The University of Saint Mary hosted another edition of “Coach’s Corner” on campus Thursday.
The fourth edition of the series focused exclusively on Spires’ sports this time for cross country and basketball.
USM’s director of sports management Jim Zimmerman continued his role of hosting the event. Unlike the previous three times, Zimmerman decided to not open with a joke. Instead, he opened by giving updates on recent events in Leavenworth, Lansing and Saint Mary athletics including his first-hand account of the thrilling end to the first half of the Lansing and St. James playoff football game last week. Zimmerman then introduced Alstin Benton, the USM cross country coach to preview this weekend’s conference meet.
Benton previously spoke at the second edition of the program about the season, so this one was primarily on the upcoming conference tournament. He talked about the cross country team being ranked for both genders and the expectations he has for the conference tournament this weekend. He talked about his confidence in the team’s chances for success, especially on the men’s side. Benton also touched on how a good amount of his top runners on the men’s side are only sophomores. The coach also talked about how the success of the cross country program has aided recruiting and how a recruit can be at a program continuing to push for conference titles and beyond.
After Benton spoke, Zimmerman talked about the “V formation” that geese do and asked the coach if that was something the cross country team does. Zimmerman then introduced the men’s basketball coach Troy Brown to talk about what to expect for the men’s team this season.
Brown first touched on the assistant turnover he has had recently, including a new assistant he just hired in the last few weeks. Brown went on to focus on the new players on the young team with multiple transfers and freshmen joining the Spires. He said this is one of the most athletic teams he has ever coached and touched on key aspects of the various players coming in. Brown also touched on the Spires’ first game against Haskell Indian Nations University on Tuesday. The Spires fell 74-66 and Brown said he took most of the blame for not getting the right offense installed in time to counter Haskell. Brown went on to preview the upcoming games for the Spires this weekend and the eventual start of KCAC play on Nov. 14.
Zimmerman returned to the podium to introduce the women’s basketball coach Katelyn Loecker. He mentioned how the first-year head coach was the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year in her junior and senior years of high school and how she played college basketball at Oklahoma State.
Loecker touched briefly on her short background as an assistant and how the transition went from assistant to head coach for the team. She touched on the assistants on her staff and talked about some of the key players for the team. Loecker said she wants to see a women’s basketball championship banner be raised during her time as a head coach. She also mentioned how she likes being the underdog with the team picked seventh and eighth in the preseason polls for the KCAC.
Zimmerman closed out the fourth edition of the coach’s corner previewing the next edition in two weeks that will feature wrestling and other sports to be determined.