Legette-Jack to coach Indiana

Updated: April 19, 2006, 9:20 PM ET
Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Felisha Legette-Jack spoke with emotion, passion and humor Wednesday. Less than an hour later, she was eager to get started as Indiana's new women's basketball coach.

The former Syracuse star who spent the last four years as Hofstra's coach finally got the break she feared might never come and is taking over a Big Ten program in the heart of basketball country.

With Hoosiers players, her husband, David, and dozens of boosters in attendance, Legette-Jack showed everyone the excitement she will bring to the bench.

"You dream that this is where I want to go," she said. "Then God gives you the opportunity to be the head coach of what will be a women's basketball mecca in the future. Let me tell you, Indiana rocks!"

She had a 54-63 record at Hofstra after taking over a team that had not won a Colonial Athletic Association tournament game in four years. The Pride finished 19-12 this season and made their first postseason appearance with a WNIT bid.

Legette-Jack's first task in Bloomington will be stabilizing a program where she'll be the third coach in three seasons.

The job opened April 7 when Sharon Versyp resigned after one season to accept the head coaching job at rival Purdue. The Hoosiers were 19-14 and also made the WNIT. Kathi Bennett resigned last year after five seasons in Bloomington.

Legette-Jack, 39, signed a five-year contract that pays her at least $200,000 a year. Her base salary is $175,000 and she will receive an additional $25,000 a year for promotional work, athletic director Rick Greenspan said. The deal also includes incentives based on the Hoosiers' success.

Legette-Jack wasted little time in telling everyone her philosophy: using a mix of zone matchup and pressure defense, scoring in the 80s and winning consistently.

Players, who met with her for about 30 minutes before the news conference, liked what they heard.

"She's very energetic, very passionate about what she does and she seems like a great person," guard Leah Enterline said.

Greenspan said he interviewed many candidates and spoke with dozens of references before choosing Legette-Jack.

"The term I kept hearing was that she was absolutely a diamond in the rough, and that intrigued me," Greenspan said. "She really has a sense of passion for life and basketball and a lot of times in our business, people become very stoic because perhaps you don't want to show too much emotion."

Legette-Jack was a three-time all-Big East selection at Syracuse and still ranks as the Orange's career rebounding leader and second-leading scorer. She was an assistant at Boston College, Syracuse and Michigan State before going to Hofstra in 2002.

"We didn't come here just to coach basketball or just win a couple of games," she said. "We came here to win championships, so let's go to work."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press