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Q & A With First-Year Women's Basketball Head Coach Jim Tomey


Oct. 8, 2002

On April 9, 2002, Jim Tomey became the seventh head coach in San Diego State women's basketball history, replacing Barb Smith, who coached the Aztecs from 1997-2002.

In his first summer as the Aztecs' head coach, Tomey took time to reflect on his overall coaching philosophy, what he looks for in a potential recruit and his dreams and goals for the SDSU program.

Q: What is your coaching philosophy?
A: "My coaching philosophy is what I call, simplicity in execution. I prefer to be simple in our approach and do a few things very, very well as opposed to trying to surprise, change and disrupt our opponents. My preference is to find a few things that I think our team can do well, and become good at them.
"I've never had difficulty in having players play hard for me. I've been able to develop a trusting relationship with my players that has allowed me to push and motivate them to overachieve."

Q: What do you look for in a potential recruit?
A: "At San Diego State, we are looking for well-rounded student-athletes who exhibit people skills with their teammates and coaches, and obviously, have a certain skill level in the game.
"We're looking for student-athletes, with the emphasis on the student. Potential recruits should come to San Diego State to graduate and our job as coaches is to help them accomplish that. We also want to help them become the best possible person and basketball player that they can be."

Q: What is it going to take to achieve those long-term goals and how close are you?
A: "One of my immediate goals for this team is to be as competitive as it possibly can be - to have it believe that every time it takes the floor that it has a chance to win. If we do things the right way, if we work hard, smart and together, winning will just happen naturally.
"For the program, hopefully in a short amount of time, we will become a factor in our conference, competing for Mountain West titles and becoming a school of choice for players on the West Coast. We feel that we have a lot to offer at San Diego State.
"We also want to make the NCAA tournament and ultimately compete for a national title. Those are my hopes and my dreams, and we're going full speed ahead in trying to achieve them."

Q: What are your feelings about the Mountain West Conference?
A: "I know it's a tough conference. I have three years of experience traveling to very difficult places to play. I know the coaching is terrific in this league and will provide a great challenge for us. Hopefully, we as a staff will add to the competitiveness of this league. We expect SDSU to be a factor in this conference, soon."

Q: Is there a difference in coaching men than women?
A: "If there is difference, I haven't noticed one yet. I think athletes, whether they are men or women, want to be pushed and motivated and have a natural instinct to improve and want to be taught. Players want to be treated with respect. They want to know that you're in their corner. Once a good relationship has been established, the sky is the limit.
"If people say that I haven't coached women, I would say that I've coached for 20 years and probably have coached every kind of athlete that one could coach. Up to this point, I haven't seen a difference and I'm not looking for one. I'm just looking to get this team playing the best possible basketball that they can play."

Q: What is your stance on scheduling?
A: "Obviously, it's always better to play at home, because there is a certain level of comfort. On the road, however, is where you find out about your basketball team. When you go and play in a hostile environment and have to play against a team in its comfort zone and against fans who are pulling against you. You find out your team's character and hopefully that will make you better down the road."
"Overall, I think we need a good balanced schedule, which would include playing some established West Coast universities, both at home and on the road. As our program improves, our schedule needs to improve."