College of Science

Darlene May Gymnasium

The Darlene May Gymnasium is named in honor Darlene May who was the winningest coach in NCAA Division II Basketball history, it opened in 1996 and seats 500.

Coach May got the ball rolling for the Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball program and guided the Broncos to a 519-119 overall record and three NCAA Division II titles in 1982, 1985 and 1986. The Broncos also finished second in the nation three times and took third once during her tenure. May retired after the 1993-94 season, concluding a remarkable 20-year career. She averaged nearly 26 wins per season, NEVER had a losing season and won more than 20 games in each or her final 19 seasons.

Darlene May served as Head Women's Basketball Coach at Cal Poly Pomona for years (1974-1994). She was a no-nonsense, tenacious leader who guided her teams to three Division II National Championships.

Coach May's first assignment at Cal Poly was to build the team she inherited into a winner, at least at the local level. Of course she accomplished much more than that, ending the first season at 16-6 and ranked fifth in the nation. That first season set the tone for what was to come.

The Broncos won their first National Championship in 1982. Coach May added two more national titles in 1985 and 1986, placed second nationally in 1983, 1987, and 1989, as well as finishing third in the nation in 1990. She coached 16 All-Americans, four of whom were named Division II National Players of the Year.

Coach May was forced to retire following the 1994 season after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. The campus gymnasium where her dynasty began was renamed "Darlene May Gymnasium" in January 1996. She passed away on November 15, 1996.

Coach May leaves a legacy that may never be equaled; a winning percentage of .813, an overall win/loss record of 519-119, and a conference record of 199-8 (96 percent). At the time of her death, she was the winningest coach in Division II history.

In June 1999, she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Former head coach Paul Thomas and former assistant Barb Thaller-Fulton attended the induction ceremony. Coach May's mother was present to accept the award. During the 1999-2000 season, the Broncos visited the Hall of Fame while traveling in Tennessee. It was a very special time for all the players and coaches.

Coach May's legacy and memory lives on in her players of the past, and in the players and coaches at Cal Poly today. Each year the women's basketball team participates in a cancer walk at the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., to support others who are fighting a battle against breast cancer. The City of Hope is where Coach May received her treatments. Each fall, one deserving player is awarded the $1000 Darlene May Memorial Scholarship.

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