Cleve Wright’s first season as head coach of the Miami of Ohio women’s basketball team has seen some rough going, but it also wasn’t easy when he took over the Gannon program in 2002, when the Knights went 12-14, and it took five seasons before Gannon went to its first of five appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament, including the final four in 2009-10 and the Elite Eight last season.
The Redhawks are 3-7 so far under Wright, who was pursued by Miami to replace Maria Fantanarosa, who was let go by the administration, and agreed to go to the Division I school.
Miami graduated several players from a 19-11 season, including Mercyhurst Prep grad Kirsten Olowinski, Miami’s all-time leading rebounder.
The Redhawks of the Mid-American Conference, have three freshmen, including forward Nicole Anderson, who averages points and 7.1 rebounds. Wright, well-known in coaching circles, is likely going to rebuild the club in due time.
Wright, who brought former Gannon assistant Rachel Folcik along to the program, has established four theme words in his locker room that he calls the “four rocks.” The themes are commitment, work ethic, teamwork and relationships.
It worked at Gannon, where his teams went 233-100 in 11 seasons, and 170-49 in his final seven years.