June 10, 2010
How does it feel to be the head coach of a Division I program?
"It's as humbling as it is exciting. I am very appreciative of the opportunity, but I won't be taking it for granted. I am very excited about the possibilities at CSUN. I embrace the work it is going to take to get this program going in the right direction, but more importantly, I am excited to work with all of the people associated with the program. I believe I am in a really good situation."
What do you know about the current group of Matadors from your time on the opposing bench?
"Jasmine Erving has certainly proved to be a force in the conference. A lot of our success in the past has come with the offense centered around her. I think Bridgette Conejo really came into her own last year as well. She really has confidence in her abilities as a scorer. In general, I think some of our players haven't played the way they hoped to, but there are many pieces in place to move this program forward. I think the players are eager for success, eager to go out and have some good experiences."
As a former Bruin, what are some of the lessons you took from the late Coach John Wooden?
"I think the biggest thing I took from Coach Wooden was his genuine care for his players. Sometimes that's a hug, sometimes that's a kick in the butt. Also, his pyramid of success has been incorporated in all walks of life, from sports to the business world. Another pivotal thing I learned from him is that you cannot worry about what others may say or think, but just concern yourself with what you can control. That translates to basketball through the attitude and effort you carry onto the court for everything from practice to games. I only hope I can have a fraction of the impact on my players that Coach Wooden had on the thousands of people he influenced."
Where do you see this team being offensively in the 2010-11 season?
"I think we'll be fun to watch. We'll play an up-tempo style that I think will be entertaining to watch. Of course, we have to work hard to be able to be entertaining while executing our game plan."
Where do you see this team being defensively next year?
"Defense is where you separate success from failure. Defense is a lot about your mindset, your attitude and your effort. I want defense to be this team's calling card. We're going to be tough, a unit of five people all on the same page working to get stops and deny easy baskets."
Who would you describe as some of your biggest influences as a coach?
"It's funny, but most people that got me into coaching are people you may have never heard of. One of the earliest influences was my T-Ball coach, Lo Clark, who was a Pac 10 official who came back to his neighborhood. Another influence was Joe McGill Sr., who coached me in football and basketball. I came from a single-mother household and Joe was always there to drive me to practice and games. I would also like to credit Sam Randolph and Tom Osburn for always treating me like family and getting me to this level. Seattle University head coach Cameron Dollar is also a major influence on me since I've got to the college level. He was an assistant when I played at UC Irvine. Sports and basketball have provided me with opportunities I would have not otherwise had."
What are your thoughts on the Big West Conference entering the 2010-11 season?
"UC Riverside has established itself as a contender. UC Santa Barbara has been the standard bearer in the league for a long time. Coach Simpson has done a nice job building UC Davis into a contender and Cal Poly has emerged over the last few years as well. I am fortunate because this is my seventh year in the league in a coaching capacity and I think the conference has gotten much better in that period. We have a lot of great coaches who have raised the level of competition in the league. But going back to Coach Wooden, we cannot get caught up in what others are doing. We need to go out and take care of our business. I have respect for everyone in this league, but it's about us and how we do it."
What is your message to CSUN and the community about what to expect in the future of Northridge women's hoops?
"I think at the end of the day, we're going to put a team out that the university and community can be proud of. Fans like energy and effort. They want a reason to be excited and I think we'll be great role models for young people. We'll carry ourselves in a away that represents CSUN well. I think we'll be a hard working, high-character group that enjoys what it's doing and that will show on the court."