April 26, 2012
University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.
All the confidence we expected to see from our new women's basketball coach was on display Monday (April 23) when we introduced Kim Barnes Arico as our ninth head coach. Her introductory press conference does not guarantee winning seasons and championships, but it did allow Kim to start putting her stamp on the program and give our fans and followers an idea of what she is all about.
We first had the opportunity to watch Kim coach almost by accident. Her St. John's team was playing in the same NCAA Regional in Norman, Okla., where our Wolverines found themselves. Even though we were not looking for a coach at the time, Kim caught our eye.
The way she interacts with and relates to her players, her style of coaching, and her on-court demeanor caught our attention quickly. After St. John's won the NCAA Regional final, the players on the floor ran to Kim for the celebration. It was easy to see from the interaction that her student-athletes trusted and believed in her leadership.
So when Kevin Borseth decided to return to Wisconsin-Green Bay as its head coach, we knew the type of coach we wanted to pursue. Our women's basketball team's NCAA selection and placement gave us the advantage we needed.
Kim has coached her St. John's teams at the highest level. She knows how to compete for championships, and we are impressed with the type of student-athlete she recruits. And she did all of this in the Big East, where they have some outstanding women's basketball programs.
She cleared significant hurdles with the St. John's program. She walked into a program that many said could not be saved, and she built the best women's basketball program in the school's history.
Coaching for St. John's in the Big East against opponents such as Connecticut, Notre Dame and Rutgers has clearly prepared her to coach in the Big Ten Conference.
The level of competition continues to intensify throughout all sports. Coaches are required to develop not only a winning culture, but a championship culture. They need to recruit the type of student-athletes who can compete and succeed in that culture both on and off the field, arena, track, pool, course, mat or court.
Kim can do just that. She is a passionate coach who connects with her players, ignites their will to win, and helps them to succeed.
I am confident we are moving in the right direction with our basketball programs. The opening of the William Davidson Player Development Center was huge. Upgrading Crisler Center will make our facilities and infrastructure for men's and women's basketball second to none. Add the competitive improvements the Wolverines made with Borseth and his staff over the past couple of years, and the continuous improvement of our men's team under the leadership of John Beilein and his staff, and it is clear to see that Michigan's basketball programs have a bright and exciting future.
Everyone now knows how strongly we support and believe in Michigan basketball. All you have to do is consider where we have come from and where we are today. For Wolverine basketball, these are especially exciting times.
Everyone is working hard to help all of our programs win championships. We made a significant statement -- and a great decision -- in the hiring of Kim Barnes Arico.
After all, "it's the University of Michigan for God's sakes."
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