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Duke Women's Head Coach Gail Goestenkors

 

Interview conducted by Shawn Siegel

June 12th, 2003

Discussion with Duke Women's Basketball Coach Gail Goestenkors


Gail GoestenkorsLast yearís Duke Blue Devils team made extraordinary accomplishments.  Coach Gail Goestenkors led her squad to an ACC record 35 wins, a 16-0 Conference mark, and a spot in the NCAA final four.  Even while working hard to try and put up equally gaudy numbers next season, she was kind enough to answer some questions for Collegehoopsnet:


1)  Sometimes its hard to find questions to ask successful coaches, without having them sounding like an endless string of compliments.  But in reality, youíve accomplished just about everything a basketball coach could hope for.  Is winning an NCAA title the only goal you have left as the coach of Duke, or does this program have other future accomplishments to strive for?

 

Winning the National Championship is still at the top of the list.  We want to continue to be a force in the ACC and have the ability to challenge for a National Title year in and year out.  Winning with class and integrity and going about things the "right" way is important to us.  I want our program to be respected Nationally for who we are and how we do things.

2)  Besides measuring team success in wins and losses, Iím always interested in womenís basketball success in terms of building fan support and attendance.  Last season, you averaged 5,557 fans per game at Cameron Indoor, most in the league by over 2,000.  Do you think there will ever be a day when the womenís team can consistently pack the arena?

 

Yes...we made huge strides this year and I believe we're going to build on our success...both on the court and in the stands. 

3)  All womenís college basketball fans know about Alana Beard, who averaged 22.3 points per game while winning ESPNís National Player of the Year award.  And many would also know Iciss Tillis, who averaged 15 per game, and was selected along with Beard to play for USA Basketball National Teams.  But which of your unheralded players do you think deserves to receive more notoriety, and why?

 

I would say my two Seniors, Sheana Mosch and Michele Matyasovski.  They were excellent leaders for us and always put the team goals ahead of their own.  This allowed us to have great team chemistry which I think is important on any championship team.

4)  How big of an impact do you place on your teamís academic record?  Do you take academics into account while recruiting?
 

Academics are so important, especially here at Duke.  Most of our players come to Duke because they feel they can have the very best of both academics and athletics.  My goal as coach is to help my players to learn, grow and become the very best in all their endeavors.
 

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5)  Iíd like to hear a bit about your assistants.  Who is the most innovative with the Xís & Oís?  How much do you rely upon your staff for in-game decisions?

 

I am fortunate to have an excellent staff and I rely on them a great deal.  Gale Valley, LaVonda Wagner and Georgia Schweitzer are all very good with the game and with recruiting, as well.  We all have opponents that we scout and are responsible for.  During time outs, I always meet w/my staff before my team to get their input.  They are all such hard workers and do so much behind the scenes that never gets noticed......I know how lucky I am!!

6)  Pardon me for not knowing, but have you ever coached on a USA Basketball staff?  Is this something youíd like to pursue in the future?

 

Yes, I was the head coach for the Jones Cup team in 1997 and then last summer I was an assistant for the World Championship team, which traveled to China and won the Gold Medal.  I love working with USA Basketball and traveling abroad.  I just consider it a great honor to be able to work with the very best coaches and players in the country.

7)  Lastly, congratulations on winning the WBCA & Naismith Coach of the Year Awards.  Does it ever get old winning awards so consistently?

 

HA!!  Thank you...but I know that every award I receive is truly an award for my staff and because of my team.  I am very fortunate to be surrounded by great people and players.
 

CHN would like to thank Gail for taking the time to answer our questions.  We'd like to wish her the best of luck in the coming season.

 

 

 

Email Shawn Siegel with any questions, suggestions, or comments.

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