A Coach’s First Season: A Mid-Week Wrapup

November 18, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

Redshirt junior point guard Amber White had a career-high 25 points and freshman guard Marissa Kastanek added  20 points to lead the Wolfpack women’s basketball team past Florida Atlantic, 84-70, last night at Reynolds Coliseum. Get a full game recap and box score at GoPack. An after-the-game interview with Coach Kellie Harper is below. In it, Coach Harper, who is one game shy of 100 career victories, talks about how and why she can’t remember the first game she ever won as a head coach but why she remembers the first one she lost (it came against Clemson).

Update: Coach Harper will go for win No. 100 Friday night when the Wolfpack takes on Davidson at 7 p.m. in Reynolds. An interesting sidenote is that Coach Harper’s former coach at Tennessee, the legendary Pat Head Summitt, picked up her 100th career victory against  . . . NC State. The Lady Vols beat the Wolfpack 79-66 in Reynolds on Jan. 13, 1979. It took Summitt about four years to hit the century mark.

WUNC, North Carolina’s public radio station, also aired a story this morning that gave a good overview of the team and looked into what it’s like for Coach Harper to work with her husband, assistant coach Jon Harper. Listen to the 5-minute broadcast here: Wolfpack WBB Team on WUNC

About working under his wife, Jon Harper told WUNC:

It’s certainly different. We’re probably a lot more casual than a typical assistant coach and head coach situation. Sometimes I maybe should keep my mouth shut more; at the same time I know she wants that.

Also interviewed during the broadcast was junior forward Tia Bell, who shared her reaction to learning that she would be playing under two coaches who were married:

Wow. That was a first. I don’t think I’ve ever played or heard of a married couple coaching together. I guess that will help build chemistry. Your  team is . . . your family, so we got used to it quick. On the court, I guess they leave their business behind.

Coach Harper closed out the discussion on working with her husband with the following:

No offense to all the guys out there, a lot of  men couldn’t do what he does. His ego is checked every single day, and he sits back and takes it all in from a different seat and handles it. . . .

I can’t imagine going home after a loss and him patting me on the back and saying, “It’s OK.” It’s not OK. We just lost. So when I go home, in those moments now, he’s just as miserable as I am. Folks say you can’t take it home; we can’t not take it home.

Finally, we’ve posted our exclusive photos, taken by Peyton Williams, from the team’s opening game against Florida International. There are from photos from before the game, during the game and after the game. There are some really great shots, so be sure to go through them all.

One final note: As you can tell, and due to our other responsibilities, we won’t be able to make it to every single practice and game this season, but we plan to have regular updates and features. Coming soon will be an interview with senior Nikitta Gartrell; and next week, we’ll have an extended Q&A with Coach Harper before the team heads out to play in a Thanksgiving tournament. We’ll also be introducing a guest-blogger who’ll be at every home and away game this season and who can offer perspectives and observations that very few can. So keep checking back in with us throughout the season.

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