What a difference winning makes for Western's coach After 7-37 start elsewhere, Uhlich, Doves go for title

Girls basketball

March 12, 1998|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It's no wonder Western coach Artie Uhlich was so accommodating to reporters seeking to interview him during the state tournament's press luncheon Tuesday.

After all, Uhlich didn't receive a lot of attention during his two years at Northeast, which saw the Eagles compile a 7-37 record.

"Western has the type of program where people want to talk to you. At Northeast, if anybody came up to you, it was like, 'Oh, thank you.' It must have been a relative or something," Uhlich said with a laugh.

Uhlich is quick to point out that he isn't knocking Northeast. It's just that Western's basketball program is steeped in a winning tradition that is unparalleled in the Baltimore area.

It's a tradition that has continued this season under Uhlich, who had the unenviable task of replacing longtime coach Breezy Bishop, who left Western with a 411-39 record in 24 seasons for a position as an assistant coach at North Carolina State.

Uhlich has guided the sixth-ranked Doves to a 25-2 record, an area-best 22-game winning streak and a berth in the Class 4A state semifinals at UMBC, where Western will meet Suitland of Prince George's County at 5 p.m. today.

"Breezy is Breezy and I am me," Uhlich said. "We have different styles and different philosophies in some things, but things have worked out well. I think it was a little tough for the girls in the beginning to get used to me but they have jelled together and played hard to learn my system."

One lesson Uhlich has taught his players by example is to set high goals and not sell themselves short.

"Everybody said I had no shot at getting the job," he said. "I just figured that if I go in there and be myself, then I have a chance."

Finding the successor to Bishop was an involved process.

His first interview was with athletic director Eva Scott, a parent of one of the players and principal Anne D. Carusi. In his second interview, Uhlich also met with Bob Wade, the city schools' supervisor for athletic programs. He got the job the next day.

"With such a large number of people applying, the people at Western wanted to feel comfortable with who they picked," he said. "With the tradition they have, I understand that."

A tradition that Uhlich is carrying on quite nicely.

Pub Date: 3/12/98

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