Think of Washington women's basketball and you must think of Sunny Smallwood, who begins her 11th year in the Husky program. In her eighth season on June Daugherty's staff, she has played an integral part in Washington's fixture as a national power on the women's basketball map.
During her 10-year tenure, Smallwood has helped direct the Huskies to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including the regional semi-finals in 1995 and the Elite Eight in 2001. In nine of her 10 years, the Huskies finished in the top five of the Pac-10 Conference, with a runner-up mark in 1995 and a share of the conference title in 2001.
A veteran among Pac-10 Conference assistant coaches, Smallwood was on former Husky coach Chris Gobrecht's staff from 1993-96 and was hired back by Daugherty as the defensive and recruiting coordinator.
Her first season on Gobrecht's staff saw the Huskies finish with a record of 21-8 and an appearance in the NCAA second round. The following year, they posted a 25-9 mark after advancing to the regional semi-final. Over the last seven years, under Daugherty, the Huskies have gone to postseason play six times, culminating in the 2001 Elite Eight game. In all, Smallwood has seen Washington amass a record of 184-116 under her guidance.
Several of her players have earned regional all-America honors during their careers, along with numerous Pac-10 accolades for both basketball and academics. A Husky player has been on the Pac-10 First Team every year but one during her tenure.
In addition to her instruction on the court, Smallwood's reputation is built on her success as Washington's recruiting coordinator. Highly respected around the state and the nation as one of the top women's basketball recruiters, she is a tireless worker, known for her sincerity, in selling the program to high school players and their families.
Smallwood's networking efforts have resulted in a virtual Who's Who of Washington basketball. Names like Jamie Redd and Amber Hall, UW's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, respectively, dot the list. Megan Franza. LeAnn Sheets, Loree Payne, Andrea Lalum and Giuliana Mendiola are among those who have earned Pac-10 accolades. Keeping the Northwest-area players at home has become a benchmark of the Washington program with nearly all incoming players over the last seven seasons from the region. The 2004 freshmen class includes Dominique Banks and Maggie O'Hara, the players of the year from California and Idaho, respectively, in addition to standouts Cameo Hicks (California) and Breanne Watson (British Columbia).
Under Smallwood's guidance the Washington recruiting base has reached an international level as well, luring such standouts as Laure Savasta from France and Amber Hall from Canada, both of whom have gone on to play on their country's national teams, to the Seattle campus.
Smallwood's first foray into collegiate coaching was at the Division I level, when she joined the Washington State staff as an assistant coach in 1990. Her first year saw the Cougars earn their first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament when they finished the regular season with a record of 18-10.
At WSU, Smallwood worked with head coach Harold Rhodes and in addition to her on-court duties, played a major role in every aspect of running the Division I program, including scheduling, team travel and budget, while also sharing recruiting responsibilities. She was Director of WSU Summer Camps as well.
She joined WSU's staff after seven years as the head coach of the Boise (Idaho) High girls' basketball team. During her tenure, Boise had three 16-win seasons and enjoyed state tournament appearances in 1986 and 1989. While at Boise High, Smallwood also served as head volleyball coach for one season, assistant volleyball coach for three years and was also an assistant track coach.
Smallwood played Division I college basketball at Boise State and was the starting point guard and off-guard for the Bronco's from 1979-83. She was honored as Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on three separate occasions while playing for coach Connie Thorngren. Smallwood was a consistent performer in the classroom as well, compiling a 3.49 cumulative grade point average during college. She was a two-time Mountain West All-Academic first-team selection. Smallwood graduated in 1983 with a degree in elementary education.
Born in Deadwood, South Dakota, Smallwood attended high school in Price, Utah, where she was an all-around star at Carbon High, earning 16 letters and graduating with a 3.94 GPA.
Smallwood, who constantly preaches the family-atmosphere of Husky basketball, comes from a close-knit family, all of whom are ardent Husky basketball fans. She has two brothers, Kelly and Ray, and a sister, Tana. Her mother, Theda Smallwood, is a frequent fan at Husky games home and away, traveling from Boise. Smallwood's father passed away in 1999.
In addition to her coordinator duties at Washington, Smallwood, is a veteran assistant coach with responsibilities in nearly every aspect of the Washington program. She is active in the Seattle community as a public speaker, involved with several mentor groups and coordinates the chapel and non-denominational team bible study. An avid outdoorswoman, Smallwood loves to workout and enjoys running, rollerblading, hiking and swimming.
She is a regular participant in the UW Alumni Golf Tour and in July, 2002 completed the 200-mile Seattle to Portland Bike Ride along with June Daugherty.