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New women’s basketball coach to be introduced today

April 26, 2012

EMU has announced a press conference, scheduled for 1 pm today in the Convocation Center atrium, at which President Susan Martin and Athletics Director Derrick Gragg will introduce the new women’s basketball head coach. Everybody and their mother expects it to be Kansas assistant Tory Verdi.

As we covered Tuesday, Verdi has been an assistant coach in the Big XII for the last seven years, prior to which he spent two years as an assistant in the WNBA. He also does have limited head coaching experience, having led the Springfield Spirit (National Women’s Professional Basketball League) for one season, and served as interim head coach at Columbia University (Division I – Ivy League) for about half a season.

The biggest concern about Verdi is the lack of any local connections, so if he is introduced this afternoon, I’d expect him to look locally for several of his assistant coaches. Several fans have also expressed concern about a man coaching the women’s basketball team — he would be the first man to do so at EMU — and while part of me agrees with ESPN that women’s basketball needs more women coaches, a bigger part of me simply wants the best coach the Eagles can get, and if that turns out to be a man…well, Geno Auriemma doesn’t seem to have had any problems as a man coaching women. If you’re interested in a historical perspective, here’s a reasonably in-depth New York Times piece on the issue.

In the meantime, stay tuned for details this afternoon. The press conference will be streamed free on Eagle All-Access, and we’ll have a recap of the day’s doings tonight.

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