Last year OldGoldFreePress.com brought you interviews with some of the Big Ten's best players, including Iowa's Jennie Lillis and Michigan State's Liz Shimek. This year, we offer Q & A sessions with some of the Big Ten's coaches. Each Q & A session will be posted to the Web site a day or two before the Boilermakers' final game of the season with the opposing coach's team. I hope that you enjoy the feature.
The first Q & A is with Coach Joanne P. McCallie of Michigan State University. Before the January 26 game in East Lansing with the Boilermakers, the Spartans had a 16-3 overall record, 5-2 in the Big Ten. Some of those victories came against Boston College, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Minnesota. Coach McCallie is an alumna of Northwestern, graduating in 1987. This is her fifth year at the helm of the program. For more biographical information about Coach McCallie, check out the following page from the official MSU Web site: http://msuspartans.collegesports.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/mccallie_joannep.00.html.
Question: How did you become interested in coaching?
Answer: I am a coach by accident. I was in graduate school getting my MBA, and had every intention of returning to the private sector in business and really started to enjoy working with kids.
Q: Which coach (from any sport, any era) do you most admire and why?
A: I've always been a big fan of Jimmy V (Valvano) for his passion and the many good things he stood for, and later his courage during his fight with cancer.
Q: What is the best part about Michigan State University and the East Lansing, Michigan, community?
A: The people. It's an incredible community with incredible people and there is great support.
Q: What words do you want to come to mind when people think of MSU's women's basketball program?
A: Tough, gritty, fighters, intense, focused.
Q: What is good right now in the world of collegiate women's basketball?
A: The competition, the excitement, the parity and the intensity.
Q: True or False: It is more difficult to sustain a program's excellence than to achieve it initially.
Q: What traits or attributes do you look for when recruiting high school or junior college players?
A: Character, toughness, talent and how hungry they are.
Q: Can you describe how it feels when you coach against a former colleague or a very good friend?
A: It's not very enjoyable and not something I want to do, but it's something you sometimes have to do.
Q: How would you describe Purdue's Kristy Curry in one sentence?
A: She's a compassionate, caring coach.
Many thanks to Brad Gust for making this Q & A possible.