June 13, 2012
One of the first things newly hired University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico wanted to do before her introduction to the media was establish a connection with the players. She did that the day before she was officially and formally introduced as the ninth head coach in Michigan women's basketball history.
It didn't take long for Barnes Arico to establish a connection with the players and, soon after, make a hire that will help her sustain it. Joy McCorvey became the first assistant coach hired under Barnes Arico and is the youngest on the staff. For some coaching regimes across the country, having a younger coach helps maintain a connection and strengthen communication lines with the players.
McCorvey joined the inaugural staff after sitting alongside Barnes Arico at St. John's University last season (2011-12). Her relationship with Barnes Arico extends further than the bench; she played for Barnes Arico and the Red Storm from 2006-10.
The head coach, Michigan's tradition, reputation, resources and a great opportunity were all the factors McCorvey expressed in making the decision to come to Ann Arbor. She answered a few questions in this exclusive version of Coach's Corner.
Students, fans and alumni: Submit a question to any member of the coaching staff for an upcoming Coach's Corner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What attracted you to the Michigan assistant coaching position?
A: Michigan is a really great school, academically and athletically. My previous boss (Kim Barnes Arico) from St. John's came to Michigan, so that made it even more attractive. It's just a family-oriented community; so far, everyone has been very helpful.
Q: What has impressed you the most?
A: The campus is beautiful, the facilities are top of the line, and the resources and everything that Michigan has -- this program can be one of top programs in the country.
Q: What surprised you since joining the staff?
A: Nothing really surprised me. I knew before the interview that this was a great place to be and I knew that from meeting with everyone. To witness how genuine and helpful and how much pride everyone has, I knew that this was going to be a great fit and so far it has been very good.
Q: Before your interview, what did you know about the history of the University of Michigan and the women's basketball program?
A: I knew that Michigan has a wealth of history both in academics and athletics. Last year at St. John's we were actually in the first round of the NCAA playoffs with Michigan. I got to see them play a little bit, I got to know their style just from watching them. The program in the last three years has taken off. And now, it's time for us to build on that and take it even further.
Q: What do you remember about Michigan's play during the NCAA Tournament?
A: I think they are a very hard-working team. They are very fundamentally sound. They did a lot of great things on the floor. I think we can take their solid play and mix it with Coach Barnes Arico's style and build from that.
Q: Before playing collegiately and coaching, if someone were to say "the University of Michigan," what would be the first thing that comes to mind?
A: The Big House! And just how successful their football program has been and also just how great the academic program is.
Q: Right after graduating from college you're an assistant coach in the Big East and now you're an assistant in the Big Ten. Do you feel that your career is moving quickly?
A: I am very blessed and fortunate to have the opportunities that I have, partly due to Coach Arico and her believing in me and seeing the passion I have for the game and the passion I have for being a coach. I have a great mentor, and with the staff that we have I know I will only become better as an assistant coach learning from them. I'm just very fortunate. And I'm very appreciative of the opportunities.
Q: You've known Coach Barnes Arico the longest. What is she like off the court?
A: She's a great person, first and foremost. She's very caring. She's driven. She's been successful and her record speaks for her. She knows what it takes to get it done, she knows what it takes to be successful. And I think that, for me, those are the people you want to work for and those are the people you want to be around. She's taken me under her wings not only as a player but as a coach. She's mentoring me and helping me in every aspect of the game. I think she's just a really great person. She's a great individual on and off the court. She knows what it takes.
Q: What are some of the advantages of being a young coach who is within a five- to six-year age range of the student-athletes?
A: I think the biggest advantage is that you can relate more to the players. Not too long ago, you were in their shoes. So the players respect you and know you do understand and you can be a mentor to them, hopefully help to guide them on the right track so when they graduate, they can be successful in whatever direction they decide to go in life.
Q: What is something that few people know about Joy McCorvey off the court and out of the coaching basketball?
A: I want to go skydiving and I like to play the piano. I started playing when I was little. I don't play anymore because I don't have a piano here, but I have a piano at home. I played for 10 years and my favorite type of music to play is classical.
Contact: Zena Lewis (734) 763-4423