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September 02, 2003 - Image 59

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-02

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The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003 - 5E

1 can, and I know that is how Iam. Now if I
e tiC lkeep telling someone to do the same thing
eover and over and over, and Iam not get-
# -ting the results, then (I say), 'Are you
" A: r hearing what I am saying to you? And if
you are, then show me."'
But from what a second player on the
b , fir team said about Guevara's negativity, it
SEbl jappeared to be a problem no matter how
S\the team is doing on the court.
a Said this player: "A teammate once
. Hlg . asked me, 'Does Coach G ever tell you
good job?' And I had to think about it for
}' awhile and was like, 'I guess not."'
The player added that if she did receive
positive feedback, it was said under Gue-
na vara's breath and not in front of the team.
The player said Guevara was notified
r eby members on the team about being too
e..:...critical during the season. The player
claimed her coach was more positive after
Mr Msimi being addressed, but that there was still
dii 11room for improvement.
4 c / Fier I"I don't know anything about that," Gue-
SgMd v vara said, referring to the notification about
CO' being too negative.
h The player said the team sometimes just
F stopped listening to Guevara in practice.
1Me "Some people kind of tuned her out,"
Ired the player said. "There were days when I
O..__Field tuned her out. And then there were days
x d c 1 Pwhen I was receptive. I'm not sure there
StadII ea .. were days we were all receptive."
The negative impact also carried over
UM Course & ferr[ onto the court according to some players.
- Courtesy of mgoblue.com Said another player on this year's team:

and that is a problem itself ... If there is a problem, she
might not notice. I don't feel there is a great concern for
the players."
"It goes both ways," the player said. "They weren't knock-
ing down our door, but we weren't going to them either."
It should also be noted that some players declined comment
on the story, some said the criticism they received did not trou-
ble them and a couple could not be reached for comment.
Disturbing trend
There appeared to be a history of poor interpersonal rela-
tionships on the team, as current players are not the only ones
to complain about a lack of a relationship with Guevara. In
Guevar's seven seasons, six players have left the program.
Transferring is common in women's basketball -
Michigan and Indiana both had three players transfer in the
2000-01 season. Many of the players that left cited a lack
of playing time as a major factor in their decision.
But it is alarming that many of the former players also said
poor communication and a lack of a relationship with Gue-
vara played a big role in their decisions.
"I think in (Guevara's) case, she was not a coach that
every single player felt comfortable going up to on or off
the court," said Michaela Leary, who played just one year
at Michigan (2000-01) before transferring to George
Washington. "As the season went on, I felt less and less
comfortable going up to her ... There were really times
when (communication) was basically shut down, and that
really bothered me.
"I know Coach Guevara always has good intentions, but
it is hard (for the players) when you are going through a
tough experience."
Said another former player that left the program and
preferred to remain anonymous: "I didn't really quit
because I didn't get playing time. I didn't think it was a
friendly experience...
"I would walk past her in the hallway on the way to
practice, and she didn't say hi. I felt like I didn't exist."
Mandy Stowe, who suddenly left the program during her
sophomore year (1998-99) and later became the 2000-01
Midwestern Collegiate Conference Newcomer of the Year at
Wisconsin-Green Bay, had an even worse relationship with
Guevara than others that left. Unlike the other players, Stowe
thought Guevara cared too much about her personal life.
"She wouldn't like it if my pants were too tight, or I wore
too much makeup," Stowe said. "One time I went to a tan-
ning booth, and she said I was more committed to tanning
than basketball," Stowe later added. "I really started hating
basketball, going to the gym and being near the coaches."
On top of all this is a $20-million lawsuit against the
University for racial discrimination, age discrimination,
defamation and wrongful discharge by a former assistant
named Yvette Harris that was fired by Guevara after the
2000-01 season.
The future
On March 25, Sue Guevara resigned as the Michigan
women's basketball coach. While a written statement
issued by the University stated that Guevara resigned, the
The Detroit Free Press reported that she was fired. It will
never be clear exactly what happened in the post-season

meeting between Guevara and Bill Martin that led to the
coaching vacancy, but one thing is for sure: Cheryl Burnett
is ready to turn the program around.
Burnett, the former coach of Southwest Missouri State,
was hired as the new head coach on April 21. While at SMS,
she led the team to an overall record of 319-136 (.701) and
two Final Fours (1992, 2001) in her 15 seasons there.
Burnett was hired too late to start individual workouts
with the players, but has met with them to talk about next
season. She has already made it clear that she is not going
to change her demanding style of coaching, but she has
also emphasized the importance she will place on the per-
sonal relationships between the players and coaches.
"The most important thing our staff is doing right now is
developing the trust and relationship with our players,"
Burnett said in a written statement. "We want them to
understand, first, who we are as people and, secondly, as
coaches, and then for us to get to know them is very
important. The first time we talked to our team was indi-
vidually and we wanted them to tell us about their families
and their academic goals and then we talked basketball."

Continued from Page 1E
season started to slide.
"We need motivation and confidence and not any nega-
tive things," said a current player who spoke on condition
of anonymity. "We need a season when we aren't yelled at
for one turnover.
"If we make a mistake, she won't correct it. She will just
make them look like an idiot. You can tell by the look on her
face. She just makes you feel so stupid."
Guevara claimed the negativity is a result of mispercep-
tion and unavoidable frustration.
Said Guevara: "We can be in the middle of an eight-game
winning streak, and I can say, 'What are you doing today?
You look out of it today. Are you having a bad day?' And
s you would take it totally different if we are on an eight-
game winning streak or an eight-game losing streak. Now
I'm negative, as opposed to just asking you a basic question.
"Players hear what they want to hear, and sometimes, it
is the tone in how it is being said, instead of what is being
said. I think you try and be as positive and specific as you

When we were having our losing streak,
instead of playing to win, we would play not to lose.
Instead of staying composed and weathering the run,
sometimes I feel like we would get flustered and panic. I
feel like you feed off the coaches."
Needing a closer look
Another problem some players have is their personal
relationship with Guevara.
"I can't go to her with all my problems, and sometimes I
wish I could have," a player on this year's team said.
Said another: "I don't really have (a relationship with
Guevara). I feel like if I came in there to see how her day
was going, she would be like, 'What is going on with her?
What is wrong?"'
Guevara maintained that she tries to understand the
mood of the team and encourages players to come to her
with their problems.
"If there is a problem, I always tell my players, 'This
door is always open. If you have a problem, come in and
talk to me about it. I can't fix it if I don't know."'
But one of the current players didn't think just an open-
door policy is enough.
"I guess you have to take it on yourself to talk to her,


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