Milwaukee Talks: UWM women's coach Kyle Rechlicz
Kyle Rechlicz is two games into her career as the new University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball coach, a career that began with a 82-58 victory over Chicago State in her first game. The Panthers other contest was a 74-56 loss on Sunday to Rechlicz's alma mater, the University of Wisconsin. She came to UWM from the Badgers staff, where she made a name for herself as a recruiter.
As a player at Wisconsin, Rechlicz was a co-captain and helped the Badgers to two NCAA tournament appearances.
This is her first head coaching job, and OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Rechlicz to talk about taking over a program, dealing with the loss of players, and the spot in Milwaukee she took prospective assistant coaches in an effort to lure them onto her staff.
OnMilwaukee.com: What's the most exciting part about being a head coach?
Kyle Rechlicz: It's really exciting to put my own perspective on a team. Every player that I've ever worked with in my college coaching has worked really hard for me but now it's our program, it's my staff's program, and we're putting our own little flavor on it. And to have a team that works as hard as our girls do I think sets the bar very high as far as where our expectations are at.
OMC: As a new coach coming in, the players that are here have concerns about that ...
KR: Oh, yeah.
OMC: So what was that like in the first meetings with the team.
KR: Yeah. For me, you gotta love where you're at. I'm big on that. If it wasn't the right fit for some people I more than welcomed them to go to a different place. I told them this is who we're going to be, this is the culture we're going to build and we really want everyone to be a part of it. If it's not the right fit, then it's OK, and good luck wherever else you go.
But I have a great group. They're very bought in. It makes going to practice and makes seeing them on a daily basis more fun because you know they're invested in what you're saying and what you're trying to accomplish.
OMC: Did you lose anyone off the team?
KR: We did. We lost Courtney Lindfors, who's a center, and Kiki Wilson, who was a point guard.
Editor's note: Lindfors was the Panthers' leading scorer last season at 12.5 points per game and led the Horizon League in blocked shots. She transferred to Loyola University in Chicago. Wilson transferred to Division III St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind. Both are natives of Illinois.
OMC: Having coached at a few places before here as an assistant, did that experience make it easier to deal with that or is still a disappointment.
KR: It was very different situations for each of them, but one of them was on their way out before I even got there. It just puts yourself in a position though where you say at the end of the day these are the people that want to be here, they want to be successful, they want to buy in to something that's different. So, I don't even think about the past. I don't think about what happened in the previous years or who the previous team was. All I focus on is who we are now.
OMC: To that end – what's the mood, what's the feel like around this 2012-13 Panthers team?
KR: High energy, a lot of intensity and fierce competition would be the biggest three adjectives I'd use for them right now. I mean, they have set their bar very high. We compete day in and day out. Every drill is a competition. We either win the drill or we lose the drill. It's something we've instilled in them.
We're not consistent yet. There's days where it's not pretty, but we're also putting in a whole new offensive system, a whole new defensive system. But I tell them every day you can't always control that, what you can control is your heart and what you put into every drill to get better and they've consistently done a great job of that.
OMC: Hard to put expectations on a first year?
KR: We haven't set a goal of wins and losses. We set more of a goal of did we compete for 40 minutes? Whether we're winning a game, losing a game, if it's close, it's did we compete for 40 minutes? We talk a lot about that. We talk a lot about that in practice. Finishing. You've got to finish. It doesn't matter if you did the drill for the first eight minutes really good if you didn't do so well the last two minutes. You gotta finish. We don't have a lot of expectations, we just have competition.
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