As a University of Michigan alum, I've spent a lot of time over the last few days struggling to even process the hiring of Kim Barnes Arico as head coach of the Wolverines women's basketball team.
As a fan, it's still hard to even put coherent words around it. As a women's basketball blogger, I can say this: beware the sleeping giant in Ann Arbor.
Or, hm, maybe I got that backwards.
Well, whatever - back to processing for me, but thankfully other people have already summarized Barnes Arico's introductory press conference in Ann Arbor that took place yesterday. In short, she "won" that press conference, but the details follow.
- The best sound byte of Barnes Arico's presser was everywhere, but bears repeating: "It's the University of Michigan, for God's sake." Fittingly, it was the same thing Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said, another recent hire who worked out extremely well for the Wolverines. Read more >>>
- David Goricki of The Detroit News suggests that at least one player seems to have taken note of Barnes Arico's impact on St. John's players - Jenny Ryan, who will be a senior next season, took note of how hard Red Storm players played while in the Norman, Oklahoma sub-regional during the 2012 NCAA women's basketball tournament. Read more >>>
Madison Ristovski highlights and interview from her 2012 Michigan Miss Basketball award ceremony.
- Kyle Bogenshutz of GoBlueWolverine.com highlighted one of the things that made Barnes Arico most excited on the court: incoming freshman Madison Ristovski, the top-ranked recruit in Michigan who was bound to have an impact on the team even before Barnes Arico was hired. Read more >>>
- Mick McCabe of the Detroit Free Press wrote that the perception of Barnes Arico as a "players' coach" might have been as big a factor as anything in Michigan hiring her. Read more >>>
- Nick Baumgardner of Ann Arbor.com turned attention back to why former Wolverines coach Kevin Borseth left to return to Wisconsin - Green Bay, which is something that is still worth of both further reflection and respect (in its honesty, if nothing else): his family noticed he wasn't fully happy. Read more >>>
- Joanne C. Gerstner of espnW reports that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said they didn't prioritize replacing Borseth with a female candidate, but chose Barnes Arico as the best person for the job. And hiring one of the best coaches in the country signals another key point by Brandon: he sees women's basketball "as a sport that has a huge upside." Read more >>>
- McCabe followed up with a Free Press article documenting the four previous coaching hires - including Borseth - who have called Michigan's women's basketball program a "sleeping giant" and failed fully to awaken the hidden beast. And he also offers a reason for the cycle of mediocrity: nobody at UM really cared about women's basketball. That appears to be changing now. Read more >>>