Hatchell opened her brief remarks by saying, "I can scratch this off my bucket list," which earned a round of applause from the capacity crowd on the Hall of Fame's main court, that included friends, family, media members and a couple former NBA greats like Grant Hill and Hall of Famer George "The IceMan" Gervin.
She later mentioned that all the plaques above the crowd are like "little basketball angels" looking down on us. Hatchell finished her comments by saying that she will have plenty more to say on Sunday during the enshrinement ceremony that will carried live on NBA TV at 2 p.m.
Hatchell became just the third Division I women's coach to win 900 career games and is the only coach in history to win national championships at three different levels (AIAW, NAIA and NCAA). Since taking over at North Carolina in 1986, she has led the Tar Heels to three NCAA Final Fours, eight ACC championships and the 1994 National Championship.
Later on in the day, Hatchell was asked where this ranks in her all-time career highlights?
She responded with, "It's really hard to say because I've had so many. You certainly can't take away any of the championships. But for a career there is nothing any better. I was humbled to even be nominated, but when I got the phone call I had made it I was like wow. Every morning still to this day I wake up and think, "am I really going into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame," because this is what every coach dreams of."
Hatchell is a three-time National Coach of the Year (1984, 2006 and 2008) and three-time ACC Coach of the Year.
"The Women's Hall of Fame was really special too because its in Knoxville (Tenn.) and I went to grad school there," added Hatchell. "But this is the ultimate without a doubt. I've just sort of been the spectator. I sat there today looking out and saw several of my players sitting, and more will be here tonight and tomorrow.
:A lot of great people that have believed in me have allowed a lot of great things to happen in my career."
Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown ('05) and Hall of Fame player Nancy Lieberman ('96) will present Hatchell during the ceremony. Pat Summitt was scheduled to do the presentation, but her health will not allow her to do so.
"The Hall of Fame is proud to recognize this distinguished group of coaches, players and contributors to the game of basketball," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "Each person in this group has rightfully earned their spot in the Hall of Fame and we look forward to honoring them in Springfield."
To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Hall of Fame. This year's list includes nine-time NCA All-Star Gary Payton, seven-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino, four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, five-time NCAA FInal Four coach Guy Lewis and four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King.
The other elects include Roger Brown, Dr. E.B. Henderson, Oscar Schmidt and Russ Granik.
Located in Springfield, Mass., the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level - professional, collegiate, men and women.