Throughout the past four decades, the name Betty Wiseman has become synonymous with Belmont University and women’s basketball. A native of Portland, Tennessee, Wiseman put together a standout prep career at Portland High School.
Beginning as an eighth grader, she started every game and led her team in scoring for five years. After averaging over 30 points per game as a senior, she was recruited by John Head of Nashville Business College to play for the defending National & World AAU Champions.
However, Wiseman turned down the offer to attend Belmont and pursue her dream to teach and coach basketball. After graduating from Belmont in 1965, Wiseman was named an Associate Professor of Health & Physical Education in 1966, and began a teaching career that has spanned 38 years. In 1968, with the help of University President Herbert Gabhart, she blazed another trail, founding the women’s basketball program at Belmont. Women’s basketball at Belmont was one of the first women’s collegiate programs, not only in the state, but in the southeast. Wiseman’s summer basketball camps for girls, also founded in 1968, were filled with girls from across the state. Her success speaks for itself.
She was named “Coach of the Year” four times, including once at the National Women’s Invitational Tournament in 1977. She led her teams to several championships and victories over such notable programs as Alabama, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. She was named Belmont’s Alumni of the Year in 1977 and inducted into the Belmont Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1999, Wiseman was recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association with the Josten-Barenson Lifetime Achievement Award.
This past November, Belmont honored her by naming part of the university’s new athletic facility the Striplin-Wiseman Athletic Office Complex. As Belmont’s most outstanding teacher, Wiseman was named the Chaney Distinguished Professor in 1989.
In 1997, for services rendered students outside the classroom, she received the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award. Wiseman currently serves as an Assistant Athletics Director in the capacity of Senior Woman Administrator. She also chairs the Department of Health & Human Perfomance. For ten years, she has led Belmont student-athletes on yearly Sports Evangelism mission trips to other countries. In 2017, Betty was announced as an inductee for the Belmont Athletics Hall of Fame.