Friday, March 22, 2013

The Six Pack: Hampton's assistants getting it done

 Hampton's David Six gets a lot of credit for the phenomenal defense - tops in Division I in points allowed - this year, but the Lady Pirates' head coach would be the first to tell you the praise shouldn't be his alone.

From Barbara Burgess' attention to detail to Brian Davis' strategic breakdowns to Ashlee Finley's talent for relating to players, Hampton has a team of coaches putting the Lady Pirates in position to do their thing.

So as 15th-seeded Hampton prepares to take its shot at No. 2 Duke in the NCAA Tournament first round Sunday at 12:05 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, here's a look at the three assistants that help Six make sure the Lady Pirates keep on keeping on:

Barbara Burgess, 4th season

Official responsibilities: Post players, travel requirements

Unofficial role: Team disciplinarian. "She makes sure everyone's where they're supposed to be, pushes the kids pretty hard," Six said. "She provides toughness, discipline. Coach Burgess keeps everybody straight."

The many faces of Burgess: "Coach Burgess wears her emotions on her face," Six said. "You can always tell exactly how she's feeling. She has some of the most horrific expressions sometimes. We have to tell her, 'Burgess, your face!' Whatever she's feeling is worn on her face."

Before Hampton: Burgess was an All-MEAC performer at Delaware State, ranks second on the program's all-time scoring list (1,807 points) and is in the school's athletic hall of fame. She later coached against Six at Phoebus High (Six coached Hampton High).

Brian Davis, 4th season

Official responsibilities: Scouting, film breakdown, guards

Unofficial role: Fitness guru: "Coach Davis will get out there with the guards," Six said. "He's still quick, still has it."

Having the head coach's back: "When we were in the Virgin Islands, they had some like, I don't want to say belly dancers, but they were dancers," Six said. "They grabbed me and I said, 'no, no, no, no, no, no.' Coach Davis went in there and handled 'em for me. 

Was he good? 

"Oh, yeah, he was good. He was good."

Breaking it down: "Coach Davis is dedicated to getting us the information so we know what to do out there," Lady Pirates guard Nicole Hamilton said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be where we are."

Before Hampton: Davis was a starting defensive back at Tennessee Tech and totaled 184 tackles and 9 interceptions in his college career.

Ashlee Finley, 3rd year

Official responsibilities: Academics, post players

Unofficial role: Player relations. "She's like another one of our sisters," Hamilton said. "It's like she's on the team, but she's not."

Not bashful: Finley had just finished her senior season when Six was hired as an interim coach. "When I first got the job, I asked all the seniors to come in and talk to me. So Coach Finley came in with her little swagger and was like, 'Look, they promised me a fifth year, with money. They just told me there's no money. So what's up?' I'm sitting there looking at her like, 'Who is this? Who are you?' But I did like the fact that she was aggressive. So I helped her out, got her a grad assistant job."

Landing the full-time gig: "Because she had just finished playing, she took such a vested interest in the program. And the kids actually gravitated more to her than they did the previous assistant coach we had, so I though, why not hire her? So I asked her if she wanted to be a coach and she said no and turned her face up. But I guess she went and talked to her mom, her parents, and came back and said yes, I think I want to try it."

Before coaching at Hampton: Finley was a two-time team captain for the Lady Pirates, led the team in rebounding in 2006-07 and racked up 154 career steals.

Under-seeded Hampton could surprise Duke

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