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Goestenkors introduced as new Longhorns coach

AUSTIN, Texas -- She's still learning the "Eyes of Texas,"
and her sweater was ever-so-close to burnt orange.

Gail Goestenkors figures she has plenty of time to work on her
singing voice and update that wardrobe away from Duke blue.
Introduced as the new women's basketball coach at Texas on
Thursday, the 44-year-old Goestenkors said she'll be here until she
retires.

"This is it for me," Goestenkors said. "There's no other job
that would interest me."

She can even build a pretty nice nest egg with a seven-year
contract that guarantees her at least $1 million annually and
incentives that could push it to close to $1.3 million, making her
one of the highest paid women's coaches in the country.

Goestenkors built a national power over the last 15 years with
Duke, but came to Texas for a chance to lead a program considered
among the vanguards of women's college athletics.

"It was tough for me to leave, but I felt it really was time to
make a change," Goestenkors told the crowd of about 200 Texas
officials, cheerleaders, fans and media who attended her
introductory news conference. "I knew deep in my heart this is the
place I wanted to be to start a new tradition and bring back the
glory."

Goestenkors ranked No. 1 on Texas' list since March 12 when Jody
Conradt, one of two Division I coaches with 900 wins, retired after
the Longhorns didn't make the NCAA tournament for the second
straight year.

"The University of Texas is a special institution, and we
believe it attracts people with good hearts and minds," said
women's athletic director Chris Plonsky. "Gail possesses skill,
integrity and class."

Goestenkors was in Austin for three days last week for an
interview process she called a "validation" of why she wanted to
come to Texas.

She got the red-carpet treatment and the hard sell from football
coach Mack Brown, men's basketball coach Rick Barnes, baseball
coach Augie Garrido and women's track coach Bev Kearney. Brown,
Barnes and Kearney attended Thursday's news conference.

"[Brown] put the full-court press on me," Goestenkors said.
"The one common thread: There's greatness here. ... This is not
about money. This is about people. This is about a challenge."

Goestenkors left a Duke program where she won five Atlantic
Coast Conference championships, went to four Final Fours and
reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament the past 10 years.
The Blue Devils played for the national title in 1999 and 2006 but
lost both times.

Conradt, who won her only national championship in 1986 when
Goestenkors was a graduate assistant at Iowa State, said she
believes Goestenkors is a perfect fit.

"Texas is a special place," said Conradt, who coached the
Longhorns for 31 years. "I think she is an excellent choice."

Goestenkors faced a whirlwind 48 hours.

She met with her new team Tuesday night, was due in Atlanta on
Thursday night to receive the Naismith national coach of the year
award and was scheduled to fly to Europe on Friday because she's an
assistant on the USA Basketball senior national team. She squeezed
in some time Thursday morning to contact recruits and make sure
they knew about her job change.

Longhorns guard Erika Arriaran said the Texas players are
excited.

"This is like a dream," Arriaran said. "She said we need to
win championships, and I think we're all on the same page."

When she gets back from Europe, Goestenkors will have to stock
up on some new burnt-orange shirts. She admitted the sweater was
something she pulled out her closet -- it still had the tags on it --
but it was close enough to burnt orange that it looked almost
perfect.

Besides, she's already got a cell phone with an "Eyes of
Texas" ring tone.