I just got back from a great trip to St. Louis for the Women's Final Four. Here are some of the highlights.
1) Seeing Family-I had dinner with my cousins in St. Charles for a fun evening recalling some of our favorite stories. One of the best stories was with Uncle Roy who took my sister, brother and I to a St. Louis Cardinals game. We had the Cardinals t-shirts, caps, bought the hot dogs. Then the Cardinals started to get blown out. We decided to beat the traffic and left early only to hear of the greatest comeback in the franchise's history.
2) Visiting Coaches-Katie Falco, one of my former assistant coaches just finished a tremendous season as an assistant coach at South Dakota State. We decided to go to the "piano bar" with their staff. When you hear of piano bar you assume it will be a nice quiet evening catching up with your friends. We found out quickly this was not a typical piano bar when they decided to play KISS.
3) Professional Development-The convention is an opportunity for coaches to learn from each other and check out the latest new ideas for improving your programs. Whether it's the NOAH shooting machine that talks back to you like R2D2 or the Matrix Power Suit that enhances your training, I feel like a sponge taking it all in. The question is the limit on the credit card.
4) Watching Practices-These aren't your traditional practices as the home team's bands and cheerleaders kick it off and entertain throughout. Every team had probably 10 managers with them.
Oklahoma-FOCUSED. They were intense and communicated better than any program I had ever seen. They were a unit. Coale's team had it together.
Louisville-LOOSE. Walz talked on his cell and chatted with the media. They finished with "assisted" dunks by the coaching staff. I looked at my assistant coach Justin Scanson and said "I don't think our trainers would approve" as a Louisville guard landed on her tailbone.
Connecticut-GENO-Geno works the room as well as he did when I played for him in the Olympic Festival. He hadn't changed a bit. MAYBE one hair out of place. They are Women amongst girls.
Stanford-Focused & Loose. Probably a little loose becaue of the Cardinal Tree that is the ugliest mascot of all time. I think he had one too many Red Bulls. I was pulling for Stanford as the Pac 10 represented the west coast very well in the tournament.
5) Semi Finals-Oklahoma vs Louisville: Can you believe that ending? Did she know they only needed a two, or did she not think she had enough time to get to the basket? Regardless, I felt bad for Oklahoma. What a great season they had. Stanford vs Conneticut. All I can say is Appel is only a junior.
6) Championship-I was home for the championship game with my family, coaching staff, and team. Unfortunately it wasn't as close as we'd hoped. That may be one of the reasons one of my players kept clicking over to American Idol.
It is amazing what UCONN accomplished. I told my team that I'd be satisfied with 30+ wins as they all chuckled. Instead, we'll take one step at a time which is what we've done all four years so far at Montana State. The next step, 20+ wins. I will settle for that next year as long as we get to start "dancing."