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Seton Hill women's basketball coach Labati steps down

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Seton Hill women's basketball coach Ferne Labati talks with her squad during a timeout against California (Pa.) on Nov. 25, 2012.

In 1992, Ferne Labati was voted the national women's basketball coach of the year in Division I after leading Miami to a 30-2 mark and a school-record No. 6 national ranking.

Years later, in 2005, she was fired following a 13-16 record, and she took the dismissal hard.

Eventually, Labati returned to coaching, taking the reins at Seton Hill and coaching the Griffins to a seven-year record of 117-73 before deciding to step down.

This time, though, at 67, she figured it was time.

“My coaching career has been a journey driven by my love of the game of basketball and my competitive spirit,” Labati said. “I am particularly thankful for (Seton Hill president) Dr. Joanne Boyle and (athletics director) Chris Snyder, who afforded me the opportunity to be part of the vibrant educational environment of Seton Hill University.”

Labati recently announced her retirement, effective June 30, after a 33-year college coaching career.

She led Division II Seton Hill to one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10 and was voted West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year in 2010-11.

But she is best known for her success at Miami, where she guided the Hurricanes to their first NCAA Tournament bid in 1989 and later to consecutive Big East Conference Tournament championships and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearances in 1992 and '93.

She also was voted Big East coach of the year in 1992.

In 17 years at Miami, where she is a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, Labati's teams made nine postseason appearances and produced five 20-win seasons.

Her career record of 556-399 also includes head coaching stints at Fairleigh Dickinson and Division III Trenton State.

“Seton Hill's women's basketball program has been fortunate to have been led by a coach of Ferne's caliber for the past seven seasons,” Snyder said. “She will be greatly missed as an admired colleague.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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