Interview With Seattle University Women’s Basketball Coach

Interview With Seattle University Women’s Basketball Coach

Dec 17, 2015 / By : / Category : Interview, NCAA

Seattle University Women's Basketball

Welcome to Interview #36.

I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Coach of Seattle University, Joan Bonvicini.

 

Coach Joan Bonvicini, one of the most successful coaches in women’s collegiate basketball history, has been with the Seattle University women’s basketball team since 2009. Formerly she coached at the University of Arizona and Long Beach State.

The veteran head coach completed her sixth season at Seattle University in 2014-15 behind an all-time 692-400 record and is currently 10th on the NCAA Division I wins list for active Division I women’s college basketball coaches. She is also the 18th winningest coach all-time among Division I women’s basketball coaches. She became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 600-win mark in February 2007. The Redhawk head coach also boasts 22 20-win seasons over her historic coaching career.

Coach Bonvicini’s full bio is at the end of the interview.

Read on. This interview is full of priceless information!

What are some ways that recruits can get you to take an interest in them?

The best way for recruits to get noticed is to be a special player and/or play on a very good team. If you have good statistics…high scoring average, boards, assists that will get you noticed. The other way is to play on a good travel team that plays in competitive tournaments that college coaches attend. I would also send emails with video links of games or highlights. Send transcripts and a HS Game schedule.

How early do athletes need to be noticed to have a chance to play at a Division 1 school?

It is never too early to get noticed by college coaches. The earliest I saw a player and made an offer was when she was 9 years old. This player did play for me and was an All-American. Most players get noticed by their freshman or sophomore year of HS.

When is it too late?

Seattle University Women's BasketballThe latest is usually after a HS senior season. Some players bloom late and have a great senior year. If they still don’t get recruited, they can attend JC to improve their basketball skills and/or grades.

What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the NCAA College recruiting process?

Biggest mistake is saying or thinking that they will only attend a certain school or schools. Or waiting too long to say yes to a school. It is more important to go to a school that really wants you and you have a chance to play.

A lot of recruits get confused by which coach is recruiting them and what that means? Can you talk about roles and interactions recruits can expect from assistants and the head coach during the recruiting process?

Coaches contact a number of recruits to get a feel about them as a person and gauge their interest. Just because a coach sends an email, text or watches a game doesn’t mean they are serious. When a coach does that numerous times and then makes an offer or wants to speak with your parents or guardians, they are serious. Also, when the head coach gets involved on a multiple time basis, the school is serious.

Should prospective athletes bring up scholarships with coaches or wait on the coach to initiate that discussion?

Seattle University Women's BasketballSmart prospective student-athletes should ask about a scholarship offer soon after a coach makes an initial contact. They will find out right away if a coach is serious or waiting to watch more games on them. They should also ask where they stand on their list of recruits. Are they #1, #2, #3, etc.?

For a Division 1 school, how and when are scholarships offered?

Scholarships can be offered anytime verbally. That is called a verbal offer and if a player says yes, that is a verbal commitment. Usually, offers are made during a player’s junior year or junior summer.

How much time do athletes typically have to respond?

Each coach and school should give a time line as to when they expect a player to decide and make a commitment. Some coaches may say I have two/three offers out and the first who takes it gets it. I would not recommend committing to any school until you take an unofficial or official visit with your parents or coaches. Ask a bunch of questions to the coaches and players and see how you will fit in.

How do you use social media when recruiting?

Seattle University Women's BasketballWe use social media quite often with recruits, coaches and parents. We use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We share what it is like being a student-athlete on our team and school.

What is your advice to recruits about social media? Are some things that would keep you from recruiting a player?

Be very careful about what you post on your social media accounts. We read everything and have stopped recruiting players if their accounts are negative, have profane language or negative pictures or bullying.

Now I want to turn the interview a bit more personal. It is not often prospective college athletes and their parents have the opportunity to hear the wisdom of a coach who has been so long in the trenches and so successful.

Can you give us examples of how meeting the demands of collegiate athletics has prepared your former players in their lives after college?

I have had a tremendous career and loved the time I have spent with my student-athletes. It is not just the 4 years but long after they graduate. Many of them come back and share stories of how their experience as a student-athlete has helped them in the workplace and personally. Such as being a team player, accepting criticism, working long hours, setting goals. It has been a very special journey.

There are incredible ladies on your basketball team now. There are also 30 plus years of other amazing women who have played for you.

