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Monday, June 6, 2011

A NEW BEGINNING!

Today begins a new chapter in my coaching career, and in my life for that matter.  After 22 years of living in Baton Rouge and coaching at LSU, I officially started my first day of work as an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida.

First the LSU years -- they were great!  I worked for and with some wonderful people -- coaches, support staff and administrators.  Louisiana State University is an amazing place and it has nothing to do with the oaks, the tailgating or the food -- it's all about the people.  I have created friendships and memories that will last me a lifetime and will keep me coming back to "Red Stick" to visit.

Soon after I discovered that I would not be returning to LSU, my friend Dena Evans sent me the following quote from Dr. Seuss:

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Wow!  Perfect!  Thanks LSU!

And now for my new beginning.

At this stage in my career I was going to be particular about my next stop.  It was important that I worked for and with the right people and that their philosophy was similar to mine.  I wanted to be involved in a program of significance.  By that I mean that we are playing a significant role in the lives of the young women that are in our program -- not just in terms of basketball -- not just for the four years they are in school -- but in all phases for the rest of their lives.  We would be family in its truest form.  Significance also meant the role we would play in our community -- making an impact with our neighbors.

Now this all sounds good and almost every program talks about it -- but I promise you it is hard to find.

But I found it -- at the University of Central Florida.

Joi Williams, the Head Coach, is someone I have known for more than a decade and someone I have come to respect at the highest level.  She cares deeply about her student-athletes, her staff and our game.  Greg Brown, the Associate Head Coach, is also a long-time friend though Coach Don Meyer.  Through these two I have followed the success at the University of Central Florida with the thought that they have something special here in Orlando.  I've also got to know Assistant Coach Richard Fortune at Felicia Hall Allen's assistant coaching symposium.  Joe Carvalhido told me we had one of the best Director of Basketball Operations in Kim Boes.  During my visit I met with many people but none more impressive that Athletic Director Keith Tribble who mapped out an incredible vision for UCF Athletics that is already well on the move.

And for some Lady Tiger flavor, Khalilah Mitchell is on the staff here as well!

I'm also excited to learn!  Coach Williams and UCF have been to the NCAA tournament two of the last three years.  They run motion and have a great man-to-man defensive philosophy.  They believe in teaching the game the right way!  I already feel like I'm home!

I could talk about the facilities (which are new and incredible), the weather (my wife will love it) or the culture (Disney is right around the corner), but what I learned at LSU will hold true here -- it's about the people -- and because of that I know I'm right where I need to be!

GO KNIGHTS!