Maryland women are a man down for 2007-08 season

Terps assistant Walz leaves for Louisville head coaching job

Ncaa Tournament

March 28, 2007|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN REPORTER

When 19-month-old Kaeley Walz starts stringing words together into coherent sentences, her father, Jeff, the now former Maryland women's basketball associate head coach, hopes the first one will be specific to his new job.

"My wife is working hard to get our 19-month-old to say `Go Cards,' before she comes out," Walz said yesterday afternoon at a press conference to introduce him as head women's coach at Louisville.

Walz, 35, was introduced at Louisville, located 80 minutes from his hometown of Fort Thomas, Ky. The Maryland players were gathered early yesterday and told of Walz's departure.

Walz, who came to Maryland five years ago with head coach Brenda Frese from Minnesota, is considered to be an excellent game strategist. Walz is credited for drawing up the play in last year's national championship game where guard Kristi Toliver hit a three-pointer over the outstretched arms of a Duke defender that tied the contest with six seconds left in regulation.

The Terps went on to win the title in overtime.

"She [Frese] is a recruiter that gets after it," Walz said. "She also coaches and she's great with the players. She's a head coach who never had an ego. I was fortunate to be able to do a lot of X's and O's and recruiting."

Said Frese in a statement issued by Maryland: "He's been with me for six years, first at Minnesota and then here at Maryland. As a staff, we've had an incredible experience and have learned so much together. He's a huge reason for our success. He really was a person I could count on in virtually any situation and what was especially comforting was that I had a high level of trust with him. He's deserving of and ready for this opportunity."

Walz, who replaces Tom Collen, who left last week to take over at Arkansas, has said he received a few calls last year after Maryland's title run, but wanted to wait for the right opportunity.

Louisville, which finished fifth in the Big East Conference with a 27-8 record, was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the second round, losing, 67-58, to Arizona State, after leading by 14 points with 11 minutes to go in the game. All but two of the Cardinals' top eight regulars return next season, and Louisville should challenge Connecticut and Rutgers in the Big East.

"I've been coaching for 12 years," Walz said. "I was hoping that one day I would have the opportunity to be a head coach, but, at the same time, I had a great job. I was going to take my time and make sure that I got a great opportunity and a great fit. Thankfully, this is both of these."

One of the regulars Walz will have to work with at Louisville is former Sun Player of the Year Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances), a sophomore who averaged 22 points and 10.6 rebounds per game this season and was named Big East Player of the Year.

Walz said the Cardinals will play up-tempo, as the Terps do, a pledge that suits McCoughtry well.

"I do like that style," McCoughtry said. "Maryland is a very athletic team and I think that fits with us. We have some very athletic females on this club. Hopefully, it will fit well."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.