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Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Cardinal Couple -- Recruiting: the Watson theory


-Watson looks at recruiting

-Cards name Courtney Trimble new women's golf coach

(David Watson is a special contributing writer to CARDINAL COUPLE)

There is a story that a retired professor friend of mine loves to tell. He taught a higher-level finance class that was traditionally filled with business majors. One semester, though, he had a curvaceous, blonde haired beauty from the cheer-leading squad as one of his students. After the first couple of classes, he did some research and found out she was majoring in exercise science. She was rarely attentive in class, making eyes at most of the guys enrolled with her. 

He asked her to stay after class a couple of days later. His intent was to determine why she was enrolled in this class when it basically had nothing to do with her intended major and she seemed to have no interest in the topic matter.

"Well, you see...this is where all the smart guys hang out. Guys that will probably be making lots of money down the road. It's research on my part." she gleefully replied. "I'm scouting out potential husbands." 

He thought about that for a moment and then answered:

"You have figured out the cardinal rule of finance, then. To make the big money, hang out where the big money does." 

He let her stay in the class and even though she dropped out after the first major exam --several years later he received a wedding invitation from her and a up and coming banker he had taught during the same time she was in his class. She recruited well.

And, it seems college sports recruiting is the same way. Hang out, play with the great program and players and reap the rewards of titles, championships, success and recognition. If you can make it there, you're going to do well. If you don't, pack your bags and look for playing time elsewhere.  

When we look at women's college basketball, the trend is especially true. UConn, Baylor, Stanford, Notre Dame aren't just exceptionally lucky or have the best recruiting coaches and methods around. 

They win games and they attract great players who want to play with equally great players. As it was said years ago -- competition builds character, but winning solves a lot of problems. 

A look at the University of Louisville women's basketball program is a good example. Although the Cards were competitive and played decent hoops for many years, it wasn't until players like Angel McCoughtry and Candace Bingham started showing up on campus that the NCAA appearances became more prevalent, other potential players took notice and wanted to be a part of the success. 

In the four years before Angel, Louisville women's basketball was 74-46. A nice record and 61.6% wins.  During her four years, the Cards went 106-33. A bit better. 76.2% wins. They went to the "Big Dance" twice, losing in the first round each time before Angel. With Angel, they went all four years and made a Final Four appearance, the sweet sixteen the year before and into the second round her second year. 

It is interesting, though, that in the three years after Angel, Louisville womens' basketball is 59-41. 59% wins.

(Editor commentary. It is important to point out that the Cards were wrecked with injuries and a short roster in the 2009-10 season. It may have been the toughest coaching job Jeff Walz ever had season. The girls that were able to go gave it their all, though and we're very proud of each and every one of them who fought against insurmountable odds as the season progressed. They did have wins over Cincy, Providence, Villanova, Marquette, Seton Hall and Pitt that year. 

If you take that season out, UofL is 45-13. 78%. 
Everyone gets a mulligan, right? WE'LL never forget how little Shelby Harper battled each night against BIG EAST point guards and never backed down. )

The names that consider Louisville now are names which are ones that are being highly recruited. Monique Reid, Tia Gibbs, Asia Taylor, Shoni Schimmel, Sara Hammond, Bria Smith, Cortnee Walton, Megan Deines, Rebecca Greenwell, Mercedes Russell. Just to name a few. 

It has to be maddening, though, to be in the running for the elite, the best of the best and lose a few. It's happened to Coach Walz and it's happened to Geno, Tara, Muffet and Kim. It'll continue happening. 

It's recruiting. Expect the unexpected.

The case of the recent recruiting coup at North Carolina for Sylvia Hatchell squad is interesting but also carries some doubts. Rutgers has had classes close to this quality in their freshmen classes before. They splintered, transferred and faltered. Never a sure thing, this game called recruiting. Can the fearsome foursome headed to Chapel Hill remain together four years? Will all four even end up there?  

There are many who follow recruiting with tons of zest, appeal, curiosity and anticipation. I've always seen it as a prelude to the real test. 

What will you do once you get there? 

We've seen recruits come in highly lauded, ranked and promoted before and end up seated during games or eventually transferring. They get forgotten by a fan base eagerly looking to see whose in the next class or the class after that. I call it the "Thanks for the bike, Dad. When can I have a car?" syndrome. Fans forget.

This recruiting can be tricky business. 

I hope my Lady Cards can continue to recruit well. I hope the names we see as considering Louisville continue to shock, awe & impress us. 

