Oct. 8, 2013
IRVING, Texas – UAB women’s basketball head coach Randy Norton met with media members at the 2013-14 Conference USA Basketball Media Day on Tuesday.
Norton, who is in his first season as head coach with the Blazers, was joined by the 15 other Conference USA head coaches. The teams include Charlotte, East Carolina, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA.
UAB returns eight players from last season’s team, including preseason All-C-USA selection senior Karisma Chapman. Chapman will be joined by fellow senior Ashley Grimes, who was a second-team All-C-USA selection along with Chapman last season.
The team is in its second week of preseason practice in preparation for the 2013-14 season. The Blazers will begin the season with two exhibition games against Georgia Southwestern (Oct. 28) and West Florida (Nov. 2). Then, they will tip off the regular season at the Emerald Beach Islanders Classic against Fairfield on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. CT.
For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For women’s basketball news, follow @UAB_WBB.
Head Coach Randy Norton
On what the team will bring to the court…
On focus so far with the team…
“We are trying to get them to play as hard as they can, bring a lot of energy to practice, to be great teammates, those are some of the things we really focused on with this team. We want to get out of that mold of being average, we want to be great. To do that, you have to work on it everyday. It has to be a habit.”
“I think physically as a team, we are very athletic and fast. We are going to play up tempo defensively with the press. Offensively, we are going to run a lot. Then, we have high character. If you don’t have high character and a team that cares about one another, it really doesn’t matter if you are going to run fast or defend hard. You have to have a group that cares about each other. I feel like the ladies that we have really do care about each other. We work extremely hard at building that team chemistry. I think you put all that together and it really makes me excited about our team.”
On returning starters…
“We have Karisma Chapman who was preseason All-Conference USA, she was second team last year and then Ashley Grimes was second team last year as well. They are our only two seniors that we have and the leadership that they have brought in from day one has been amazing. It is a difficult situation when you are a senior and you have a new coaching staff coming in that thinks differently than the previous three years. That can be hard but we sat down with them, they bought into what we are trying to do and they have really helped us with the younger players. When I say younger, we are a young squad because we have one junior and eight freshmen and sophomores. That being said, having those two seniors is great to help lead them.”
On being a first year head coach…
“I think that fortunately I was the head high school basketball coach which was a really competitive situation so it has prepared me, and then the last 10 years working under head coach Robin Pingeton has been great preparation. I am very comfortable being a head coach. It is almost like riding a bike. After taking 10 years off from being the head coach and now getting back into it, I am excited to be the head coach. I love what I do.”
On recruiting process so far…
“It has been great. I have an outstanding staff and from day one they started contacting the Alabama high schools, AAU coaches and we have branched out to the surrounding states. We are starting to build relationships with them so that they know who we are and what we are all about. I feel like we have a unique staff. We have a Christian staff that we respect players, we don’t berate players, we do things the right way and we want people to know that. So we are just really focused on creating relationships because that is what it is all about.”