We joked today that these sit-down interviews with WKU women’s coach Michelle Clark-Heard are becoming a weekly tradition.
We met once again with Heard today to discuss a variety of subjects, but mainly her hire of former director of ops Curtis Turley as the final assistant on the Lady Toppers’ staff.
Comments from Heard and Turley are available below:
“When I got here, coach Turley was enthused about everything that was going on. He has a wealth of knowledge and knows the game, and with the young ladies, I think he has a great rapport with them. One of the things we need really bad is to get better on the floor fundamentally, so I need as many coaches as possible knowing what we’re trying to do. With these first couple of years, I’ll be on the recruiting trail hard, so I need coaches that know what I’m teaching and how I’m teaching.”
More on Turley: “I knew and understood his passion with where he wanted to be, and that’s on the floor. I know that passion myself, and he has a lot of passion for Western Kentucky. He knows where this program was and where it needs to get to. The first day I got here, coach Turley wasn’t here, and I continued to hear coach Turley’s name brought up.”
On latest signee, Kendall Noble: “She was one that I felt like we really needed to get. She is a guard that does a lot of different things. She can put it on the floor and go to the floor, she can go to the basket. She has great size, and her numbers speak for themselves. She’s a winner, and we have to continue to put winners in this program.”
On trying to build a recruiting class in a short period of time: “It has been a short period of time, but I feel very fortunate. That’s why I love what I do. I feel like some people have the gift to relate to people in general and love doing it, and that’s me. Doing homework and research and knowing the things that are important to the student-athlete are very important. When you love something so much, I felt that once they got here and met me, it would all work out.”
“We have everything to offer. I talked to them a lot about the person that’s going to be coaching them. I was an assistant for a number of years and know how important that relationship is, but at the end of the day, the head coach is the one you have to have that relationship with. If you have that relationship and can walk in the door and talk and all those things off the basketball court, it’s going to play out on the court.”
On departures of Summer Fife and Tyisha Amos: “I had to evaluate where we’re trying to go and what we need. My biggest thing is for those student-athletes to have the opportunity to go somewhere where they can play and be happy. If they’re not happy and not playing, I don’t want to put them in that position. … It was not just about our program, it was about them as individuals.”
On not expecting any more departures: “I have a tough job, sitting in this seat and trying to get this program back to where we need it to be. At the end of the day, I have to make the decisions that are going to be best for the student-athletes and program. At this point, everybody is on board, and we’re looking forward to possibly bringing in one or two more.”
On recruiting needs: “Size is definitely important for us, but I know in this game, there’s so many different ways to play it. Even if I have five guards on the floor, if we’re able to do certain things and pressure people, we’ll be in a position to be able to win. Our job is to take however many players we have and have a position to be in the game in the last five minutes.”
“I’m super excited about it, and certainly appreciative to coach Heard for giving me the opportunity because I’m now back on the court, and that’s where I love to be. My life is in a basketball gym on the court. My satisfaction truly comes from working with the players, getting to see them improve on a daily basis and then get to step back and see them be successful at the end of the season.”
On moving around, but roots in BG: “I have moved more than anyone in the history of the game in Kentucky. Some of my close friends tease me and call me the Larry Brown of (high school) coaching. … Even though we’ve liked every community, Bowling Green is special, and we keep coming back. This is where we want to remain.”
On Heard as a recruiter: “If God gave me a gift, it’s to read people, and she’s a genuine person. She does like people. It’s easy for her. She’s comfortable around them, and the girls see that, and I think the girls we’ve had on campus for these official visits, it’s been evident to them.”