Q&A with Bulls Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack
Women’s basketball head coach weighs in on multiple topics
The Bulls (2-0, 0-0 MAC) are only two games into the season and already look impressive on both sides of the ball. Much of that success should be attributed to head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and the coaching staff.
The Spectrum met with Legette-Jack to talk about the upcoming season, the team’s previous success, her process on becoming the Bulls’ head coach and more.
Q: You have talked about putting more trust in your team and having them coach you as well, what do you mean by that?
A: Now that these young ladies have been with me for four years, they get it. They know the drills in practice. They know the expectations before the game and to shoot around. So now I am thinking that I should listen to what they want and what they need so we can better serve them when it comes to team management. They have accepted that responsibility and have been great with it thus far.
Q: What changes have been made from this new role you have given your team?
A: We work on drills they find more important instead of the ones they don’t like. We do more box out drills or post breakdowns opposed to our drills like 36 or one called Olympic shooting. I hear them and I listen to help create a better flow for practice. I change up the practices according to what they feel they need. But if they don’t bring that energy with those drills they choose, I expect them to regroup and really bring it and talk to their sisters [the team] because this is something I let them do.
Q: Coming off two of the most successful seasons in program history, do you ever find yourself reminiscing on your accomplishments?
A: Never. I have done some things as a player and a coach in the past, but if you look back you are going to miss the blessing of today. You can’t even deal with the word hope if you are not looking towards the future. Yesterdays were fun, but they are over. We are in the middle of a season, so therefore we need to continue to embrace the moment we are in.
Q: When you were hired as head coach in 2012, what was your mentality coming in and your ultimate goal for this team?
A: I was thankful I was given the opportunity to begin again because I came off of a program [in Indiana] where I was fired. After that, you take a personal feeling that you failed and to be able to get another opportunity was a blessing. Wherever I went, I knew I had the gift of giving to young women. I was given another platform to do that and it so happened to be the University at Buffalo. I embraced the opportunity and knew we were going to do it different; and [I was] excited for a second chance to bring in kids who stand for character and academics. We have been blessed to scour the world and find some amazing young ladies and help them with their future.
Q: Speaking of your scouting, you have recruited players from Australia, Canada and all over America. How do you keep such a global eye being here in Buffalo?
A: My assistant coach Cherie Cordoba is a very gifted young lady who is from Australia. She has played overseas in Holland and Amsterdam and has made some great contacts. You know, when you're a good person too, people stay in touch with you and she is a great coach. This is our third stint together starting with Hofstra, Indiana and now here. So we know what we like and what we do to win. Ever since she has been on my staff, we have won and the season she left we didn’t have success. She is a major part of building here and I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she does for our program.
Q: Were you happy to be able to stay in Buffalo, being from Western New York and having played for the Syracuse Orange?
A: I was blessed to be able to stay here. I was planning on moving to Charlotte and becoming a life coach and talking to people about motivation. I was so happy to be able to come here because I was born and raised in Syracuse. My mom still lives in Syracuse. When I was in Indiana, I saw my mom six times a year. Now I could see her six times a month if I wanted to. It is a blessing to be able to do what you do and love what you do, while being able to see your family. I got lucky.
Q: What have been your big takeaways from the first three games so far?
A: We want to go fast. We are going to turn the ball over a lot more this year and that is something I am comfortable with. I think in order for this to grow, we have to treat it like a butterfly. It has to go through some time first before it can become this beautiful thing. It is a challenge. In order for us to be great, I have to let this thing evolve into something special.
Q: How do you feel the team can improve on an individual level?
A: All of us can always be better. What that means for everyone can be different. It could mean more film, more time at the hoop, more time in the gym. It varies from person to person. What they all need to do though, is put their personal lives aside and focus on academics and basketball.
The Bulls’ next game is Nov. 23 on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten).
Thomas Zafonte is senior sports editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org