But, in recruiting, there are no guarantees. Just verbal courting and promises until the fax arrives and the announcement is made. And even that isn't a guarantee. It's when they lace up the shoes and hit the court the first time you know for sure. 

It's a wonder more coaches aren't in therapy. 

-David Watson

( David Watson will be our featured Monday columnist for the next couple of months. Enjoy!) 


WE mentioned to you several weeks ago that we had heard Kelly Meyers Rothberg was no longer the women's golf coach at UofL.

Today...Louisville has named Courtney Trimble as the new women's golf coach. Trimble comes to Louisville from UCF...where she spent three years as the head coach. 

The Knights made the NCAA tournament this spring and Trimble will bring a 13th. place finish in the East Regional with well as her assistant coach Mary Bryan. She was also an assistant at Auburn and a top notch golfer there. 

Trimble has a nice returning nucleus to work with here at Louisville. Freshmen Emily Haas and Katie Petrino were recently named All-Big East and Louisville finished third in the BIG EAST Tournament. The Cards graduate just two:  Anna-Karin Llungstrom and Maria Castallanos.

Courtney becomes the second golf coach in the history of women's golf at UofL. Kelly Meyers Rothberg started the program in 1999.  

Good call, T.J! We were hoping for Chevy Chase...(be the ball, Danny) but we'll take this coup by landing Trimble. She may not be the most recognized Trimble on campus for now...(Jordan, of softball fame, gets that nod) but we're sure she'll have the Cards writing down birdies and avoiding sand traps!


  1. No knock on him, but Walz seems to run off a lot of players each year. More than Tom Collen did? Just wondering your take on that, Watson.

    -Curtis Franklin

    1. Curtis, it is a trend that affects all of college basketball, not just Coach. Players want to play and if they aren't playing, they seek venues where they can. Team chemistry is a vital thing. Striving together for one common goal. Walz had it late in the season when the ten players were unified and focuses on the same thing.


    2. I concur with Paulie. That, and injuries, tend to diminish rosters.

      David Watson

    3. I took a look at recruiting during the Collen years and the Walz years, Curtis.
      Collen's first recruiting class was for the 2003-04 team. An asterisk by the name indicates they either left or were injured and career ended.
      Nee Nee Parham *
      Lauren Stewart *
      Jenna Lemnus *
      Katie Olson
      Jazz Covington

      Valeriya Musina *
      Tatjana Kiseljova (Boston) *
      Missy Taylor
      Patrika Barlow
      Yuliya Tokova *

      Helen Johnson *
      Chauntise Wright *
      Angel McCoughtry

      Jasmine Smith *
      Kala Faulkner *
      Brandie Radde

      Collen's numbers. 4 years. 16 recruited, 6 ended up here as seniors. 62% departure rate.

      Walz begins.

      Deseree Byrd *
      Kiara Evans *
      Laura Terry
      Candyce Bingham
      Keisha Hines

      Gwen Rucker *
      Janae Howard *
      Mary Jackson *
      Ashley Rainey *
      Mo Reid
      Becky Burke

      Nikki Burton *
      Rachel Story *
      Asia Taylor
      Shelby Harper
      Tia Gibbs

      Charmaine Tay *
      Polly Harrington *
      Cierra Warren *
      Shoni Schimmel
      Sherrone Vails
      Antonita Slaughter
      Shawnta Dyer

      Sara Hammond
      Jude Schimmel
      Bria Smith

      Walz numbers. Five years. 26 recruited, 11 left. 42% departure rate.

      I think we can see that more players, percentage wise, left under Collen's recruiting than Walz's. Out of the 21 that left, 14 have left while Walz has been coach.

      Player come, players go. Happens to every coach.


  2. Good article. In NC's case, a lot can be attributed to the job assistant coach Trisha Stafford-Odom has done since she left Duke and joined the Tarheels coaching staff. Diamond DeShields. Allisha Gray, Stephanie Mavunga an Jessica Washington will have an impact on ACC hoops. They are also trying to convince Mercedes Russell to join them. Those five would make for a very tough lineup for any opposing coach to prepare for. Hopefully, the Cards can remain in the hunt for Mercedes. She has game-changing skills.

    - the other Donald Draper

    1. Come to Louisville, Mercedes! I follow her on Twitter. She's great to follow! I just started following Cardinal Couple too. U need to step your Twitter game up, Cardinal Couple!


    2. Honestly, we're trying. Lots to do here at the site. Can't always climb the tree and tweet.



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