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Ask The Experts
Talking with UNC-W Coach Jennifer Garrity
by Marc Lucero, 3 October 2008
People often measure the quality of a coach by the amount of success his or her team achieves. This approach is a little skewed because not all coaches start with players of equal caliber. An important thing for junior players and parents to realize is that very talented coaches reside not just at the very top of the collegiate rankings. There are excellent coaches at all levels, from the big schools to the small schools, and the mid-majors in between. Perhaps a better metric is measuring how much players on his or her team improve.
Coach Jenny Garrity
courtesy, Joe Browning
The University of North Carolina-Wilmington
women's team is one such program where the players do get better. UNC-W competes in the Colonial Athletic Conference, a conference whose members fit the profile of mid-major schools. Mid-majors are generally schools who compete at the Division I level but do not play big-time football and thus do not have giant athletic departments.
One important thing to realize is that mid-major does not necessarily mean lower level. Any basketball fan can tell you that mid-majors like Gonzaga and Davidson have shown that they can compete with - and beat - any basketball team in the country.
Head Coach Jenny Garrity has quietly turned this program around from one that was well under .500 when she started (6-12 record her first year) to one that has now had six winning seasons in a row. Coach Garrity is the oldest sibling and trailblazer of the Sell family - a family whose children have been very successful as players and coaches. Following her in order were Mike, a four time All-American at Georgia, six year ATP pro and currently a USTA High Performance Coach; Kris, a Big 12 Player of the Year at Kansas who peaked at #12 in the college rankings, and Kathy, an All-American at Duke and currently head women's coach at Princeton.
Garrity was one of the best players to ever play at N.C. State and was a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference's top 50 all time players. Before arriving at UNC-W, Garrity was Head Coach at her alma mater, N.C. State as well as at Kansas. Garrity experienced success at both schools, earning both ACC Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
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