What is the nature of your relationships with your current players?

I love my players and see them as my extended family. I definitely work them hard but always have a door open for them to talk with me or my asst. coaches. We discuss a lot more than basketball off the court. I care about them as people first, students and then basketball players. They understand that they have a tremendous opportunity to receive a scholarship but with that is a responsibility to be a team player, do the work in practice and outside practice to be a special player and to be a good student. Additionally, there is extra time with community service and being a role model.

How does the relationship change over their lives as they move onto careers and families of their own?

The relationship definitely changes as they leave school and move on to their own lives but it is even more rewarding for me. If I have helped them in any way to build confidence to achieve something new, or get through a tough time in their lives it is special. Numerous former basketball players are in touch with me. I love talking with my current and former players and sharing stories. If I can help them in any way, they know they can count on me.

You are one of the most successful NCAA Division 1 coaches of all time in terms of wins, 692 before the 2015-2016 season began. Looking back at your career so far, is it the wins you remember or something else?

Seattle University Women's BasketballI do remember many of the wins. But, it is really the experiences and the relationships that I cherish the most. The people that have helped me and influenced me to be successful are what I cherish and remember. All the Asst coaches and players who have worked tirelessly with me to accomplish goals that are so special is what has been the most satisfying.

Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or basketball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?

I would share first that you get good grades and know that you use basketball…don’t let basketball use you. Play and enjoy every experience you have in high school, travel ball and college. Play because you love it!

A special thanks to Mike Centioli and Mark Nessia for the pictures.

Profile:

Coach Joan BonviciniJoan Bonvicini, one of the most successful coaches in women’s collegiate basketball history has been with the Seattle University women’s basketball team since 2009. Formerly she coached at the University of Arizona and Long Beach State.

The veteran head coach completed her sixth season at Seattle University in 2014-15 behind an all-time 692-400 record and is currently 10th on the NCAA Division I wins list for active Division I women’s college basketball coaches. She is also the 18th winningest coach all-time among Division I women’s basketball coaches. She became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 600-win mark in February 2007. The Redhawk head coach also boasts 22 20-win seasons over her historic coaching career.

In 2012-13, Bonvicini led the Redhawks to a regular season conference title in their first season with full Division I status and their first season in the Western Athletic Conference. She was named WAC Coach of the Year and was named to the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Top 30.

Bonvicini led the Redhawks to one of the most successful seasons in program history during the 2011-12 season, notching their first 20-win season as an NCAA Division I program, as well as leading them to their first Division I postseason appearance (and wins) in school history. Seattle U made it to the semifinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Bonvicini helped guide the Redhawks through their first full season at the NCAA Division I level. During the season, she coached Seattle U to six DI victories in 2009-10.

Prior to joining Seattle U, she coached 13 All-Americans and two former US Olympic Team members. While at Arizona, 54 student-athletes earned Pacific-10 accolades and 21 earned conference academic honors.

At Arizona, Bonvicini accumulated a 287-223 (.563) record over 17 seasons. She led the Wildcats to nine postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournament berths and the WNIT Championship in 1996. She was head coach at Arizona from 1991 to 2008.

Bonvicini is in five halls of fame: the Southern Connecticut State Hall of Fame (1989), the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (1994), the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame (1996), the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame (2005), and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2007).

She started her head coaching career at Long Beach State in 1979, posting a 325-71 record (.821) in her 12 seasons with the 49ers. Long Beach State won 24 games or more every season with Bonvicini at the helm. The 49ers earned ten conference championships and ten straight berths in the NCAA Tournament, including Final Four appearances in 1987 and 1988.

With the 49ers, she was named the 1981 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year. Following the 1985-86 season she was named the Region VIII and PCAA Coach of the Year. In 1984, she was named WCAA Coach of the Year and has also been honored by the city of Long Beach as their 1989 “Citizen of the Year”.

The East Coast native spent two seasons as an assistant at Long Beach State before being promoted to head coach at age 25. Prior to joining the 49ers, she began her coaching career as an assistant at Cal Poly – Pomona in Southern California.

A guard during her playing days, Bonvicini helped Southern Connecticut State earn third-and fourth-place finishes in the AIAW Championships. In 1975, she was named Region I-A MVP and an honorable mention All-American. She was a finalist for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.

Next, take a look at What is NCAA Division 1?

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Keep in the conversation,

Bryan

 

 

 

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