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Dale Neal begins his 48th year of coaching and his 24th season at the helm of the Lady Lion basketball program, having compiled a record of 639-172 and a winning percentage of .787 at FHU.

The Lady Lion basketball program has advanced deep into the NAIA National Tournament the past four seasons under the direction of Coach Neal. This past season, the Lady Lions boasted an undefeated record during the regular season and captured the American Midwest Conference Tournament Championship for the third time since joining the AMC in 2013. The Lady Lions eventually fell to No. 10 Campbellsville University in the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinal round to end their season with a 35-1 record. Coach Neal was awarded the WBCA/NAIA National Coach of the Year following the 2016-17 season as a result of his accomplishments throughout the season.

During the 2015-16 season, the Lady Lions compiled a 27-8 record on the season and 20-4 record in American Midwest Conference Play. The Lady Lions ended the 2015-16 season as the AMC Tournament runner-up and also advanced to the second round of the NAIA National Tournament. During the 2013-14 season, the Lady Lions compiled a 36-2 record and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Championship Game. Following up their impressive season in 2013-14, the Lady Lions went 35-2 and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Fab Four during the 2014-15 season. Few programs in the NAIA have seen the levels of success and consistency that Neal has brought to Freed-Hardeman in the last 24 seasons. Over that time frame, the Lady Lions are one of only two programs to have won at least 20 games and competed in the NAIA National Tournament every year. Only three schools can claim each accomplishment by itself.

The Lady Lion basketball program instantly turned around when Neal came to Freed-Hardeman. In his first season in 1995, the Lady Lions finished a then school-record 21-9. Two years later, the team set a new record by winning 26 games and making the school's first ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament and winning its first game, 76-63 over East Central Oklahoma.  

Under Neal's direction, Freed-Hardeman has been a fixture in both the NAIA Top 25 and the NAIA National Tournament. The Lady Lions have made six total appearances in the Fab Four (1999, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015) and one national championship game (2014). They have also advanced to the national quarterfinals four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2017) and won eight conference championships (TranSouth: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013; American Midwest: 2014, 2015, 2017) and seven regular season Conference Championships

After a record-setting season in 2012-13, the Lady Lions topped it in 2013-14 after going 36-2 and advancing to their first-ever NAIA National Championship game where they were edged by seven-time national champion Oklahoma City, 80-76.  FHU was ranked in the top 3 in every national poll except the pre-season poll.  The Lady Lions also captured the regular season and tournament championships in their first year as a member of the American Midwest Conference.

In 2012-13, the Lady Lions went 34-2 and spent much of the year as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.  They also captured their fifth TranSouth Conference championship, going undefeated in both regular season play and the conference tournament.

During Neal’s tenure, the Lady Lions have boasted six TranSouth Conference Players of the Year, four American Midwest Conference Players of the Year and three WBCA/NAIA National Players of the Year (Jana Cross in 2009, Meribeth Boehler in 2011 and Hayley Newby in 2015).  FHU has a total of 29 All-American selections since 1999, including 18 first-team honorees.

Neal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harding University ('69) and a Master of Physical Education degree from the University of Nebraska ('80). He coached the men's basketball team at York College in Nebraska for 11 years, where his teams combined record was 234-96 (.709), before coming to FHU. Neal received seven coach of the year awards, including an NJCAA Region IX Coach of the Year award, while at York.

Neal and his wife, Kathy, reside in Henderson and have four children and 13 grandchildren.

2017-18 Women's Basketball Roster
Roster for 2017-18 Women's Basketball Team
#NameCl.Pos.Ht.HometownPrevious School
1Sandrea SylmanJRG5-6Chattanooga, Tenn.Chattanooga Central HS
2Jazmin TaylorSOG5-6San Antonio, TexasJohnson HS
3Rebekah HammondSOG5-5Armuchee, Ga.Armuchee HS
10Taylor FerrisFRF6-1Central Coast, AustraliaAndrews Academy
11Gabrielle NicholsonSRG5-6Birmingham, Ala.Shelton State CC
13Kaylie PopeSOG5-7Leoma, Tenn.Lawrence County HS
14Jordan MaysFRG5-2Marmaduke, Ark.Marmaduke HS
15Carrie HatchelJRG5-7Dresden, Tenn.Dresden HS
20Haylee CroomSOF5-10Clarksville, Tenn.Rossview HS
21Jamie CrumSOG5-6Byhalia, Miss.Home School
22Janae StrodeJRG5-9Las Vegas, Nev.Dawson CC
23Averyale JoyJRG5-3Middleton, Tenn.Northwest Mississippi CC
24Alyssa LeMayFRG5-10Mount Pleasant, Tenn.Mount Pleasant HS
31Tiffany PateSRC6-2Thomson, Ga.Briarwood Academy
33Kim MallorySRF5-10Nettleton, Miss.Itawamba Agricultural HS
34Morgan WarrenSRG5-6Nashville, Tenn.Goodpasture Christian
41Reagen FloydSOG5-7Linden, Tenn.Perry County HS
50Tatum RussellFRF5-9Henderson, Tenn.South Gibson Co. HS
Dale Neal Image
Head Coach
24th season
Assistant Coach
1st season