As promised on Twitter, here are some comments from WKU women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard and new assistant coach Margaret Richards.
You can read more on the sit-down with the coaches at bgdailynews.com, but here are the main points – Heard will hire an entirely new coaching staff, choosing not to retain Latrice McLin, Camryn Whitaker or Tim Riley. Junior forward Mimi Hill has been granted her release from WKU, and the Lady Tops won’t have any signees Wednesday during the beginning of the spring signing period, but recruits are likely on the way soon, as is the next assistant coach.
I’ll have more on Heard’s plans in Wednesday’s Daily News. Here are some quotes:
On not retaining the former staff: “They did an unbelievable job when I got here. They were phenomenal in helping with the transition for me, but I think it was just a situation where I needed to get some people around me that I felt comfortable with and had known before for a previous amount of time. I wish them the best and told them if I could ever help them in any way, I would because I know how much the Lady Topper program means to them.”
On recruiting: “We do have a lot of holes to fill, but I do have some pieces to work with. We’re in the process of waiting to hear from a couple of kids, and we’re going to have some kids on campus soon. That’s what it’s all about. When I got this job, I talked about hitting the ground running. … You and I both know it’s about getting that signature on the line, and that’s my main focus. It’s a constant, every day. Recruiting never stops. It’s going well. I’d be saying it’s going great if I had a couple commits right now, but I foresee in the near future having a couple.”
“I feel really close to this team already. They’ve opened themselves up. I asked them the first day to have an open mind about what we were trying to do, who I was and the staff I was going to bring in or what I was going to do with the staff. They took that to heart, and I’m excited about that.”
On new assistant Margaret Richards: “I’ve watched her develop into the coach she is today. She knows me, my style and recruiting-wise, the type of players that I like. She has a great work ethic. She’s unbelievable with people, and I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to bring her back to Kentucky.”
“I really am impressed with the kids overall. I feel like they’ve worked very hard for me. I really believe in the time frame that we’ve worked individually that the kids have gotten better, just in this short amount of time. That makes me excited about the future.”
On other possible transfers: “I have met with everyone individually. They understand the expectations, so as for now, I can’t foresee what will happen in the future, but we’ll meet again before school lets out. If there are any players that don’t feel like the opportunity will be there to play – I’ve been upfront and honest with them that I’m going to recruit and get players – there might be a couple of players that didn’t see a lot of minutes last year that might want to have the ability to go somewhere else.”
On WKU’s large rising sophomore class: “I give them a lot of credit. They’ve been really receptive for everything I’ve brought to the table. That speaks a lot for them because change is not easy, especially when you’re trying to get the best out of them and take the program from winning nine games to the top of the league.”
“I’m very excited, of course to be coming back home, and to be reunited with a former coach, mentor. Growing up, she instantly took me in. We built that relationship and it’s grown over the years. When she got this opportunity, I was ecstatic when she called me. I’m so hungry and eager to get it done, get players in here and help the players grow not just on the court, but off the court.”
On meeting the team: “It was great. They were all excited. I’m excited for workouts tomorrow, so it was nice to introduce and joke around.”
“This is a winning program. They recruited me out of high school too … and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for this program. What they’ve done on this campus with the facilities, there’s no reason we shouldn’t get the best kids in Kentucky and the surrounding states.”