Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing Virginia Tech women's coach Dennis Wolff

Former Virginia Tech men's Director of Operations Dennis Wolff held his initial press conference on Tuesday, introduced as the sixth head coach of the Hokies women's team replacing Beth Dunkenberger. Wolff, the all-time winningest coach of the Boston University men's basketball team prior to coming to Tech in 2010, led the Terriers to three straight America East titles (2003-04) and made four postseason appearances there.

Wolff has not coached a college women's team before but alluded to coaching his daughter, Nicole, the 2002 McDonald's National Player of the Year. Nicole Wolff endured an injury-plagued career at UConn and is now attending graduate school at Boston University.

Wolff admitted to being surprised when Hokies athletic director Jim Weaver approached him, but is looking forward to what he describes as "probably the biggest challenge of my coaching career."

The Hokies finished 11-19 this season and had just one ACC victory.

Some snippets:

Wolff: "Working with the men's team really rekindled my interest in coaching again."

"It happened very quickly. He (Weaver) asked me to think about it. I thought about it. We had discussions about it last week. ... It was never in my mind until Jim Weaver put it in my mind."

Wolff on the difference between coaching men and women: "A lot of times with high level players on the women's side, they are so dominant all the way through that rarely do they have anybody say anything critical to them." ... (Reference to UConn's Geno Auriemma). "He coaches them like Jim Calhoun coaches them. You have to have thick skin. I think these kids want to have a good team and I think they will be responsive."

On goals: "We want to be a winning program in the ACC, be a top program and be in the NCAA Tournament."

On recruiting: "I'm an aggressive person. ... The way to have good players is to work at it."

On women's basketball experience: "My daughter is something I can use, her experience, my family's experience with her, will guide me."

Jim Weaver: "I have a very high regard for him and I know other people in our department have the same."

On the initial approach: "I approached him, I don't know, five or six weeks ago, maybe four weeks ago, and asked him to think about it. I recognized the fact that it might be a significant change for him. I wanted to plant the seed and I did that."

On the coaching search: I don't discuss other candidates when we have a search, individually, that is. Having said that, I've been working behind the scenes for the most part of this academic year knowing there would be a likelihood that we would be making a change. .. I'm not going to get into those candidates. Some of those are still playing; some of them got beat yesterday."

On why the decision was made so quickly: "I think he's the best person for the job at the time. ....He has a great knowledge of the game. He coached his son at BU. He coached his daughter so that she was the best player in the land eight or nine years ago. People who know him know he's a tireless worker."

Weaver revealed Wolff's contract details as follows: It is a six-year deal, with the base salary identical to the men's coach.
$233,486 base salary
$132,000 retention incentive, paid over three payment (April 1, Dec. 1, Aug 1)
$10,000 fee from Nike contract
opportunity to have a membership at the Blacksburg Country Club or Pete Dye River Course
Dealer vehicle

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