A member of six previous USA Basketball coaching staffs and the 2011 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year, George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti was named on March 14, 2018, as an assistant coach for the 2018 USA Basketball Women's National Team.
She will begin working with the USA National Team during its April 24-26 training camp in Seattle and return in September to aide USA head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina) through the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Rizzotti has extensive experience with the USA National Team. She served as a court coach during the 2017 USA National Team’s training camp in California, and was an advance scout/court coach for the gold-medal winning 2016 U.S. Olympic Team and 2014 USA World Cup Team. Rizzotti also served as court coach during various USA National Team training camps from 2014-16. She began coaching with USA Basketball as an assistant for the 2006 USA U18 National Team that claimed gold, and as a head coach led the 2010 USA U18 National Team and 2011 USA U19 World Cup Team to gold medals. As an athlete, Rizzotti was a member of the 1996 USA R. William Jones Cup that earned the gold medal with a 9-0 slate.
“I’m thrilled to be named to the USA National Team staff,” said Rizzotti, whose GW squad captured the 2018 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament title and enters the NCAA Tournament with a 19-13 record. “It’s an honor not only to work with Dawn, Cheryl and Dan, but also with the best basketball players in the world, in this opportunity to help USA Basketball win another World Cup.
“I gained a lot of great experience while working very closely with Dawn in preparing scouts for the 2016 Olympics. I’m familiar with her style, and I feel I’ll be a good asset going forward with the team’s preparation. Also, having played in the WNBA and worked as a scout for the USA National Team from 2014-16, I am familiar with how the players like to handle the condensed training opportunities we have leading up to competition.
“I’ve always been fortunate to have great people on my college staffs who have held down the fort in the past while I’m away. I feel confident that this will be not only a growth opportunity for me, but a chance for my staff to grow and help prepare our team to win its next championship.”
Rizzotti completed her first season at George Washington in 2016-17 with a 20-10 slate, including 13-3 in the Atlantic 10 for a share of the A-10 regular season title, and earned a berth in the WNIT.Rizzotti was named the 10th head coach of GW women's basketball on April 15, 2016. She spent the previous 17 seasons as the head coach of the University of Hartford Hawks, where she built a conference powerhouse in taking the Hawks to all six NCAA appearances in program history, winning a pair of NCAA Tournament games, and distinguishing herself as the all-time winningest coach in America East Conference history.
Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, Rizzotti is well-known in basketball circles around the world. After taking control of a Hartford program that went 8-19 in the year before she was hired and that had never won more than 15 games prior to her arrival, the Hawks enjoyed 11 seasons with more than 15 victories in her tenure and won at least 20 games seven times.
Following the 2009-10 regular season, Rizzotti was named a finalist for the Kay Yow National Coach of the Year award after leading Hartford to a school-record 20-game winning streak, a perfect 16-0 record in conference play and the program's first-ever national ranking.
In all, Rizzotti compiled a record of 316-216 (.594), including 183-97 (.654) in America East play, and won five conference championships and four regular-season titles. She was named America East Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2010) and developed three dozen all-conference players, including a pair of America East Players of the Year, an America East Defensive Player of the Year and an America East Rookie of the Year, as well as the program's first-ever WNBA draftee.
As a student-athlete at the University of Connecticut, Rizzotti first vaulted into the national spotlight as the starting point guard for the Huskies' first national championship team in 1995 with an undefeated 35-0 record. During the run to the national title, Rizzotti was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
A former All-American and the NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player after her junior and senior seasons, in 1996 Rizzotti virtually swept the postseason awards as Big East Player of the Year, Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Associated Press Player of the Year, the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the Wade Trophy winner.
Rizzotti graduated as UConn's career leader in assists (637) and steals (349) and still ranks second all-time in those categories.
As a coach and formerly as a student-athlete, Rizzotti's focus on academics has always been exemplary. Under her guidance, Hartford was ranked among the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Academic Top 25 teams on three occasions. Another accolade from her playing days was awarded in June 2016 when the two-time Academic All-American and 1996 Academic All-American of the Year was officially inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Rizzotti played eight seasons of professional basketball following her graduation from UConn in 1996. In addition to five seasons in the WNBA - two with the Houston Comets and three with the Cleveland Rockers - she competed for three seasons with the New England Blizzard in the American Basketball League. In the ABL she was a two-time All-Star.
Rizzotti and her husband, Bill Sullivan, have two sons, Holden and Conor.