Guru's College Report: Some Coaching Legends Missing As 2011-12 Season Begins
By Mel Greenberg
Several names that were annual regulars in the Division I crowd will no longer be on the sidelines while in several other places some former top assistances will be making their debuts when the 2011-12 season begins hitting the record books Friday night.
There were 28 coaching changes in Division I after last season and since the close of business Hall of Famers Van Chancellor at LSU and Debbie Ryan at Virginia departed, though not entirely on behalf of themselves.
That was also the situation with longtime Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry. The trio are still at their respective universities but none are anywhere near the women’s basketball offices in terms of their previous active participations.
Nikki Caldwell, the former Tennessee star who rebuilt UCLA into prominence, replaced Chancellor.
Though Caldwell’s salary increase was significant, as was the buyout clause, whether it was a jump too soon would be determined by the fates at her alma mater at Tennessee.
That’s where Hall of Famer Pat Summitt will continue to coach as she feels she can handle the job in light of the stunning revelation in August of her being diagnosed with early onset dementia.
If Summitt’s coaching time frame is shorter than longer, the consequence will create an interesting situation because many people in Knoxville who follow the Lady Vols believe Caldwell is the best candidate among those with Tennessee DNA to succeed Summitt when the moment to do so becomes necessary.
Of course the speculation is contingent on whether or not longtime assistants Mickey DeMoss or former Tennessee All-American Holly Warlick relish the difficult job of becoming the successor to a legend.
Another name that has been whispered among the Tennessee-experience squad group is Kelly Harper, who has been the head coach at North Carolina State.
But whether Harper would want to get involved replacing another national legend after being named the successor to the late Kay Yow with the Wolfpack remains to be seen.
It could be when the time comes Tennessee might also reach beyond the candidates who are still part of the Lady Vol family, whether or not they currently reside in Knoxville.
Meanwhile Ryan was replaced on the Cavaliers by California’s Joanne Boyle, who returns to the state of Virginia where her first head-coaching job was at Richmond before moving to the Bay Area.
Prior to her stint with the Spiders, Boyle had been an assistant at Duke when Gail Goestenkoers, now at Texas, was the head coach.
UCLA filled the vacancy created by Caldwell’s departure by hiring Cori Close, who had been associate head coach to Sue Semrau at Florida State and played at UC Santa Barbara, a school that got caught in the dominoes effect when Boyle left California.
Lindsay Gottlieb, who was an associate head coach at Cal but had been at UC Santa Barbara the last several seasons, replaced Boyle on the Bears.
That vacancy was filled by former longtime Rutgers associate head coach Carlene Mitchell, who also starred at Kansas State when the WNBA’s Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler was at the Big 12 school.
Karen Barefoot, a former assistant to Larry, replaced her at Old Dominion after having been a head coach at Elon the last three seasons where Charlotte Smith, the heroine with the three-point buzzer for North Carolina over Louisiana Tech in the 1994 NCAA title game, becomes Barefoot’s successor.
Smith’s assistants include former Clemson coach Christy McKinney.
Marlene Stollings, the former associate head coach at Mississippi, takes over at Winthrop where Kevin Cook, most recently the head coach at Gallaudet in Washington, D.VC., and previously a longtime assistant to Chancellor with the former WNBA Houston Comets, joins the staff as does former Temple star Christena Hamilton.
Nicci Hays-Fort, a longtime aid to Doug Bruno at DePaul, will be running her own program at Colgate, replacing Pam Bass, while Matilda Mossman returns to the coaching ranks replacing Charlene Thomas-Swinson at Tulsa.
There are three changes bringing newcomers to schools in the Atlantic 10.
Amy Waugh, moved up from the assistant position at her alma mater at Xavier, the defending Atlantic 10 champion, after Kevin MxGuff left for Washington in the Pac-12 replacing Tia Jackson, who is now at Rutgers reuniting with Stringer, under whom she played at Iowa.
Cara Consuegra, a former associate head coach at Marquette, who also saw time as a director of operations under former Penn State coach Rene Portland, takes over at Charlotte replacing Karen Aston, who filled the vacancy at North Texas after wanting to be closer to her family.
Aston had been an assistant to former Texas coach Jody Conradt, another Hall of Famer, and an aide to Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, prior to her stint with the 49ers.
Former Villanova star Stephanie Gaitley, who has coached her own programs at St. Joseph’s and Long Island, left Monmouth to succeed Cathy Andruzzi at Fordham.
Jenny Palmateer, who was most recently an aide to Hall of Famer Anne Donovan at Seton Hall and was also on Kay Yow’s staff at N.C. State, filled Gaitley’s position at Monmouth.
Longtime New Mexico aide Yvonne Sanchez moved up after longtime Lobos legend Don Flanagan decided to retire.
Dennis Wolff, a former longtime Boston U. men’s coach who had been a men’s assistant at Virginia Tech, stayed on campus to replace Beth Dunkenberger.
Rich Barron, a former Princeton head coach who planted the seeds to the Tigers’ rise to prominence in the Ivy League, takes over at Maine after his previous job as a member of Harper’s staff at N.C. Staff. He replaces former Maine scoring sensation Cindy Blodgett, who is now an assistant to Cathy Inglese at Rhode Island.
Former Stanford star Bobbie Kelsey, who had been an assistant at her alma mater under newly-inducted Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Tara Vanderveer, takes over at Wisconsin replacing Lisa Stone.
Anthony Levrets shed the interim label in succeeding Elaine Elliott at Utah, one of two schools along with Colorado beginning play in the newly-named Pac-12.