The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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program that some had dubbed "the burial ground for women's basket- ball coaches." Before Barnes Arico took over in W hen Kim Barnes Arico was offered the job at St. John's, friends and peers told her to steer clear of a BY ANDY REID 2003, the Red Storm had tallied just two winning seasons since 1989. Their record during that 15-year stretch: 134-253. In Barnes Arico's third season at did things that no one thought was imaginable." Barnes Arico began her head coaching career at Division III Fair- leigh Dickinson-Madison in 1997. After a year there, she was hired by New Jersey Institute Of Technology, coinciding with the Highlanders' first year as a Division II program. NJIT finished 5-21 in her first year, then 11-16 in 1999, earning her New Jersey Coach Of The Year honors. Nearby Adelphi University, which the helm, St. John's went 20-11. Last season, the Red Storm finished sec- ond in the Big East, snapped Con- necticut's 99-game home winning streak and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. TURNING A NEW PAGE had prevailed in meetings with the Highlanders, 76-52 in 1998 and 69-65 in 1999, took notice. Even in defeat, it was clear the young Barnes Arico had a special talent. "When we were playing against her team, I thought we were the better U-M Hires Kim Barnes Arico To Re-Energize The Women's Basketball Program in one of the toughest conferences in America. So why leave to begin another retooling job at Michigan? "I don't want to steal from some- She built a solid, reliable winner body else, but it's the University of Michigan, for God's sakes," she said, channeling her inner-Brady Hoke. "I wouldn't have done it otherwise. "I spoke a lot to my family dur- ing the interview process, because I think they were in complete shock about the opportunity. This is a spe- cial place, and the people here really, truly understand that it's a special place." The truth is, this is what Barnes Arico has done her entire career: re- invigorate programs with little or no tradition, no history of success. In 16 years a head coach, Barnes Arico has compiled a 270-205 record, all at places where no one outside the program gave her much of a chance. "When I took over at St. John's, we team, but that we got outcoached," said Robert Hartwell, who has been Adelphi's athletics director for 23 years. "I thought the way she handled her program at the time, she had great promise. "I got some recommendations on her and received nothing but rave re- views, and she certainly didn't disap- point during the interview process. I basically hired her immediately. It was a great choice. She did wonder- ful things here." The Panthers had just three win- 132 consecutive games for St. John's from 2008-11, said Barnes Arico de- manded a lot from her players, but she also hosted barbeques, team- bonding game nights, guest speak- ers and other events to help the Red Storm grow closer. Come game time, though, there Sky Lindsay, a guard who started was no team more prepared than St. John's. "We would know the other team's ning records in their 13 seasons prior to Barnes Arico's hiring, but won more than they lost in each of her three campaigns, going 18-10, 19-11 and 28-3. For an office, Barnes Arico was were the worst of the worst in the country," Barnes Arico said. "There was not one person who thought we could do it, and 10 years later, we In 16 years as a head coach, at four different schools, Barnes Arico has compiled a 270-205 record, including 176-133 at St. John's. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN given half of a storage space in the basement of an old building on Adel- phi's campus. One day, when she was working down there, the pipes burst, soaking her and her infant son, Trevor, whom she occasionally brought with her. "I told Kim he was born to be a swimmer," Hartwell said, with a laugh. "But she was always good- natured and fun — even about some- thing like that." Hartwell and Barnes Arico grew entire offense, all their plays," Lind- say said. "We studied film all the time. She would even put together these little tests and ask questions about different personnel and things. "You definitely have to have a high basketball IQ to be successful under her. Other teams' strengths, weak- nesses, players, plays — she's on point with that." Barnes Arico's bond with her play- ers reaches far past the court, and past the four or five years they spend on her team. "There's a deep affection from her close. Hartwell said he felt like a grandfather to Trevor. While Barnes Arico was racking up wins and building up Adelphi's pro- gram, increasing her own reputation in the process, Hartwell wasn't con- vinced he'd lose her to a bigger school. Barnes Arico went to William Floyd High School on Long Island, where she grew up, not far from Adelphi. But when the Panthers went 28-3 in her third year, earning the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Divi- sion II NCAA Tournament, Hartwell knew it wouldn't last. She accepted the job at St. John's in 2003. There, she continued to de- velop her coaching style as a tough, stern taskmaster on the court, but a fun-loving person off it. players, and a sense of gratitude to the professionalism she brought and the kind of program that she ran," Hartwell said. Lindsay's postgraduate career is JUNE/JULY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 37

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