published Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Jim Foster plans to adjust UTC style to personnel

  • photo
    Former Ohio State coach Jim Foster is the coach of the UTC women's basketball team.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Want to know what the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team will look like offensively and defensively under new coach Jim Foster?

"Ask me that question in a month," Foster said Friday during his introductory news conference.

Foster has been a college head coach for 35 years. He has a career record of 783-307, with 26 trips to NCAA tournaments and twice as many Elite Eight appearances and seasons with 30 or more wins (four each) as losing seasons.

All that experience and success has to have produced a sophisticated philosophy, right?

"My basketball background is I coach what's in the gym," said the man who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on June 8. "If I've got a 6-foot-6 All-American on the low block, they're going to touch the ball often. If I don't, if I've got guards that can shoot the 3 and get up and get in your grill, we'll play that way."

Foster will wait until he sees what's in the gym before deciding the Lady Mocs' direction. He won't have to wait too long, thanks to a new NCAA rule.

Adopted in January, the rule allows players who are enrolled in summer school or meet the academic requirements to participate in limited workouts with their coaches.

According to assistant coach Katie Burrows, the Lady Mocs will be back in town this week for the first summer school short session, which starts Wednesday. UTC lost only starters Kayla Christopher and Kylie Lambert from last season's Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championship team, which tied a school record with 29 wins and knocked off Tennessee at McKenzie Arena.

Former coach Wes Moore long used a four-out, one-in offensive system that capitalized on having a productive post player and good perimeter shooters. In 2012-13, UTC added a more aggressive defensive approach, which produced 119 more steals than the previous season.

UTC's six-player signing class features players suited to that style of play, Foster said, so an up-tempo, pressure-defense style likely "would be somewhere on the agenda in the not-too-distant horizon."

Though Foster has spent the previous 22 seasons (11 at Vanderbilt, 11 at Ohio State) at major-conference schools, he knows about coaching and recruiting at smaller programs. His first 13 seasons as a college head coach were at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia.

"I've been David and I've been Goliath," he said. "It's a heck of a lot more fun being David. Because if you can make Goliath fall, there's a lot that goes into that."

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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