Storm Q&A: Jenny Boucek
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | January 13, 2011
The Seattle Storm announced Thursday that Jenny Boucek has been named an assistant coach for the 2011 season, remaining with the team's coaching staff of Head Coach Brian Agler and Assistant Coach Nancy Darsch. A member of the organization for both of the Storm's championship teams, Boucek spent 2007-09 as head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs. Boucek chatted with stormbasketball.com about the Storm's coaching staff, last season's run to the title and what lies ahead in 2011.
What is it like to be part of a coaching staff with such depth and experience in terms of an ABL and WNBA Coach of the Year supported by two assistant coaches who have experience as head coaches in the WNBA?
It's a unique situation, very special, and something I value and don't take for granted. I'm working with two of the best coaches with a vast array of experiences from Nancy's Olympic experience and incredible success at the college level and multiple experiences at the WNBA level and then Brian, he's got another very impressive résumé and a vast amount of experience in college, the ABL and now the WNBA. It's a real treat to get to go to work every day with people who have the same vision, the same mission with their level of maturity and experience and to just sit around the table and put our heads together to try to come up with what we can do to help the team the most. I look forward to working with them every day. I do think that we balance each other out very well and I think we make a good team. That's fun.
What did you see yourself bringing to that group last season?
You'd have to ask Brian and Nancy that one. I think we are very different in a lot of ways, but we're very alike in the things that really matter. We might have a little bit different personalities or leadership styles, but on the deeper things of why we coach and what we believe in and the overall mission, vision and morals, I think we're very much alike. That makes for, I think, a great team as a coaching staff. It was really fun to work with them - same agenda.
Both the 2004 and 2010 championship coaching staffs included you. It seems only natural, then, that you deserve the credit, right? Right? (Laughs.) No, you can credit Sue (Bird) and Lauren (Jackson) for that and you can also credit KB (Karen Bryant) and our owners and Brian for bringing the right pieces in. I was a small part of that, but there were a lot of parts to what we did last summer and what we did in 2004. I was just fortunate to be a part of that. You can't exclude Missy (Bequette) from that. Missy's a big part of what goes on here too. She's more behind the scenes, but she's another common denominator. She doesn't get recognized with the position that she's in, but she was here for both seasons as well.
More seriously, you do have a unique perspective on the two championship teams. How do you compare and contrast them?
I think because Sue and Lauren are the only two players that were the same, I think the difference in where they were in their career then and where they are now, that's a big difference just because they are two huge common denominators. To see them as 23 year olds, they were young and it came pretty quickly for them. We had some veterans on the team who were important ingredients who recognized how hard it was. The Sheri Sams, who were in the latter stages of their career and had already accomplished everything individually and were very hungry - that's all they were focused on. So we had that hunger and the focus from some of the vets on the team who knew how difficult it was and appreciated the challenge. Sue and Lauren, at that time I don't think they realized how hard it was and how rare it is for everything to come together like it needs to. Now here we are six years later and I think they have a great appreciation for how difficult it was, how focused you need to be and how much it is something to treasure and not take lightly. I saw them having a completely different perspective than they did six years ago. They became those hungry veterans with laser focus on the championship.
What does the experience of 2005 teach you going into the upcoming season and another attempt to defend a title?
Just how hard it is, especially when you're a team that's not really expected to win - and I don't know that we were expected to last year. People thought we had a chance going into the season, but I don't know that we were the favorite going into last season and we definitely weren't in 2004. The next year, I don't know that you can explain it - it's a very intangible thing - but when you're the defending champions, everything is a lot harder. In some ways, just as much as the physical challenge to stay healthy and be playing well, it takes another level of the emotional and the mental part of the game - a whole different level of those intangible elements of winning. The thing that's a little bit different than 2004 - because of the season that we had last year, we started to have to deal with that through the year. By the time the playoffs came, we were the favorites, so we did actually experience more of that than we did in 2004. In 2004, even going into the playoffs, we had lost six of nine games, so we had no expectations. This team has already tasted a little bit of that through the last season. They've shown great maturity already in some of the areas we're going to have to show great maturity coming up.
What are you most looking forward to as the 2011 season draws nearer?
The challenge. That's always, I think, what drives all of us. As competitors, you're looking for the next challenge. It's an extreme challenge to win a championship and I think we did a great job with how we did that last year from start to finish. I think we did that in an impressive fashion last year, but now we have a whole new set of challenges. Like I said, the physical challenges of a WNBA season and performing at a high level, but you have a whole new level of intangible challenges. Sometimes, I think that with the repeat, your challenges become as much internal as they are external. Handling success is a different challenge than handling adversity, but it's a challenge. I don't know exactly what our challenges are going to be this upcoming season, because you're dealing with people, but there will be some new challenges for us in terms of repeating and the external battles that we'll have as well as the internal challenges we'll have handling success.