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November 26, 1990 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-26

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Page 6-The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday- November 26, 1990
MICHIGAN

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WOLVERINES

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Back to the drawing
board after NCAAs
by Rod Loewenthal
Daily Basketball Writer _
Ask any coach in the Big Ten about this year's Michigan women's
basketball team and you'll see that coach wince. But this isn't the same
gesture of pain they would have given last year when asked about an
upcoming game with a tenacious and experienced Wolverine squad.
This year, coaches around the league are already sending condolence
cards to Coach Bud VanDeWege because of what they see as a painful
rebuilding year in Ann Arbor.
Gone from last year are key players like Tanya Powell, who took the
Wolverines into their first ever NCAA tournament. After graduating four
out of five starters from last year's team it will be a challenge for Big Ten
Coach of the Year VanDeWege to convince his critics and his fans that
this season is anything but a rebuilding year for Michigan women's
basketball.
"We've got good players don't get me wrong, but a lot of them
haven't played a lot," VanDeWege said. "Now this is their turn, and it's
going to take awhile before they can start playing like veterans. It really
is a rebuilding situation."
"I think he is going to experience growing pains," Indiana coach Jim
Izard said. "I think there's going to be some struggle out there for him."
Carol Szczechowski is the only returning Michigan starter and is the
person that VanDeWege hopes will provide leadership. The 5-10 guard
played in all 30 games last year and finished as the second leading scorer
on the season with 289 points. The Wyandotte, Michigan native is
confident of her role on the team and sees this season as more than just
trying to survive with a young team around her.
"When I look at the new people we have starting I don't feel like 'oh
no we're not going to do the job'," Szczechowski said. "I feel very
comfortable playing with these new people."
The point guard joining Szczechowski in the backcourt will be either
junior Leah Wooldridge or sophomore Stacie McCall. The Columbus,
Ohio native McCall was used sparingly in 13 games last season.
Wooldridge was used in an off-the-bench position last year while earning a
reputation as a legitimate 3-point scoring threat. After enduring a stress
fracture in her leg last season, Wooldridge is looking forward to a pain-
free season this year.
"When I'm playing I feel one-hundred percent," Wooldridge said. "But
when I wake up in the morning I feel some aches and pains."
Starting at small forward will be
Char Durand. The junior out of
Peck, Michigan began the season
last year starting the first nine
games. VanDeWege will look for
the 5-9 guard-forward to light it up
from outside and to help carry the
' scoring load. With a season-high l1l
points against Michigan State last
season, Durand has shown great
potential and has enough experience
to be a stable factor in the
Wolverine frontcourt.
The power forward - whom
VanDeWege hopes will help fight
for rebounds and do the necessary
dirty work inside - is 6-0
sophomore Nikki Beaudry.
Delivering relief time at the forward
position last year, Beaudry will be
thrust into a starting role despite
playing in only 15 games in her
collegiate career.
Rounding out this year's
preseason starting roster is last
year's Big Ten leading shot blocker
and receiver of Michigan's
Outstanding Freshman Female
Athlete Award,'Trish Andrew. The
6-2 center had a .507 field goal
percentage last year which helped
Vaneher become the team's fifth highest
scorer on the season (7.9 ppg).
Andrew started eight times last season and was a dominant force in the
middle with her strong offensive and defensive play. For Michigan to
remain competitive this year Andrew will have to stay healthy and
continue to surprise people with her intense style of play.
The Wolverines' offense doesn't seem like it will be as much of a
concern for VanDeWege - but grabbing boards and fighting for good
position against powerful Big Ten opponents will be a problem.
"The two things we're going to have to focus on will be our boxing
out and our rebounding," Szczechowski said. "I think our defense is going
to be the key. I think our offense will produce, so we're really going to
have to focus on our defense."
VanDeWege feels being that being picked sixth is fair, but wants
more. "I hope that we can overachieve... and maybe position ourselves

higher..."
But the attitude on the team is one of unchecked optimism fueled by a
desire to get back to the NCAA tournament. "Everybody here is working
to push each other. Everybody is out here to win," first-year player LaTara
Jones said. "There's no doubt in my mind that we can make the
tournament just like we did last year."

