“Typical” is not the word the Ohio State women’s basketball assistant coaches would use to describe their day. From the moment they wake up to the second they walk into their office, assistant coaches Pete Gaudet, Kelley Meury and Tamika Williams all will agree there is rarely a consistent routine in their day-to-day work. Preparation for a game begins long before tip-off.
In the days leading up to a game, the coaches encounter numerous responsibilities that aid in the team’s preparation. For example, the day following a game, Gaudet and Williams may be the two coaches Jim Foster will speak with concerning the team’s performance in the previous game. Gaudet and Williams will proceed to analyze the positive and negative attributes about the game and use the information to educate the team.
As the other assistant coach, Meury, along with Foster, may have to obtain opponent scouting information. For example, she might view Ohio State’s next opponent on tape, breaking down the opposition’s offensive and defensive strategies.
There are other times, throughout the season, when two of the three assistants may be traveling for recruiting purposes, missing a practice. Therefore, the job duties of the other assistant coach will change. The coach that stays behind could be in charge of both analyzing the team’s execution in earlier games and scouting the next opponent.
“Every day is different,” Gaudet said. “The day might be different for Tamika if she has to scout or for Kelley if we’re playing a home game and she’s taking the ‘red-eye’ back from California. Meanwhile, the other assistant may be starting the game preparation.”
As tip-off approaches, the coaches perform their respective routines, no matter how small the duty may appear to be. “When we play at home I always double check the starters with Coach Foster and then I go to the scorers’ table and check the official scorebook every time,” Meury said. “I don’t know if many people know this, but if there is a mistake in the book when the game starts, it is a technical foul on your team.”
During the game, all the coaches have their own tasks they may be responsible for. For example, Gaudet is in charge of keeping track of certain offensive and defensive plays that are working well. Meury always has the stats of the other team and Williams analyzes the offensive play-by-play of the game, also deciding what works well for Ohio State when the team is on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite all the responsibilities and the work that await the coaching staff during and following a game, they still find time to get a little excited and anxious before a game.
As a current player for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, Williams can relate to the intensity of the atmosphere and admits she still gets a little nervous before each game.
“You just want the team to do so well, especially when you know how good it can be,” Williams said. “I know what they go through everyday, so I just want to see them play well.”
“You know as a coach it is your responsibility to be alert to everything that is going on, but I think it is also normal to become combative and competitive for your team,” Gaudet said. “There is always emotion and you hope that when those kids put on that uniform they realize that the game they are playing in is huge.”
Practices and games aside, all the coaches appreciate the relationships they have developed with members of the team.
“I think with all the hard work they have been through and knowing how far they have come, it is very motivational as a coach to want to see them get even better,” Williams said. “You do everything for them and we want to develop them into better people and make them better players on the court. They are a great group of kids.”
“I equate the relationship I have with the team to that of a family,” Meury said. “There are times when I hug them and there are times when you have to challenge them when they might not want to be challenged.”
The trio agrees that coaching college basketball surpasses the concept of teaching young adults, but that the student-athletes, too, in return teach valuable lessons about life on and off the court.
“The best thing about kids is not what you teach them, but what they teach you,” Williams said.