Jim Flanery is in his sixth season as Creighton's head coach and his 16th straight season on the Bluejay bench. The first five years of the Flanery era have seen the coach bring continued success to the University which he has spent over half of his life affiliated with. Over the past five seasons, the Bluejays have appeared in the postseason WNIT three times, captured a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship, played in the MVC Tournament championship game, made two appearances in the postseason WNIT Final Four and captured the first postseason national championship in school history by winning the 2004 WNIT.
Individually, he became the winningest rookie coach in school and league history with 24 wins during the 2002-03 season. The 48 wins his teams compiled during his first two seasons with the Bluejays has never been topped in MVC history.
The Bluejays played in the WNIT in each of Flanery's first three seasons, moving Creighton's streak of postseason appearances to four consecutive years - a school record. The Jays notched 24 wins in both of his first two years as head coach to continue a trend the 2001-02 squad started, becoming the first team in league history to record three straight seasons with at least 24 victories.
His teams have also been some of the best to put on the Bluejay uniform, setting numerous school records. The Jays established a school record for blocked shots in Flanery's first campaign, only to be out-done by the 2004-05 squad. That 2004-05 team also became the most accurate free-throw shooting team in school history, shooting 75.3 percent from the line. During his first two years, the Bluejays set school records for three-point field goals made.
Creighton has proved to be a national power under Flanery's guidance, ranking among the NCAA elite during his tenure. In 2005-06, the Jays ranked 22nd in the country, making 6.7 three-point field goals per game. In 2004-05 the Bluejays ranked in the top-25 in the NCAA in points per game, three-point field goals per game, fewest turnovers per game and free-throw shooting. The Jays received votes in the final USA Today/ESPN poll in 2003-04, along with ranking third in the NCAA in three-point field goals per game and 11th in fewest turnovers per game. Creighton ranked among the top-30 in the nation in three-pointers per game, steals per game, fewest turnovers per game and points per game during the 2002-03 season.
Flanery's engaging personality and exciting coaching style have made the Bluejays increasingly visible in the community. The Jays have compiled an impressive 49-19 record at home and made the Omaha Civic Auditorium their permanent residence since Flanery took over the program. Fans have responded to the success and set single-game and average attendance records. The top two home crowds and six of the top-10 crowds in school history have come during Flanery's reign, while fans set an average home attendance record in 2002-03.
Last year the Bluejays rebounded from a slow start against an always-tough non-conference schedule to post a winning record over their final 25 games and advance to the MVC Tournament title game. Establishing a bright future for the Bluejays was the freshman duo of Megan Neuvirth and Sam Schuett. Neuvirth was tabbed the MVC Newcomer of the Year after leading The Valley in steals, while Schuett was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team.
The 2004-05 season witnessed Flanery engineer a 19-10 campaign and a third straight invite to the WNIT. The Jays' remained among the MVC's best by tying for a second-place finish at 13-5 in conference play. An eight-game winning streak during the heart of the season was Creighton's longest in the Flanery era and the Jays were a perfect 3-0 against Big 12 teams.
Flanery and the Bluejays concluded the 2003-04 season by claiming the first national postseason tournament title in school history, capturing the WNIT Championship. Their 5-0 run through the postseason was capped by a 73-52 rout of UNLV at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. Creighton arrived at the championship by clinching two road victories, topping two Pac-10 teams and cruising through three home games. The Jays became the first team from the MVC to win the WNIT. Flanery's team set a then WNIT record by making 44 three-point field goals, while also shooting an impressive 89.9 percent (71-for-79) from the free-throw line in the event.
He posted the best rookie season by a head coach in school and Valley history in 2002-03, as he guided his Bluejays to their second consecutive MVC regular-season title and a WNIT semifinal appearance. After serving as the Bluejays' top assistant coach for the previous decade, Flanery tallied a 24-9 overall record in his first season at the helm, 13-5 in The Valley.
His 24 wins surpassed his predecessor, Connie Yori, for the most successful rookie coaching campaign in school history. His win total also made him the most successful first-year coach in conference history, topping Lisa Stone's 23 wins at Drake in 2000-01. He would then tie Stone, following the 2003-04 season for the best two-year start in league history, with 48 victories.
Individuals have excelled under Flanery's mentoring, as Laura Spanheimer earned MVC Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and became the first player in league history to be named to the all-defensive team four times. Spanheimer also twice earned WNIT All-Tournament recognition. Christy Neneman was tabbed the 2004 WNIT Most Valuable Player and the 2003 MVC Player of the Year under Flanery's watch.
He has also guided one of the top academic teams in the nation during his stint at Creighton, beginning as an assistant coach in 1992. The Jays' team grade point average has ranked in the top 10 nationally four times since 1992, while ranking 19th in the NCAA in team GPA and earning WBCA Academic Top 25 Team recognition twice in the past four years. Sixteen first-team MVC scholar-athletes have played for Flanery, including two academic All-Americans, while both Spanheimer and Dayna Finch earned MVC Prairie Farms Scholar Athlete of the Year recognition.
Flanery is no stranger to Creighton basketball, now in his 16th consecutive season with the Bluejay women's basketball program. A 1987 Creighton graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy, he was a member of the Bluejay men's basketball team from 1985 to 1987. He was also a member of the Creighton golf team during his four-year collegiate career.
Flanery was handed the reins to his first head coaching position on July 19, 2002, four weeks after Yori's resignation. He is the sixth head coach in women's hoops history at Creighton, and just the third since 1980. He succeeded long-time coaching partner, Yori, who he had been on staff with since his graduate assistant days at CU in the late 1980s.
Following his graduation, Flanery joined current Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen's Bluejay coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the 1987-88 season. He remained on the women's basketball staff through the 1989-90 season, before heading to Loras College for the 1990-91 season.
Prior to the 1990-91 season, Yori was named head basketball coach at Loras College and hired Flanery as her assistant. At Loras, Flanery helped the Dubuque, Iowa, school to a two-year 25-25 record. In 1991-92, the Duhawks finished with a 15-10 record, the program's first winning season since 1986-87.
When Yori was tabbed as the head coach at Creighton prior to the 1992-93 season, Flanery once again joined forces with Yori to continue the winning tradition Rasmussen had established at CU. As Yori's top assistant, Flanery and the Bluejays notched a 170-115 record in a 10-year span. The Jays made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and earned one invite to the WNIT with Flanery on the sidelines as an assistant.
During his tenure as an assistant at Creighton, the Jays produced 20 all-Missouri Valley Conference athletes, including two Most Valuable Players - Carrie Welle (1997) and Christy Neneman (2002). The Jays also produced two freshmen of the year, two newcomers of the year and one defensive player of the year during that 10-year span.
Flanery, 42, is originally from Guthrie Center, Iowa, where he starred on the basketball, baseball and golf teams at Guthrie Center High School.
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