Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Official! Randall named new coach

As reported on Ohio Sports Zone last night, Semeka Randall was officialy announced as the Bobcats' new head coach at a press conference this afternoon. Some thoughts on the hire and from the press conference:

- "I feel like we just won a national championship or we just hit that half court shot at the buzzer," said AD Jim Schaus on the hire. He called Randall the "right person at the right time for this program."

- Randall has been to the tournament multiple times as an assistant and went to a national championship game at Michigan State. She was on the 39-0 1998 Tennessee women's team, so she knows a thing or two about winning.

- She said she still keeps in touch with Pat Summit, who was her coach and mentor. Summit stressed surrounding yourself with good people.

- Randall had good things to say about Athens calling it "the ultimate college town." Randall played at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights.

- She emphasized defense and rebounding as key philosophies. Those are pretty fundamental aspects of good basketball but it's nice to see that the coach makes a point of these in her opening press conference.

- After meeting with the team, Randall and the ladies are on the same page. She spoke of how important it is to relate to the players. Randall is young and spoke often about how she knows what it's like to be in their shoes. She said it was her job to show them the way and help improve them as human beings.

- A lot of interesting connections with this hire:
- Jim Schaus taps into his West Virginia ties. Jim earned a master's at the university and his dad Fred was the AD there. Randall had previously been an assistant there.
- Schaus' last hire, at Wichita State, was also a Tennessee guard with Ohio connections. Jody Adams played for the Volunteers and coached Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference.
- Randall was teammates with former coach Sylvia Crawley. She said she spoke to her about the job.

- I think this hire is an excellent first move for Jim Schaus. Randall has large shoes to fill after what Sylvia Crawley has done. But Randall has the demeanor and the pedigree to be very successful here. The current roster has a lot of talent and with her Ohio background and experience, you'd have to figure Randall will be able to recruit well. In terms of replacing Crawley, I couldn't think of a better scenario.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Randall could be Crawley's successor

I learned from an unnamed source this morning that the next Bobcats coach is a former Tennessee player and has played in the WNBA. After finding this out and doing some research, Semeka Randall, West Virginia assistant coach, fit this profile. New Athletic Director Jim Schaus also has ties to West Virginia University. This afternoon I got in touch with Randall who seemed caught off guard when asked to confirm or deny rumors about the Ohio coaching position and said she couldn't talk about it.

While it is not confirmed or official, it appears that Randall will be the choice. She is an Ohio native, from Cleveland, and was even a teammate of former coach Sylvia Crawley's with San Antonio Silver Stars.

More details soon to come...