No gender discussions in committee room
Updated: Monday April 02, 2001 8:36 AM
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Maryalyce Jeremiah, the head of the NCAA women's basketball committee, bristled at the suggestion the committee intentionally puts several male coaches in a particular region so not as many can get to the Final Four.
"I have two emotional and two intellectual reactions to that," Jeremiah said Sunday. "One is that frankly, it's insulting to our game to have that statement ever made. I asked someone earlier, 'Do you seriously think that as a committee we sit in that room and talk about the gender of the coach?'"
"That has never been talked about, has never been discussed. And frankly, if there are coaches or other people in our game who are talking about this, they are hurting the very game they coach."
The issue surfaced in 1999 when Connecticut, Iowa State, Georgia and Clemson -- all coached by men -- ended up in the Mideast Regional in the round of 16. Of the 12 other teams remaining, only two were coached by men.
This year, three of the game's most prominent male coaches were placed in the East Regional -- Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, Leon Barmore of Louisiana Tech and Andy Landers of Georgia. All three teams were ranked among the nation's top six at the end of the season.
Jeremiah said they weren't put there just because they are men.
"My other reaction is it's hysterically funny," she said. "It's something that's never been discussed. We're thrilled to have all the coaches in our game. We do not sit there and discuss what their gender is, if they're bald, if they have long hair, if they're too heavy, if they're runners, if they're not.
"We discuss the strengths of the teams. I think if you look at the total bracket and look at it objectively, you will not give credence to the fact anybody would do that."
Gym ratIt was only natural that Purdue's Kristy Curry would become a coach.
Her mother, Ann Sims, coached girls' basketball for 26 years. Her grandfather, Major Sims, was a teacher and coach for 41 years. Her father, Blake Sims, coached high school football.
Want more? Her husband is Purdue assistant Kelly Curry.
"I can remember piling in the back of the Suburban and I'm sitting on top of the balls," Curry said. And every day, the school bus would drop me off at the gym and I'd be there till 5:30 or 6.
"I was just raised under a bleacher. I don't remember anything different."
Hoosier hysteriaJeremiah, now an administrator at Cal State Fullerton, coached at Indiana before moving west. She found all that talk about Hoosier hysteria was true.
Invited to address a meeting of real estate agents, Jeremiah saw the notice said the Indiana basketball coach would be speaking.
"I didn't think too much about it and I go and there were like 750 people and I think man, I am really hot," she said. "Then I realized they didn't say which coach. I remember this so vividly. I said to the crowd, 'I know you expected coach [Bob] Knight, but you got me and you won't go away disappointed.' "
Jeremiah also found another benefit from being involved with basketball in Indiana.
"I talked my way out of traffic tickets because I told them I coached at Indiana," she said. "Then I went to California and the same thing happened and nobody cared."
Where's RuthNotre Dame had no trouble discovering Ruth Riley. Anyone 6-feet-5 is going to stand out in a town as small as Macy, Ind.
Finding Riley's house on a recruiting visit was another matter.
Riley lives out in the country and head coach Muffet McGraw wasn't sure if she'd ever get to the place.
"She lives out in the middle of nowhere," McGraw said. "There are no traffic lights, there are hardly any street signs. It's dark. There are no lights on the road. When we went for the home visit, we were worried that we would get lost in the middle of nowhere.
"But finally, the house appeared. It's one of those one-stoplight towns."
But home to quite a player.