Discussion with Duke
Women's Basketball Coach Gail Goestenkors
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
with any questions, suggestions, or comments.