Success draws interest from candidates

Updated: April 27, 2005, 4:03 PM ET
Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa athletic director Judy MacLeod had to drum up interest the last time the job of women's basketball coach came open. That won't be the case this time, she said Wednesday.

"I think it's a lot different, and my beliefs have already been confirmed by the volume of calls and e-mails being sent in," she said, just a day into a national search to replace Kathy McConnell-Miller.

The flood of interest is due in large part to the success of McConnell-Miller, who resigned Tuesday to take the head coaching job at Colorado, she said.

McConnell-Miller inherited a Tulsa program in 1999 that had scored just one winning season in its 14-year history. The program was dropped in 1987 and relaunched nine years later.

Under McConnell-Miller's guidance, Tulsa has averaged 15 wins and made back-to-back WNIT appearances the last two seasons. She was 91-88 in six seasons with the Golden Hurricane.

This season, the Golden Hurricane received votes in The Associated Press poll for the first time.

Also since Tulsa's last search, the women's team has traded its borrowed court for the sleek Reynolds Center. And it departs the Western Athletic Conference this year for Conference USA.

"I do think it's a different dynamic," MacLeod said. "The pool is definitely larger and of a very high quality."

MacLeod wasn't unprepared for McConnell-Miller's departure. Because the coach's success made her attractive to other programs, "we've had a list (of potential candidates) ready," she said.

In recent years, Tulsa's searches for new coaches have focused on the men's basketball and football programs. In March, Tulsa hired Michigan State assistant Doug Wojcik to lead the men's basketball team.

By mid-morning Wednesday, MacLeod had already made five phone calls in the newest search.

"I haven't done this in a while," she laughed, and then added, "we're going full steam ahead."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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