Women’s basketball coach Grentz talks about team, coaching philosophy

Womens basketball coach Grentz talks about team, coaching philosophy

By Dave Fultz

The Daily Illini sat down with women’s basketball head coach Theresa Grentz to talk about this year’s team and her philosophies as a coach, motivator and teacher.

Grentz was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, and has amassed over 650 victories in her 32-year coaching career.

She will begin her 12th season at Illinois Friday night as the Illini open their exhibition season at the Assembly Hall against Clarion University at 7 p.m.

Question: How was the team’s trip to Italy this summer?

Answer: It was great. It was a chance for all the players to be with each other, spend time with each other and to sightsee. It was nice to do all of those things and play games. I really do believe that a lot of the things that were beginning there will blossom into this season.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    I just think that they were able to build friendships in a culture that was different from ours and were able to learn about each other. They learned a lot about each other that they didn’t know and that is always a positive.

    Q: Do you have any particular lineups in mind for this season?

    A: There is a lot of different ways that we can go.

    The thing is that we are big, and I want to play big. We have to get comfortable with each other. We will work to become comfortable with each other so that we can read each other and know what (each other) is going to do before she does it. That is the point we are trying to get to.

    Q: Senior Audrey Tabon was injured during the Orange & Blue Scrimmage on Tuesday. What is the latest news on her status?

    A: Audrey has a torn right ACL. She will be out for the season; we’ll do an MRI and discuss surgery. There are decisions that haven’t been made yet. She’ll rehab and begin playing again, hopefully, in the summer. We are hoping for a full recovery and a redshirt. She’ll be doing everything with us; she’ll travel with us and do all of those things.

    Q: Does Audrey’s injury put any extra pressure on Erin Wigley (the only other senior on the team) to step up and be a leader?

    A: I don’t think it puts any extra pressure on Erin because Erin already is a leader.

    I have just been so pleased and so proud of just watching her grow as a person.

    If anything, the thing that probably hurts the most for Erin is the fact that Audrey won’t be out there physically playing with her, because they were buddies.

    Q: Is it true that you wanted to be a teacher before you started coaching?

    A: I never wanted to coach, I had no desire to, but I loved teaching.

    One of the things that was said to me when I was getting ready to move from elementary school teaching to collegiate coaching was said by the principal at the school I was teaching at. She pulled me aside and said to me, ‘We’ve watched you and you are a teacher, but your classroom will not be the conventional classroom that ours is. Your classroom will be the world.’

    At that point, I had really no idea what that person was saying to me, but as I look back now over the years, that was probably one of the most profound statements that anyone ever said to me.

    Q: What is your recruiting philosophy? What do you look for and expect out of girls?

    A: Recruiting is so difficult. You’re looking for people with integrity; people who are coachable, teachable and who really are going to strive to be the best that they can be.

    When you deal with human beings, they are going to make mistakes.

    Q: What do you feel is a student athlete’s responsibility while in college?

    A: College should be that next building block in a person’s life.

    You should be able to go to college and make a mistake, realize you’ve made a mistake, correct it, and learn from it. You learn from your failures far more than you learn from your successes.

    Q: What is your basketball philosophy?

    A: I’ve always liked to play big. I like big plays and big players.