Nov. 24-25 Auburn Classic-
Dec. l Ohio
3 Bowling Green
6 Central Michigai
8 Youngstown Stat
12 Eastern Michigan
22 Toledo
28 Wisconsin-Milwi
Jan. 4 Michigan State
6 LaSalle
11 Northwestern
13 Wisconsin
18 Purdue
20 Illinois
25 Ohio State
27 Indiana
Feb. 1 Minnesota
3 Iowa
8 Wisconsin
10 Northwestern
15 Illinois
17 Purdue
22 Indiana
24 Ohio State
Mar. 1 Iowa
3 Minnesota
7 Michigan State
All home games are in bold face

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11 a.m.
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BVD(W) fits UM

by Matthew Dodge
Daily Basketball Writer
Bud VanDeWege is a melting pot
of basketball knowledge. He can list
more positive influences than a high
school valedictorian. It's a wonder
how the head coach of the Michigan
women's basketball team ever
created his own identity on the court
that he has loved since birth.
Basketball philosophies differ in
every corner of America even more
than accents and politics. For a brief
overview of the various regional
hoop styles, one must only ask
VanDeWege. The 32-year-old
overseer of Michigan's rising
women's program grew up on
America's new national pastime in
places such as Inglewood, New
Jersey, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and
Ann Arbor.
The young NBA-hopeful spent
his elementary and junior high years
under the glamorous spell of Los
Angeles. Traces of the wide web
spun by the dynasties of the Lakers
and the UCLA Bruins can still be
detected on VanDeWege.
"Los Angeles was so big and
spread out. There were obvious
lifestyle differences between out in
California and out here, we even
played some of our school games
outside," VanDeWege says. "I grew
up with the Lakers back when they
had Jerry West, and he was someone
that I always looked up to in terms
of basketball. Then there were some
of the UCLA people; I always liked
Bill Walton. And it was pretty hard
not to like John Wooden, if you
were a coach growing up."
The low point of VanDeWege's
playing days came during his senior
year in high school in St. Louis.
His coach insisted upon an offense
which scored less points than most
sixth grade teams.
"It was just a very controlled
situation. I felt overall that it was
inhibiting at times," VanDeWege
said. "I enjoyed it, I just felt I could
do more than I was doing. I was not
All-State or All-Conference, or
anything like that; I was a starter,
and a steady player, but not anything
that really stood out. But I always
felt like I had the potential to."
That opportunity arrived when he
came to Michigan as an undergrad in

1976. VanDeWege was slated to
become the men's basketball
manager under head coach Johnny
Orr. But a strong showing at a camp
during the summer before his first
year convinced the Michigan staff
that he should shoot the balls instead
of collect them. The Wolverine
junior varsity coach Dan Fife -
whom VanDeWege calls the best
coach he ever played for - offered a
tryout to the youngster. He not only
made the team, but became a co-
captain the next season.
"He always worked extremely
hard," Fife, now the coach at
Clarkston High, recalls. "He and the
JV kids just had a dream of playing
at the U of M. I tried to instill in
them to learn something from the
experience. You may not play on
varsity, but you were a part of the
system.
"He really wanted to be a part of
Michigan basketball. He has since
turned it into something beneficial.
If I told 100 kids to do something,
half would do it for a week, a few
would do it for a month, and one
would go well beyond. Buddy has
gone well beyond."
The aspiring coach began his
climb at the bottom of the Michigan
program, but hard work and good
timing allowed him to slowly move
up. After four years as a manager,
VanDeWege became a graduate
assistant in 1980 under new head
coach Bill Frieder. The next three
seasons he was a part-time assistant
- "which everyone fondly recalls as
full-time coach and part-time pay"
- for the Wolverines. The women's
job was vacated, and, at age 26,
VanDeWege leapt at the chance.
"At the time, I really wanted to
be a head coach," VanDeWege said.
"I was young, but I still wanted to
try. At that age, you think you're
ready for anything. I was like, 'Hey,
I want to try it. I want to go out on
my own; I want to give it a shot."'
This chance was a culmination of
a lifelong goal. Every move he had
made since the age of 17 had been
geared toward coaching.
Now he had made it - not that
anyone was surprised.
"He always wanted to be a
coach," Bud VanDeWege, Sr., father.
of the coach, said. "When he was a

