Head Coach Tricia Cullop
Entering her 11th year at the helm of the Toledo women’s basketball program, head coach Tricia Cullop has rebuilt a Mid-American Conference powerhouse.
UT has hung seven 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 220-111 overall record and a 116-54 conference mark. Individually, 12 Rockets have earned All-MAC honors on 27 occasions.
Cullop, who has a 343-221 record in her 18-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 is the daughter of Theodore and Jannette Cullop, and has two sisters, Tammy and Tracy.
Mid-American Conference Brilliance
During Cullop’s tenure, the Rockets have been a force in the Mid-American Conference. Cullop has led Toledo to one MAC Championship (2017), two MAC regular-season titles (2010-11, 2012-13), four MAC West Division crowns (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13) and two championship game appearances (2010, 2017).
In six of her 10 years at UT, Cullop has advanced the Rockets to at least the MAC Tournament Semifinals.
Toledo’s conference record over the last 10 seasons under Cullop is 116-54 (.682). The three-time MAC Coach of the Year is currently fifth in league history in overall winning percentage (220-111, .665) and ninth in conference winning percentage.
Home Court Dominance
Cullop and the Rockets have been nearly unbeatable in Savage Arena over the last 10 seasons, compiling a stout 124-36 (.775) ledger. UT has been even more dominant against MAC opponents on its home court, winning 69 of 89 contests (.775). Aiding Toledo’s stellar mark at home under Cullop was a 22-game winning streak over the course of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, the second-longest home unbeaten stretch in school history.
This past year, UT sported a 15-game home winning streak, the sixth-longest home unbeaten stretch in school history.
Toledo has won at least 11 home contests in eight of the 10 seasons under Cullop, including a school-record 19 victories during the 2010-11 campaign.
With the Rockets’ experiencing great success at home under Cullop, attendance numbers have skyrocketed. UT has led the MAC in attendance each of the last 10 years and seen its average figures increase significantly, ranking in the Top 30 nationally in six of the last seven seasons.
In 2017-18, Toledo led the MAC in attendance an unprecedented 28th-consecutive season and ranked No. 31 in the NCAA, averaging a league-best 3,420 fans per home game.
The Rockets drew at least 4,000 fans in four of their 16 home contests during the year, including a season-high 5,024 against Western Michigan.
The Midnight Blue & Gold also finished No. 28 (3,748) in 2011-12, No. 25 (4,012) in 2012-13, No. 24 (3,932) in 2013-14, No. 28 in 2014-15 (3,636), No. 24 (4,050) in 2015-16 and No. 27 (3,744) in 2016-17.
During its historic run through the 2011 Postseason WNIT, Toledo posted a school-record and MAC-best 7,301 fans vs. USC in the Championship Game.
The Rockets have been successful in the classroom as well as on the court under Cullop. In her tenure, 16 Toledo players have been selected Academic All-MAC on 28 occasions and a total of 31 players have made the University’s Dean’s List (3.5 GPA or higher) on 105 occasions.
Spearheading the academic surge was 2017-18 first-team Academic All-America Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott, who became only the fourth player in school history to earn this prestigious honor and first since Kim Knuth during the 1998-99 campaign. In addition, Bravo-Harriott was a school-record three-time Academic All-District 5 honoree.
Under Cullop’s tutelage, UT has posted a team grade-point average above 3.2 in 13 of 20 semesters.
This past spring, the Rockets were honored by the NCAA for ranking in the Top 10 percent of their sport in Academic Progress Rate (APR) with a perfect score of 1,000 for the four-year period from 2013-14 to 2016-17. This marked the second time in the last three years UT posted the MAC’s top APR score.
UT’s success in the classroom has also been recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for having a Top 25 team GPA in the nation. The Rockets posted a 3.443 overall GPA during the 2014-15 academic year to rank No. 18 among Division I programs.
The Midnight Blue & Gold received the award for a first time under Coach Cullop and fifth time in program history. Toledo also finished fifth nationally in 1996-97 (3.39 GPA), tied for eighth in 1998-99 (3.34), third in 1999-2000 (3.41) and second in 2001-02 (3.47).
Cullop’s Teams Excel in March
Cullop has posted a stellar 26-15 (.634) win-loss record in postseason play (12-9 in MAC Tournament, 14-5 in the Postseason WNIT and 0-1 in NCAA Championships) while patrolling the Toledo sidelines.
Two years ago, the 11th-year head coach led the Rockets to their first MAC Championship since 2001 and an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Championships.
Cullop has also guided Toledo to the Postseason WNIT on six occasions, including a spot in the ‘Sweet 16’ three imes. In addition, the Rockets have also won at least one game in the Postseason WNIT in each of their six appearances.
In 2010-11, Toledo became the first MAC basketball program to capture a national postseason tournament. UT’s historic Postseason WNIT run was capped off by a 76-68 triumph over USC in the championship game before a school and conference women’s basketball record 7,301 fans.
Cullop Also Stresses Strong Community Involvement
Off the court, the Rockets have been very active in the Toledo community during Cullop’s time at UT, helping with projects such as Habitat for Humanity, Ovarian Cancer Walk, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Sponsor a Family for Christmas.
In 2017-18, Toledo made another outstanding contribution to Toledo Dana Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio and University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living at its 12th-annual “Rockets for the Cure” game. UT raised $12,315 for cancer research, marking a ninth-straight year they collected at least $10,000.
The pink Nike jerseys that UT wore were made specially for the game. Four of the uniforms that were auctioned off after the contest went for at least $900, including a high of $1,200 for junior Mikaela Boyd.