The Xavier women’s basketball team has advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament twice in program history, and Amy Waugh was on hand both times—as a player in 2001 and an assistant coach in 2010. This month she starts her first season as head coach of the Musketeers.
Honestly, the players just think I’m old. They give me a hard time about my picture being on the walls. But there is also a level of respect because they know I had a successful playing career.
The biggest win in school history was probably beating Tennessee and going to our first ever Elite Eight. We fell a little short of the Final Four, but it was a great start to the tradition that’s been built here.
I know how Xavier works, and I like the small, close-knit feel. We bring in kids who maybe have been overlooked. We’re always going to be that underdog when we play the big-time schools. That fits my personality because I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve earned, and that’s the mentality that our team is going to take as well.
Moving over a chair—nothing can really get you ready for it. The butterflies will be there, but once the ball is tipped up, the adrenaline starts pumping and takes over. I’m going to be a lot like I was as a player—intense, determined, disciplined, fundamental.
We lost a lot of great players—four of our five starters. It’s a new staff and at the same time, it’s a new team, which is a positive in a sense. We all have that chip on our shoulder that we have something to prove.
We were top five in the country for the past two years. It will be hard to stay at that level, but that’s our goal. We want to reach that first Final Four at Xavier.
Role ModelAs a senior in 2002–03, Waugh led the Atlantic 10 in scoring with 19 points per game. She still holds school records for three-pointers in a season (107) and career free throw percentage (85.4).
Winner, WinnerIn Waugh’s six seasons at Xavier as a player and assistant coach, the Musketeers have made five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Coaching CradleWaugh credits former coach Kevin McGuff, who left to lead the Washington Huskies, for putting her in position to land his old job. “Kevin was an incredible mentor to me,” Waugh says. Her senior season was McGuff’s first year at Xavier.
Shoes to FillWaugh is stepping into a challenging situation. She will need to replace the team’s two leading scorers and rebounders from last year—Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips, who were both top 10 picks in this year’s WNBA draft.
Photograph by Jonathan WillisOriginally published in the November 2011 issue.
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