Coach Dunn Checks In With Holiday Greetings From Tennessee
Many of you may wonder "what's going on" since the end of the ‘08 season? Well, let me catch you up!
Immediately after the season we had exit interviews with the players and staff – brainstorming how to get better for the 2009 season.
Three days after the interviews were over, I returned to Tennessee to bring my mom home from the Weakley County Nursing Home. She was counting the hours ‘til she could return to her house in Dresden, Tenn., population 1,836. I live in downtown Dresden and we have deer in our backyard. My mother is 87 and is a huge basketball fan … college, pro, WNBA/NBA … she LOVES the game!
Caring for her is challenging, but it's a blessing to care for my mother in the twilight of her life … and I cherish every day.
I have returned to Indy one week each month for speaking engagements, which I really enjoy doing. I will be back next week for Catch's big Christmas party for young kids in Indy, which is a great event. We will also have staff meetings to evaluate free agents we are interested in. Jim [Lewis], Gary [Kloppenburg] and I will spend time updating our offensive and defensive system for 2009.
From my home in Dresden, I keep up with all that’s happening in the world of women’s basketball!! I LOVE that Internet!! I can follow European games, college games, college and pro news. I communicate often with our players all over the world, and stay in touch with college coaches who are working so hard to get to the Final Four in St. Louis! In my free time, I watch as many NBA games as I can. It’s my favorite way to look for new offensive and defensive ideas, as well as end game and special situations! I also play tennis once or twice a week (if it’s warm enough), and enjoy bridge with my bridge club.
I have watched already about 40 college women’s games on TV so far this season. I watch the top teams as well as the mid-majors – always looking for a sleeper that may be under the radar! So far I have seen most of the top prospects on TV.
In the next few months I will be heading out to watch players we are interested in drafting – both to see how they practice and play in person. I really like to watch a player practice, to see how she interacts with her teammates and her coaches. You see a player’s work ethic and leadership skills in practice. It also gives me a chance to talk to the staff about the player.
The dispersal draft reminds me that I was VERY disappointed to learn that the Houston team had folded. There is no doubt that Van Chancellor, Cynthia [Cooper], Tina [Thompson], and Sheryl [Swoopes] set the standard for excellence in our league with four world championships! What a sad day! The good news is, we were very pleased to secure Erica White from the dispersal draft. I followed her career at LSU and have always thought she was the quickest point guard I had ever seen. Her ability to penetrate and get to the rim as well as the free throw line (she shoots 90% at the line) will definitely help our team!
We are also excited about the 6th pick in the upcoming draft. I have my top 10 pretty set and am really focusing on learning everything about those players. We know we will get a great player – the question will be, do we take the best player available or do we take the player that fits the need that we have???? Great question!
I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends!! All of my immediate family (seven of us) came to Dresden for a huge meal, prepared by Iron Chef Lin! We actually had enough food for Fort Campbell, a military base about an hour from Dresden! It’s a tradition in the South to have everyone’s favorite dish. Of course we had a big turkey, and also a big ham, dressing and gravy, cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potatoes with gouda cheese, macaroni and tomato, turnip greens, fried corn, green beans, gorgonzola salad, and cornbread ... and apple cranberry pie for dessert!
For Christmas we will gather again, but we've decided to keep it simple! Barbeque, ribs, baked beans, slaw, turnip greens and cornbread (we always have to have cornbread and turnip greens).
Before I close, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you. YOU are such wonderful, loyal, faithful fans and we truly appreciate your support. We want you to have a championship, and as we celebrate our 10th anniversary season, please know that will be our number one goal!
"Share the holidays with those you love – and cherish every minute you have together!"