Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"A Special Place"

New women's coach Josh Brandwene, wife Leona and daughter Sophie.

"I'm humbled, I'm honored to be here - as all fans of this great place know, it's that type of place that when you spend a couple minutes on campus, and at a sporting event...really any event at the university, you can't help but want to be a part of it."

With those words Josh Brandwene, the first NCAA women's coach in Penn State history, re-introduced himself to the PSU community prior to a 20-minute press conference this morning.

In listening to Brandwene speak, it's hard not to draw some parallels between this morning's event and a similar one to announce the hiring of men's coach Guy Gadowsky on April 25.

Much like Gadowsky, one gets the sense that Brandwene saw the Penn State job as a higher calling - he admitted that he wanted the job going back to the day of the announcement of the Pegula donation and said that he is "thrilled beyond words to be back," a reference to his hall-of-fame career as an Icers defenseman from 1987-1991.

On his last visit to Penn State, "I had a chance to walk through campus," Brandwene said. "And it was really neat just to have all the memories from sort of the total student-athlete experience come rushing back and really have an opportunity to be a part of that, have a positive impact on another generation of Penn Staters, which is really special."

"I'm honored to be one of the many people here who makes a difference at this place."

Furthermore (and also like Gadowsky), Brandwene is a proven program builder - notably including ACHA reclamation jobs like West Virginia, Delaware and Michigan-Dearborn. "Over my 20 years as a head coach, I've prided myself on the challenge of building a program," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge here."

Another person eagerly anticipating events to come is soon-to-be-senior forward Dana Heller. "This is such an exciting time for our team," she said. "I can't wait to meet Coach Brandwene and get this season underway."

In many cases, men's and women's programs operate competitively with each other, but Brandwene put to rest any concerns with how the two programs would interact by saying that the two programs will enjoy "good synergy" at Penn State. "The culture that exists between those two programs is incredibly important," he said to a crowd that included PSU's men's coach.

Next up: recruiting. Brandwene observed the growth of the women's game and pointed out that "there will absolutely be a national and international focus to what we are doing here." He plans to begin recruiting this weekend, but that's only part of his approach to the first days of his tenure.

"It starts with program culture, and when you have a positive program culture in place, really everything builds from there, in terms of the type of people we're going to have involved in the program," he said.

"Then, the goal is to be as competitive as we possibly can as quickly as we possibly can."

No comments:

Post a Comment