Ellis Near Top Of Hoops Heap In Wins


ST. LOUIS – Maryville University women’s basketball coach Chris Ellis is now ranked among the winningest active women’s basketball coaches in NCAA Division III. Ellis ranked 50th with a .681 winning percentage on the latest list that was released earlier this month.

In six years at the helm of the Saints women’s basketball program, Ellis has led his squad to a record of 109 wins and 51 losses. After experiencing some growing pains in his first two years with records of 8-17 and 10-15, respectively, Ellis has turned the program into a regional and national contender.

The Saints currently have a 60-game regular season conference win streak in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). Maryville’s turnaround began in 2003-04 when the women’s squad posted a 23-3 record, claimed their first conference championship and made their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Since then, the Saints have recorded three more consecutive regular season conference championships, two conference tournament championships and two more appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Ellis’ 2005-06 squad went 24-5, marking the most wins in school history. That team also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to being named the SLIAC Coach of the Year for the past four years (2003-07), Ellis has coached one SLIAC Player of the Year, two SLIAC Newcomers of the Year and 14 All-Conference players. Ellis and his squad open the 2007-08 season on Friday, November 16, at the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament hosted by Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. The Saints will face Robert Morris College-Springfield in an 8 p.m. game in the opening round of the tournament.

Southern Maine’s Gary Fifield topped the list of active coaches ranked by winning percentage. In 20 years he has led Southern Maine to a .863 winning percentage with 516 wins and only 82 losses. Other area coaches that made the list include Nancy Fahey of Washington University-St. Louis. Fahey ranked third with a .854 winning percentage.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.