Jim Flanery led Creighton the WNIT Semifinals in his first year as
Head Coach. He was kind enough to answer some questions for
CHN) You’ve spent twenty seasons at Creighton as a student,
assistant, and now head coach. Was the goal all along to end up as
Creighton’s head coach? Do you think you’d ever move on to another
JF) I really kind of stumbled into coaching after I graduated from
Creighton. I did some volunteer assisting for then-head-coach Bruce
Rasmussen and found out I really liked it. I slowly realized coaching
seemed it might be better than a real job.
As a Creighton grad, I think this is a great fit for me. I love this
place! At the same time, I've been here nearly half of my life.
There will hopefully come a time where we've accomplished a lot here
in terms of building on this program's tradition. I have a lot of
things I want to do before moving on even becomes a possibility.
CHN) After inheriting a team which had gone to the NCAA’s the
previous year, losing in the 1st round, do you think there
was extra pressure on yourself to succeed because expectations were
JF) I do think there was a little extra pressure on our team and on
myself this past season, but hopefully that's what you want. I want
us to expect to be good, and if that means others expect us to be
good, then we have to be focused enough to handle that. I had
confidence in our team's toughness, maybe to the point where I wasn't
quite demanding enough on a day-to-day basis. I'll get better at
CHN) You guys lost to SMS in the Conference Tourney, failing to
repeat as MVC champions. How unexpected was your run through the WNIT
following that disappointing loss? Did it make your team more hungry?
JF) The run in the WNIT wasn't unexpected. We were a good,
experienced team. I'm not sure why we weren't a little better on the
road during the regular season. Not making the NCAAs was a
disappointment, but the way we played in the WNIT was gratifying and
really helped generate interest in our team on the local level.
Hopefully we can carry that into next year.
CHN) Christy Neneman has been an extremely decorated player her
first three seasons, including winning the MVC Player of the Year
award the last two years. Could you describe her game to those who
might not know?
JF) Christy is a great off-the dribble player. She shoots it okay
from the 3, but she has a very good medium range game and is
outstanding in transition. She is strong and explosive. She cut back
on her turnovers this past season and jumped her assist numbers. She
is also a very good defensive rebounder and a threat to go end-to-end
after she gets a defensive rebound. She is very, very competitive and
just needs to get a little more consistent. She has a tendency to be
a little too hard on herself when things don't go well for her.
CHN) Seniors Teresa Wessling & Jenny Burns have graduated, but you
return the four leading scorers and a wealth of experience. Is this
team primed for a run at the NCAA’s?
JF) We expect to give ourselves every opportunity to be in the
NCAA Tournament. I have put together the toughest schedule we have
ever played because I think a team in our position needs opportunities
to prove we can play. We are playing at Kansas State, at Minnesota,
at Iowa, and at Nebraska. We are in Duke's tournament, where we get
to play Auburn in the first round. We also get Michigan at
home. I wouldn't have put this together had I not believed we belong
on the court with these teams.
CHN) Where’s your favorite place to play on the road? Do you get a
chance to enjoy the city’s and campuses you travel to?
JF) SMS is a great place to play in our league because they draw so
well. Drake is also a great environment. Last year we played at
Texas Tech, and that was an experience for our players in terms of
learning to compete at the highest level. We do fun things on
the road. We went to Sea World and the beach in San Diego last
season. We saw a Pacers-Celtics game the night before we played at
Indiana State. We'll see some things when we play at Duke this year.
I think it's important to give our players traveling experiences
outside of basketball. It gives them a chance to take a lot of
pictures. They're good at that.
CHN) Thanks again coach for taking the time to chat with us.
Good luck in the coming season.