Coach Dunn Checks In and Remembers Coach Yow
Hello Fever Fans!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and enjoyed all the New Year’s festivities. It’s been about six weeks since my first installment and I want to catch you up on what’s going on in my world – in women's college basketball and the Indiana Fever. We got an early Christmas present when we re-signed fan-favorite Tully Bevilaqua! And “Catch” hosted a wonderful event for 100 needy children at Conseco Fieldhouse that was so powerful – those children had a blast and their little faces were glowing when Santa came out!
Scouting has picked up since I last spoke to you. The conference races are in full swing and teams are battling for those coveted championships, automatic bids and seeding in the NCAA tournament. I have continued to watch LOTS of games on TV – sometimes as many as eight in one day! Jim, Gary, Kelly and I have also been to see, in person, most of the players we are considering at the sixth pick in this year’s draft. In fact, we have seen some of them three or more times in person.
Many of you may wonder why seeing the prospect in person is so different from watching on TV. First, it is very difficult to evaluate their athleticism – body type, strength, etc. – on film or on TV. Second, the TV camera only follows the ball! Often, the player you are scouting may not be in many of the close-up shots. When you are actually at the game you can see the prospect the entire time – even during pregame warmups. I focus all my attention on the player, not the game. Third, film or TV can’t capture the emotion of the player, or lack of it, and her interaction with teammates and coaches – and how she handles herself while on the bench. Fourth, in person I have the opportunity to talk to coaches and staff about the player; I can listen to her speak at a postgame press conference, and find out information I could never get from TV or film.
There sure has been a lot of shuffling in the polls over the last month! The only constant has been the UConn Huskies ... undefeated and still number No. 1, I was at the game in Chapel Hill against then-No. 2 North Carolina (where I also saw former Fever player Charlotte Smith). I was so impressed with the Huskies!! Wow, they were like a well-oiled machine – speed, quickness, execution – outstanding!
I also saw another undefeated team, Auburn, take on perennial SEC power Tennessee, at Auburn. The crowd was awesome and seemed to really fuel the Tiger team. It was great to see 13,000 fans at a women’s basketball game!
I think we are closing in on our rankings for that sixth pick (the cream of the crop always rises to the top), and I'm confident we will get a very good player. With the change to an 11-player roster, some tough decisions must be made on players and draft picks.
There has been some movement in WNBA free agency, but not a lot, really. There is still much speculation where the following four players will be next season, all have the ability to have a huge impact on the team they play for – Lauren Jackson, Tina Thompson, Yolanda Griffith and Michelle Snow. It should be an interesting time leading up to the start of training camp!
As for me, this COLD weather in Tennessee has not been fun! I mean COLD – 10-15 degrees, yikes! But so far not much snow. Our family (I fondly refer to them as the "Beverley Hillbillies") gathered in Dresden for a Christmas southern Bar-B-Q – no turkey, just lots of ribs, pork shoulder, cornbread and baked beans! In lieu of presents for each other, we adopted two needy families and played "Secret Santa.” It was one of the best Christmases ever – and HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!
The best thing that's happened to me so far in 2009? Barack Obama becoming our 44th President!
My mother, LaRue, is back in the nursing home (she fell and broke her foot). I’m so thankful it wasn’t worse. She should be home in two weeks. She is still recovering from the Colts and Titans losing in the NFL Playoffs! However, the broken foot hasn’t stopped her from watching her NBA games and college women’s games. She LOVES basketball, the Titans, Peyton, Eli, the Mavericks and Shaq!
As you probably know, Kay Yow passed away last weekend after years of valiantly fighting breast cancer. I was blessed to know Kay, as a competitor and also as a friend. We worked together for the last 25 years on committees for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. One of my favorite poems, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, perfectly describes Kay:
SUCCESS is to laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics, and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived … that is to have succeeded!"
Kay's greatest legacy will be the student-athletes she coached and the assistants she tutored for the last 35 years. Each one will pass on to the world the unique traits Kay possessed. She truly epitomizes the "pass it forward” concept. She has made the world a better place as a teacher, coach and mentor. Her final record will not be judged by wins and losses, but how she so positively impacted the lives of so many young people. Kay LOVED the game, but more than that, she LOVED people. And she truly LOVED the Lord. We sure will miss her.
p.s. – Get Ready for June 6! FEVER BASKETBALL ... BE THERE!