Legette-Jack Introduced as new Women’s Basketball Coach
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
“The secret is out!”
Those were the words of Buffalo’s newest addition. Felisha Legette-Jack was named the new women’s basketball head coach on Tuesday morning at Alumni Arena.
“Humbled” and “blessed” by the opportunity to coach in the state of New York, she stressed this job is an opportunity to be a part of something special that she feels started with Athletic Director Danny White’s arrival.
“This place is a gem, a diamond in the rough,” Legette-Jack said. “Why would Mr. White leave Ole Miss, in the SEC, to come to Buffalo? Because he knows the secret. The secret is out. When Mr. White came here he let that secret out, and he brought me to be a part of it. You guys have kept this secret long enough. It’s time to let people know that Buffalo is unbelievable, and it’s time for us to run with the Bulls.”
Legette-Jack is no stranger to the New York area. Born and raised almost two hours away from Buffalo in Syracuse, she attended Syracuse University. As a student-athlete there, she accrued a number of individual accolades, earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors in 1985, and winning all-conference honors three times in her career. She finished her time with the Orange in 1989 as the all-time leader in rebounds (927) and second all-time in points (1,526).
She immediately jumped into coaching, where she was the head coach of Westhill High School in Syracuse, and made a stop at Boston College as an assistant before coming back to her alma mater for seven years as an assistant.
Her first big break as a college head coach came in 2001, when she was hired to coach a mid-major program in Hofstra University. While there, she led the Pride to levels of success that the program had rarely seen up to that point, winning 19 games in the 2005-06 season, which is second all-time in the program’s history.
The very next year, she was hired as Indiana University’s head coach. At Indiana, she had instant success, winning 18 games or more in each of her first three years in Bloomington, including a 21-win season in 2008-09, which culminated in a trip to the WNIT quarterfinals.
Her coaching pedigree as well as her energy on and off the court impressed White.
“We couldn’t be more excited about her experience,” White said. “She has a proven track record at building a program at the mid-major level. She’s a top-notch recruiter. She makes academics a priority. And finally, she has coaching experience at nearly every level. Most importantly, she wowed us. I think you’ll find in coach Legette-Jack an extremely passionate, high-energy person.”
That passion that White spoke of was immediately brought to light when Legette-Jack came up to speak. She referenced White’s opening press conference when he was named the new Athletic Director when she talked about the need for the community to embrace the program. She talked about having a swagger, and not being afraid of any other program in the Mid-American Conference.
But more importantly, she expressed the need to put her players in a position to succeed.
“These young ladies have been yearning and wanting and desiring to be something significant,” Legette-Jack said. “This is not going to be about me. I’ve done some good things as a student-athlete, I’ve done some things as a coach, but I think that it’s important that the face of the program are these young ladies.”
She plans to bring a defensive philosophy to the program, as she was well-known as a defensive specialist during her time as a student-athlete as well as a coach.
“We are gonna be about defense,” Legette-Jack said. “We are going to defend what’s rightfully ours. We are gonna make it our mantra, something that we can hold on to. We can’t always score that bucket, but we can always play defense. You can always stop somebody.”
Legette-Jack hopes to make that similar instant impact like she has with Hofstra and Indiana, on a team that’s coming off a 9-22 season.