Q&A: Lynx Owner Glen Taylor
Editor's Note: John Focke of the Lynx Radio Network interviewed owner Glen Taylor before the WNBA Finals about the team's rise to the top, the impact of coach Cheryl Reeve and the importance of bringing the franchise to Minnesota. The interview will also be played during the halftime show in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Lynx and the Indiana Fever on the Lynx Radio Network (Flagship BOB 106.1 FM). Tipoff is Wednesday at 7 PM at Target Center.
What has it been like for you watching this team get built from the ground up into the team they are today? How has this ride been for you?
Glen Taylor: Itís been just a really pleasure to watch this as the team has been getting better, and even the last few years when we knew we were a better team but we just were dealing with injury issues, we werenít able to play as well as we would have if everybody had been healthy. So that was a little discouraging, but then all of a sudden last year to see everyone remain healthy and to go through the season like we did just really made me proud of the team and thankful that we stayed with them.
JF: Whatís been one of the more rewarding part of watching this team compete and then interact with the community as well and how much they give back, not only to the city of Minneapolis but also the state as a whole?
GT: Obviously I enjoy watching their talents as basketball players and how theyíve meshed together as a team, and the way they have helped each other. But more so that we have taken the time over these years to get to know these young ladies as individuals. Theyíre just great young women who not only care about each other but also care about the community. I see how many wonderful things that they do not only for our fans but also for young girls who are fans of theirs and people who are in need, that they are so supportive of these people. It just makes me proud of our players.
JF: A couple years ago you brought in Cheryl Reeve to take over as the head coach. How has she gone about helping, along with the players you brought in, to change the atmosphere, the culture within Target Center for this team?
GT: Cheryl brings a number of unique qualities. First of all, she had helped coach with a team [Detroit Shock] who had won, so I think she had gone through that experience. Yet there are two different parts of her I would say. When I watch her coach, sheís a very serious, I donít know if the word tough is the right word, but she certainly has discipline working with the players and encouraging them, having very high expectations of them and getting them to work together. But on the other hand, I see the softer side of her, her caring for her players, her working with them so that they always think in terms of a team and helping each other. And itís just been the right person at the right time to take us through this playoff series when they need that type of leadership.
You had a message for her at the beginning of the year about winning games at home. This team has only lost one home game (heading into the WNBA Finals). That certainly seems to have lit a fire under her and the team. And then the fans have come out and supported this team so much as well. You get to sit courtside. The atmosphere at Target Center has been the best itís been in a long time during not only this year but last year as well.
GT: Surely the fans are so helpful on the home games and as Iíve shared with the players at the beginning of the year, we certainly want to win in front of our fans. I know we canít be perfect and play every game where we are going to beat every game. There are going to be occasions where weíre going to lose, but letís try not to do that at home. And Iíd say after losing just one game this year and the support of our fans has worked out so well for both the players and our fans. But the atmosphere at the games has been just tremendous. There have been some games where weíve been way behind and without their support we would have not caught up and won those games.
Youíve been with this WNBA team since Day 1. You brought them to Minnesota. Whatís the importance of having professional womenís basketball here in the State of Minnesota? Why is it something youíve jumped on and been behind since Day 1?
GT: I think one of the things is just that I have lived in Minnesota and have been so fortunate in my career to where I could own the Timberwolves and then bring the Lynx here. And I think just the responsibility is going to be tough, it wasnít going to be profitable, but somebody had to get behind it. And Iíve just been fortunate to have good businesses in Minnesota, so many great employees, so you want to do what you can. Such a large part of my family and my friends are women, this is just one of the areas where we could do something very special where a lot of people couldnít. So we got behind it when the opportunity came, and Iím just really proud and pleased with the growth of the Lynx organization.
JF: Itís been a fun ride so far this year. Weíre looking forward to hopefully another parade through downtown Minneapolis. Mr. Taylor, thank you so much for your time.
GT: No, thank you, John.
JF: Thatís Lynx owner Glen Taylor, right here on LynxBasketball.com.
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