Bud VanDeWege celebrates during an early-season game at Crisler
Arena last year - his proudest as the Wolverines' head coach.

9

kid, it's what1
do."

he always wanted to

"When I met him, he was
involved in coaching," Kathy
VanDeWege, his wife, said. "He
always expressed a desire to be in
coaching. It would have been a
surprise if he had not gone that
way."
As he enters his seventh season
at the helm of the Wolverines,
VanDeWege is polishing his
coaching style. How does a coach
integrate the flashy styles of the
West Coast with the slow,
methodical half-court game of the
Midwest? By using both methods,
depending upon his strengths of his
players.
"Right now, I'm still adjusting
to my personnel every year, and
getting the most out of them that I
can," VanDeWege said. "I'm still at
the point in the program where I
have to take the best athlete
available. If you have to adjust
slightly what you do on the court
because of that, then you have to
adjust."
VanDeWege's playbook is
beginning to fit into his idea of the
perfect X's and O's philosophy. "I
regard each possession very highly. I
don't like to be careless, and I don't
like to force up-tempo. I'll play up-
tempo if it's available, and we'll do
well with it. In terms of trapping
and pressing and full-court all the
time, if I feel we can do it on a
team, I will. But I'm not going to
come out and do it every game.
Overall, I'm a half-court coach."
Sound familiar?
"I happen to like Bobby Knight
in terms of what he gets done. I
don't care for his attitude, but in
watching his teams play, I don't
think there's a better coach in the
country. I just like to watch his
teams play."
The 1989-90 Big Ten Coach of
the Year is happy with his life. He
has a wife, an eighteen-month old
daughter, and another child on the
way. The Michigan women's

program has reached a new plateAu
under his leadership. Yet this is
almost certainly not the end of the
line for VanDeWege.
"If what I'm doing right now
opens some other doors, I'll always
look," he said. "I couldn't tell you, if
in 10 years I'll still be coaching-r
not. If I were to jump back into the
men's programs, I think I'd have to
jump back on the ladder as a full-
time assistant, and hopefully work
my way up.
"Right now, I don't know - I
might be open to those
opportunities. But we have a baby
on the way, and you want stability.
If I wanted to move, I certainly
wouldn't do it now."
"I never thought in 1982, that'in
1990 we would still be here, but it's
wonderful," Kathy VanDeWege said.
"But I have no problem with his
moving. If the time comes, we'll
cross that bridge when we come to
it."
But the immediate goals for
Coach V center around his this
season's team. Was the success of
last year's team due to the players o
the system? Will Carol
Szczechowski, the lone returning
starter, be left out to dry by four new
full-timers? Or will VanDeWege's
coaching methods overcome all other
deficiencies?
"Last year showed that I am good
at it," he said. "I feel as though I
arrived as a coach. Obviously, ie
jury was out before last year,
because we hadn't gotten over the*
hump. Last year showed that I can
do some things."
Did he ever. The Wolveriies
received their first NCAA bid under
VanDeWege's leadership.
"The first time I met him;,it
seemed like I'd known him for'a
long time," Szczechowski said.
Anyone who has studied the
coaching styles of men such as
Wooden, Knight, Orr, and Frieder*
could say the same thing upon
seeing VanDeWege's teams pfay
basketball.
And that it not such a bad thing.

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