Women's Basketball Coach Melissa McFerrin Meets the Memphis Media
April 23, 2008
Complete audio located here.
Complete video of the press conference located here.
Athletic Director R.C. Johnson
We started out and we kind of had three criteria we were hoping for. Number one was Division I experience, and within that framework some Division I recruiting. Number two, we wanted someone who had some success along the way in recruiting, in coaching and in their personal lives, and number three was, if at all possible, someone that had been a head coach. It does help to have walked a mile in those shoes, and I'm very pleased to tell you that we found someone that has met all three of those categories and exceeded all of them.
Head Coach Melissa McFerrin
First of all, I just want to say thank you to R.C. and Lynn. It is a really great opportunity to be at the University of Memphis and I can't begin to tell you my excitement level about being here and I would like to tell them thank you for the opportunity.
I would also like to say, I'm a basketball coach and the University of Memphis has some incredible potential and we plan to very definitely take advantage of that potential. I'm really excited. I've spent a couple days here already, but I'm excited to keep moving forward, excited to get to know our team, get to know the city of Memphis and look forward to really great things. I have said this, first in my meeting with RC and with Lynn, and I'll also say it to anyone who asks, we will strive to become the class of Conference USA. That is our goal, that is our vision, that is what we will plan to happen over the next three or four years. It will be a process, but we are going to do it by building this program from the inside-out. The city of Memphis will be incredibly important to us in terms of recruiting, in terms of fan support, in terms of anything that we want to do, we want the city of Memphis to be central.
I spent some time yesterday with some high school coaches and some AAU coaches, but I think they're very anxious for the City of Memphis to reclaim their love of Tiger women's basketball and they're really anxious for us to be incredibly successful. I also want to recruit players that have a passion about the way they play the game. I think anybody who comes to the University of Memphis should have that passion and we're going to begin our process with those types of players, hopefully from Tennessee and the city of Memphis, and going forward, I think we're going to see us be successful with those types of players.
I'm excited about playing at FedExForum, I'm excited at being at Elma Roane Fieldhouse, I think we have an incredible combination of things that allow us to be successful. I know that we have an incredible, competitive advantage when we're at Elma Roane. I know that from a recruiting perspective, FedExForum is going to bring a lot of notoriety to the University of Memphis women's basketball, and I'm really excited about the opportunity to recruit young people to this place, to get degrees and to represent the University of Memphis incredibly well.
I have met our team on one occasion, spent a little bit of time with them. These are young ladies that have goals, that have dreams, and have a vision of where they want to go. I shared with them my vision, the vision to be the class of Conference USA. We will build our team around a set of team values that I think every young lady in that room can grasp, can love and can use to represent the University of Memphis. The first thing we will do is build our program around a level of respect that goes both ways, that extends from our team in to the community. We will be a team that works incredibly hard. We will be a team that has effort at the center of everything we do and that will begin with our coaching staff and the commitment that we have to our players to work very hard to put this program back in its rightful position. We will be also a program that has a winning attitude, that has an attitude that will allow us to be successful. We will have accountability within our program, and I jokingly told our players yesterday if I walk in and teach a bad drill, they are free to tell me Melissa that was a bad drill, so I'm accountable to them as well.
One thing that's also very important to me within our program is loyalty and when I walk in to that meeting room and met the team for the very first day, those are now our players, and we will wrap our arms around them. We will help them become the people and players that they want to be, and I will also set the record straight in this forum right now, there will not be any conversation of my players and wait until you get your own players, these players are our players and we will show them loyalty first and I think this is a group that's really excited to be successful and I think they're going to buy in to who we want to become.
We're going to play a four-out, one in motion, we're gonna play fast. The faster we play, the better. We're going to recruit kids that can play fast, we've got a system that we play fast, we do not, however, play out of control, I must qualify that. We'll be a team that runs make, miss, turnover, steal. We're going to be a team that keeps a lot of pressure on the defense because of the tempo at which we are going to play. We are not run and gun, I will say that, we will still value the basketball and we will take very good shots, but we will also be a team again where tempo between the circles is going to be incredibly important, we will be a team that has a fairly structured, fairly extensive secondary break, and we will also be a team that runs a four out, one in motion type offense that puts a premium on athleticism, it puts a premium on penetrate and pitch type opportunities and hopefully we'll have one big in the middle that can kind of take care of the paint and we'll try to keep the double-team off of that player.
I think right now we've got to concentrate inside the loop (I-240) and extend outside of that as far as we need to. I spent the last weekend in Virginia Beach watching only Memphis players and Tennessee players, and very little else because I think it's important, in order for us to get started correctly here, those are the players we need to recruit first and those are the players that we need to have some reasonable opportunity to sign in November. Now, will we go back to other areas where we've had success recruiting in the past? Certainly, you may see us venture in to Chicago a little bit, possibly back to Washington, D.C., but right now, again, we're going to build this program from the inside out and we want the high school coaches and players in this community to feel that, and to know that, and to know that we are committed to players from West Tennessee.
I spent the last two days doing nothing but visiting with high school coaches in the area and their reception was great. They're anxious for the University of Memphis to return to their tradition of winning. We have that tradition and we're anxious to return to that as well.
I think we'll see them (possible assistants) start to fall in the next few days. I had a very competent staff at American University and I'm hopeful and nearly-certain that many of them will follow. You could see me make one addition to our staff, someone that would have significant West Tennessee ties, and/or someone who is a very self-sufficient recruiter, someone we can make in-roads very, very quickly in that area. That's where we're going to start this process is in the recruiting process, we should have some people on board. It's important that we have as many active hands as possible as soon as possible because it is a lengthy process, recruiting, and at this stage, we've got some ground to make up.