BY JIM DABBELT
With Katrina Merriweather taking the head coaching job at Memphis, that leaves a big void to fill at Wright State. The Raiders have been a very formidable and consistent program since 2010 when Mike Bradbury took over and led them to five 20-win seasons, and Merriweather added to the success with three 20-win and two 19-win seasons.
But where do they do from here? I believe they don’t have to look far to fill the need of an outstanding coaching staff, with names who are very familiar with the Miami Valley.
Believe me, I am no Bob Grant. He is one of the best collegiate athletic directors in the nation, and I couldn’t do his job on my best day and his worst. But I do know women’s basketball, and a great team can be assembled to keep the tradition of success going strong with the Raiders.
Why is having a pulse on this area so important? Ohio has a rich tradition of producing high level college basketball prospects and they are the third most recruited state in the country for high school basketball.
So if I was King for a day, who would I bring in to keep this highly-respected program going in the right direction? Simple… you look in your backyard.
You start with the hiring the face that has been integral in the recent success at Wright State, assistant coach Abby Jump to take over as the head coach with the Raiders. She is one of the fastest-rising assistant coaches in the country after a two-year stint at Morehead State. Jump arrived at Wright State two years ago and is ready for this job. She has been named to the WBCA 30-Under-30 three times, and she played her career at Wright State. She knows this area and I believe deserves a shot at this job. All of this is based on her not going with Merriweather to Memphis. She is a bigtime keeper in this business.
You bring Chelsea Welch in as one of her assistants. Welch is one of the most successful players in Wright State history being named the Horizon League Player of the Year in 2018. She also has been a key assistant coach at St. Lawrence University in New York and can help draw some outstanding players from around the Buckeye state. Her fiery attitude and desire for success would be a great fit for the Raiders, and she has a lot of ties around the country.
Your second assistant would need some convincing but another former Raider who has enjoyed success coaching at the high school level locally would be Courtney Boyd. I am telling you she would be great at the collegiate level with her knowledge of the game and personable demeanor. I know she is very comfortable at the high school level with a great program, but I totally believe she has what it takes to transition to the college coaching ranks and would be a bigtime asset to the Raiders program, or any program who wants a winner.
Who is the wildcard in this mix? I bring in a coach who has incredible ties in this area, and a lot of bigtime success in the collegiate ranks. You will need a coach to keep things calm during the transition and could be very big to the success of this staff. Bring home Frank Goldsberry from Loyola Chicago to be the experienced veteran on the bench, someone who can help guide things through the inevitable rough waters that every coaching staff goes through. Plus, it would give him a chance to finish his illustrious coaching career back in his hometown where his family is.
It’s only a dream team, but that is what I have done for over 35 years now… dream big for women’s basketball.