companies Practice Section of the American Institute of CPAs. He has also served as an instructor for continuing education programs for CPAs that were sponsored by Delta State University.

In 1996, Gainspoletti obtained a general securities license 6, 63 and 26. Since then he has focused his practice in the areas of income and estate planning, personal financial planning and investment management. In conjunction opening his own firm in 2002, he acquired an insurance license and securities principal license Series 7 and 24 and is a Certified Financial Planner. He is a registered representative with LPL Financial in San Diego, Calif. His office in Cleveland serves as a branch office for LPL.

He is a member of the AICPA, Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and Financial Planning Association. He has served as a member on the MSCPA Board of Directors for two years and several additional committee assignments. For four years he served as an officer, including president of the Delta Chapter of CPAs.

Additionally, Gainspoletti has been very active in the community, primarily with his involvement in the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. Since 1981, he has served in several officer positions with the chamber, including a one-year term as president. He has been equally active in the Industrial Development Foundation, serving as an officer and director for five years. For the past 30 years he has been active with industrial development and retention for the IDF. In 1990, while chairman of IDF, he was awarded the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Laureate. He also has served on the Advisory Board for the Cleveland School District.

In September 1998, Gainspoletti was presented with the S.E. Kossman Chamber Award. This is the most prestigious award given each year by the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. It is presented to one person in Bolivar County who has exhibited continuous outstanding community service. Additionally, in February of 2001, he was chosen to be King of the Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball. This honor is presented to someone who has devoted time and effort to projects designed to assist and develop youth activities.

He is a past-president of the Bolivar County DSU Alumni Association, past-president of the DSU Booster Club and DSU Green and White Fund, past member of the DSU Accounting Advisory Board, past member on the DSU Foundation Board and past president of the Knights of Columbus in both Clarksdale and Cleveland.

In 2005, Gainspoletti was elected as the at-large alderman for the city of Cleveland and presently serves on the city council. He is chairman of the Finance Committee and serves on the Housing and Land Use Committee. He also served six years in the Army National Guard from 1970-1976.

Most recently, he has been actively involved as an ex-officio member and one of the foundingfathers of the Cleveland Music Foundation in the development of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

He and his family are members of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Cleveland. He has served on the Pastoral Council as president and as a board member. He was also a member of the Finance Council for several terms. For 11 years he and his wife, Jamey, were coordinators for the Catholic Youth Organization.

Gary and Jamey have two children, Presley and Russell. Presley is an occupational therapist and is married to Andy Lee and they have three girls. Russell is also a CPA, CFP and is married to Rivers Gist of Clarksdale. They have two boys and another child on the way in April of 2015. Russell has investment licenses 6 and 63 and a life insurance license. He is a member of the firm of Gainspoletti Financial Services, LLC.


Tony Garcia graduated from Delta State in 1986 after majoring in finance. He received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Garcia was appointed president and CEO of Foresters insurance provider in May of 2014. He has more than 26 years of experience in the North American life and annuity industry, most recently as president of Western and Southern Agency Group, part of a Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 diversified family of financial serves companies.

Previously, he served as president and Chief Executive Officer at TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company. His financial services industry experience also includes executive positions at Allstate, HSBC and the HealthMarkets life and health subsidiaries.

Throughout his career, Garcia has driven profitable growth and implemented transformational change in each of his roles. He brings exceptional visionary and leadership expertise to Foresters, combined with a commitment to relationship-building and communication skills.

He serves on the Board of Directors at the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services at The American College, which aims to raise the level of ethical behavior in the financial services industry. He is also on The American College’s Board of Trustees and is a former member of the Board of Directors at the American Council of Life Insurers. Garcia served on the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce’s Diverse by Design Committee, which aims to attract and retain diverse talent to the region.

He has also been active in the United Way and was a Junior Achievement volunteer teacher. Garcia will also be awarded the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award by the Delta State University Alumni Association at Homecoming.


Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1999 and master’s degree in sociology in 2000 from Delta State. Originally from Detroit, Mich., he is a graduate of Finney High School. He attended Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich. before coming to Delta State. He received his doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in higher education from Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

A student-centered, customer service oriented and transformational leader, Warmack was appointed president of Harris-Stowe State University in July of 2014. He brings more than 16 years of experience in higher education to the position. Prior to joining Harris-Stowe, Warmack became the vice president for Student Affairs in July of 2010 at Bethune-Cookman University. He accepted this position at the age of 33 — making him the youngest vice president in the school’s history. In 2013, he was promoted to senior vice president for Administration and Student Services.

Prior to his tenure at Bethune-Cookman, he was the associate dean of students at Rhodes College in Memphis, where he had oversight of student affairs areas including judicial affairs, student activities, Greek life, new student and parent orientation and multicultural affairs. While at Rhodes, he also served on the institution’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Reaffirmation Committee. Warmack has also held positions at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., and Delta State.

Warmack was the 2008 recipient of the Dr. Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus of the Year Award at Delta State. In 2012, he participated in Hampton University’s On the Road to the Presidency: Executive Leadership Summit, and in 2013, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Initiative, Preparing for the Presidency Program.

He is a change agent who has a commitment to the development of the whole student, including learning inside and outside the classroom.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be honored during Homecoming Nov. 14 at the Alumni Awards Gala at 7 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni House or online at www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/homecoming2014.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at (662) 846-4660.  To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Wade statue dedication planned for Nov. 14

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Margaret Wade’s impact on women’s collegiate athletics and the game of basketball is immeasurable. On Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., Delta State University and the Department of Athletics will dedicate a statue in honor of Wade’s indelible legacy.
“No single individual has had a larger impact on women’s athletics, especially in Mississippi, than coach Margaret Wade,” said Ronnie Mayers, director of athletics. “Her legacy lives on today through the countless young women who have the opportunity to participate and enjoy competitive sports.”
The dedication ceremony will take place at the West Plaza of Kent Wyatt Hall. Delta State President William N. LaForge will host the event, which features former presidents Dr. Kent Wyatt and Dr. Aubrey Lucas, and former Ole Miss and WNBA head coach Van Chancellor. A reception will follow the ceremony in the Leroy Morganti Atrium of Kent Wyatt Hall.
Wade served as head coach of the Lady Statesmen from 1973-79, leading Delta State to three consecutive AIAW National Championships from 1974-75 through 1976-77. During that time, Wade amassed a remarkable 157-23 record and helped pave the way for future female head coaches like Pat Summitt to excel in the sport they love.
“Her first four years back in coaching have been called one of the most amazing accomplishments in sports history,” said Langston Rogers, former Delta State and Ole Miss sports information director.
During those four years, Delta State went from having no team at all to Wade leading the Lady Statesmen to a 109-6 record and the three titles.
Wade received numerous awards during her career, including AIAW National Coach of the Year; Kellogg’s Mississippi Coach of the Year; and following her retirement, the title of “Mother of Modern Collegiate Basketball” was bestowed her by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. 

In addition to being the most recognizable name in women’s college basketball in Mississippi, the WBCA named its player of the year award after the Mississippi Delta legend. The “Lily Margaret Wade Trophy” is annually awarded to the nation’s top women’s basketball player in the NCAA. In 1978, Wade awarded the first-ever trophy to Montclair State guard Carol Blazejowski. 
In 1986, the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame made Wade the first female inductee and first female head coach to be enshrined into the hall. She is also a member of the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
A year-by-year breakdown of Wade’s career and her accomplishments at Delta State is listed below:
1973-74: 16-2
1974-75: 28-0 / AIAW National Champions 
1975-76: 33-1 / AIAW National Champions 
1976-77: 32-3 / AIAW National Champions 
1977-78: 27-5
1978-79: 21-12
Totals: 157-23 (.872)

1975 – AIAW National Champions
1975 – Inducted into MS Sports Hall of Fame
1976 – AIAW National Champions
1977 – AIAW National Champions
1977 – Kellogg’s National Coach of the Year
1978 – Wade Trophy established by WBCA
1986 – Inducted into Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame