Bart Brooks was introduced as the fifth head coach of Belmont women's basketball on April 25, 2017.
In short order, Brooks helped lead Belmont to its finest season in the program's NCAA history, and in so doing, orchestrated one of the greatest head coaching debuts in the history of college basketball. His 31 wins are tied for the second most ever by a true first-year head coach in NCAA history.
In 2017-18, the Bruins went 31-4 – highlighted by non-conference victories over Vanderbilt, Gonzaga and Florida Gulf Coast – to earn national Top 25 rankings from the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls and secure a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. In fact, Belmont's 111-74 victory at Vanderbilt represented the most points ever scored against the Commodore women's basketball program.
The Bruins also received top billing from the ESPNW and CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major polls.
Belmont earned a program-best No. 12 NCAA Tournament seed in the Athens, Georgia subregional, facing Atlantic Coast Conference stronghold Duke on ESPN.
Remarkably, Belmont ranked top 50 nationally in 21 statistical categories - including third in 3-point field goals made and seventh in scoring margin - and ranked first in the OVC in 19 statistical categories.
Belmont will enter the 2018-19 season riding a record 46-game Ohio Valley Conference win streak.
Brooks' decorated triumvirate of seniors - Sally McCabe, Kylee Smith and Sierra Jones - graduated as the winningest class in program history. McCabe, the OVC's career blocked shot leader, received the OVC Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award and NCAA Woman of the Year nomination for her contributions on and off the court, while Smith was named CoSIDA Academic All-America and Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Women's Basketball Player of the Year.
For his part, Brooks was named WBCA Spalding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year, TSWA Women's Basketball Coach of the Year and OVC Coach of the Year.
Point guard Darby Maggard enters 2018-19 as the NCAA Division I active career leader in 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Brooks, came to Belmont after spending the previous 11 seasons on staff at DePaul University under legendary head coach Doug Bruno. The Blue Demons made the NCAA Tournament every season of Brooks' stint, standing as one of only six NCAA Division I women's basketball programs to make 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (Connecticut, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee).
During Brooks' tenure, DePaul posted a combined 266-109 (.709) record, claiming six Big East Conference championships and advancing to three Sweet 16s (2011, 2014, 2016). In 2017, DePaul went 27-8, finishing No. 16 in the RPI and advancing to the NCAA Round of 32 before falling to National Runner-Up, Mississippi State.
All told, Brooks coached 33 All-Big East student-athletes, including each of the past three Big East Conference Player of the Year recipients (Brittany Hrynko, 2015; Chanise Jenkins, 2016; Brooke Schulte, 2017).
Annually among the nation's highest scoring teams – DePaul ranked No. 10 in scoring offense this past season – the Blue Demons have made 200 or more 3-point field goals in 16 of the last 18 campaigns. Brooks, respected in the coaching industry for his detailed scouting reports, was an integral part in DePaul ranking in the Top 25 nationally in 10 statistical categories in 2017, including fifth in 3-point field goals made, fifth in assists per game, sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio, and 12th in rebounds.
Brooks coached six WNBA draft choices – Jenna Rubino, Allie Quigley, Felicia Chester, Keisha Hampton, Brittany Hrynko, and Jessica January – the latter selected in the 2017 WNBA Draft. January was also named CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team, the first DePaul student-athlete so honored.
Along the line of academics, DePaul and Belmont mirror each other regarding a holistic approach to the student-athlete experience. The Blue Demons have made the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Team Academic Top 25 each of the past nine seasons, including the nation's second-highest team GPA in 2013 and third-highest a year ago.
Brooks began his coaching career at Barry University (FL), where he earned in master's degree in sport management.
A native of Buffalo, Wyoming, Brooks earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and health from the University of Wyoming in 2004.
He is married to the former Charlene Smith, who played five years professionally including time with the WNBA Houston Comets. They are parents to Trey and Tyler.