Last June, Charity Elliott was introduced as the new Head Coach of the UC
Q—What made you want to be a basketball coach?
ELLIOTT—I was in graduate school working on a clinical psychology degree and was asked to coach the freshmen team at
Q—W hat are the basics of your coaching philosophy?
ELLIOTT—On the court, we’re going to run, run, run and play very aggressive on the offensive and defensive end. I need players who are very tough—mentally and physically—because my expectations are very high for each player and this team. I really believe that coaching is teaching and my job is to teach these players how to be successful, both on the court and off.
Q—Who have been your coaching mentors?
ELLIOTT—The greatest coaching mentor in my life is definitely Cheryl Burnett, who I played for and coached with at
Q—You played collegiate basketball at both Rice and
ELLIOTT—My two years at Rice were more about maturing and adjusting to the collegiate level. I was able to compete against some of the best players in the country (
Q—What interested you about the UCSD position?
ELLIOTT—I have long considered San Diego to be my second home as I have most of my family here and have watched and admired from a distance the UCSD campus and what has been accomplished here in the entire athletic department. Being one of the UC schools automatically sets the school on a pedestal academically and the facilities and location are definitely second to none. As I did my research, I was overwhelmed with the EXCELLENCE that exists all over this campus. Plus, I knew Coach Janell Jones had done an outstanding job with the women’s basketball program and it seemed like a great time to join the Triton family.
Q—Most of your experience has been at the D-I level. What differences, if any, have you found with the move to UCSD?
ELLIOTT—The major difference I have noticed is the balance these student-athletes are able to maintain in their lives—that and the desire to succeed in every area of their lives. It’s pretty unusual to have an entire team of very driven, self-motivated young ladies who expect excellence from themselves and each other. As far as the university and athletic department is concerned, this place is head and shoulders above many D-I universities, so I have been very pleasantly surprised with the excellence that encompasses the entire campus.
Q—Given your limited exposure to the UCSD roster, what can we expect to see on the floor from the 2007-08 Tritons?
ELLIOTT—I think you will see a very scrappy, hard-working group of young ladies who get after it defensively and are very up-tempo offensively. Each lady brings something unique to this team and our challenge is to put each of them in situations to be successful, kind of like a puzzle. We’ve just got to put the pieces in the right place. We certainly have tremendous leadership on this team and I think the seven seniors will be setting the tone for us daily.
Q—What do you demand of your players?
ELLIOTT—I demand that they lay it all on the line and put the team ahead of themselves. I love coaching tough (mentally and physically) kids and stretching them beyond what they think they are capable of doing. The players here at UCSD seem to love the fact that they will be pushed and challenged daily.
Q—Do you feel any pressure taking over at a program that went to the NCAA Division II Final Four a year ago?
ELLIOTT—I don’t think it’s pressure, I think it’s excitement. These returning players have now experienced something amazing and hopefully, that success has made them hungry for more and even higher success. But, I think we all realize that it doesn’t just happen and we have to work that much harder to get back there again.
Q—What has surprised you most about UCSD (basketball and outside of basketball)?
ELLIOTT—I don’t know if I could ever have guessed at how high quality these student-athletes are as both people and as motivated student-athletes. I’ve been so impressed with their work ethic and motivation. It sure makes my job a lot easier.
Q—What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
ELLIOTT—My husband and I love exploring new places. One weekend we climbed Cowles’ Mountain and another we explored the Torrey Pines Reserve. So anything we can do that is outside and can be considered exercise, I’m in! I also love having “hang out” time with the rest of my family who are here in
Q—What are some of your favorite places in and around
ELLIOTT—Anytime I am at the beach or the bay, I’m happy. We live close to
Q—What would make the 2007-08 season a success in your eyes?
ELLIOTT—I really want these seniors to go out with a bang. I know how driven they are and how motivated they are to continue to the success of the last couple of years. Obviously, any time you are putting in a new system, it takes some time. I’d also really like to see our underclassmen take great strides this season both on the court and in developing their leadership skills.
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