Lindsay Gottlieb is returning to Cal. Joanne Boyle’s former lead assistant has been named her successor and will be introduced today at a press conference in Berkeley.
Gottlieb made a few minutes for Leftcoasthoops.com as she drove from the airport in San Francisco to Haas Pavilion.
Q: What’s the day been like for you so far?
A: I’m making phone calls in the car. I’ve been on the phone all morning with incoming recruits and current players. Today is going to be a total whirlwind.
Q: Are you surprised at how this all turned out?
A: I am really legitimately surprised. In this professional, you know things happen and they can happen quickly. When I took the job at Santa Barbara, I thought it was a place that I would be at for a long time. I was fortunate to get a job like that and you are in the present and you enjoy where you are. And that’s where my mindset was. Honestly, each year I’ve gotten a call or two. And I’ve been able to sincerely say ‘I’m flattered, and thanks but no thanks.”
Q: But Cal was a different situation?
A: Cal has always been a special place for me and I thought, maybe in the back of my mind, ‘Someday’. Joanne and I talked as soon as Virginia contacted her. And I wanted to be her friend and talk her through her decision, but I started thinking, ‘Wow, this could affect me.”
Q: How is the Cal program different than when you left?
A: When we arrived at Cal six years ago, the program had experienced a lot of losing seasons in a row and we were changing a culture. We had a group of veterans who had been there, and this group of precocious incoming freshmen who were used to winning. We came in setting a mentality and changing a culture. Now I feel like I’m walking into a program of national prominence that is at a moment in time…where hopefully we will springboard to something better. This is not about rebuilding. This is about taking this group and believing in them and me and each other.
Q: How familiar are you with the players in the program?
A: I certainly wasn’t studying my media guide on the way up. To some degree or another, I was involved with recruiting them, especially the current sophomores. I was involved in their recruitment and some of them, I tried to recruit to UCSB. But I don’t have a connection with them. I think that’s going to allow me to come in and bring a burst of energy. I think that’s going to be a good thing.
Q: Do you feel like you have to come in and stabilize the program?
A: Anytime there’s change or uncertainty, there’s a state of flux. But the one thing I’ve heard over and over, thanks to Sandy (Barbour) and Theresa (Kuehn), is what a good job they’ve done keeping everybody together and in the same direction. I think this is a group that is together and excited to move forward and I can come in and form relationships with them and make them believe in me.
I don’t think I have to stabilize anything. I feel more like I have to corral everybody, get everybody moving into the same direction. Priority No. 1 will be forming that bond and belief. This program should not have to take three steps back to move forward.