Friday, April 16, 2010

NSU sticks with Clark; Ga.State tabs Baldwin-Tener

Congratulations to coach Debra Clark, who shed her interim tag at Norfolk State and was given a four-year contract through the 2013-14 season. Clark may be the first coach in history to earn a new deal and job security after a 4-23 season. But as anyone who watched the Spartans play can attest, that record spoke directly to the talent deficiency Clark inherited. Maybe Geno Auriemma would have won five or six games with that group. But he also may have only won three. No disrespect to the 2009-10 Spartans, but they just didn't have enough Division I-caliber players, particularly in the frontcourt, to get the better of just about anyone over 40 minutes. Clark has started to address this with a promising first recruiting class, but will likely need at least two more recruiting cycles for the Spartans to truly get back on their feet. Credit NSU's administration for recognizing this and making sure she'll have the time. By the way, love how the release refers to Clark as the "permanent" head coach. Talk about your oxymorons....

In other coaching news, Georgia State will introduce East Carolina's Sharon Baldwin-Tener as its head coach at a press conference Friday afternoon. Sounds like a perfect fit - Baldwin-Tener was born in Georgia, played high school and college ball in Georgia and spent some time as one of Andy Landers' ace recruiters at the University of Georgia. Oh, and she can coach a little bit, too. Baldwin-Tener took East Carolina from six wins to 12 in her first season (2002-03), to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years (2007) and to 41 victories over the past two seasons. Her last victory may have been her most improbable - in a first-round WNIT game last month, the Lady Pirates rallied from 18 points down with 6:32 remaining to force overtime against Drexel, then stunned the Dragons 78-76 on a tip-in with two seconds left.

Obviously, Baldwin-Tener's departure will come as sad news at East Carolina. But something tells me the students down there will manage to find something to celebrate about.

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