BU’s new women’s basketball coach hopes for “a happy marriage” of her coaching style and her players’ on-court style, she said in her public debut at BU yesterday.
Katy Steding comes from the University of California, Berkeley, where as an assistant women’s basketball coach she helped lead her team to two NCAA tournaments.
The women Terriers will “have to adjust to what we want to do, but I’ll actually have to adjust to what they can do and want to do and how they play,” Steding told reporters after being introduced to a crowd of deans and athletics department staff by outgoing athletics director Michael Lynch. “If you try to morph players into something that they’re not familiar playing like, you’re going to have problems.”
She said there is “most assuredly” a different playing style at BU from her former gig: “We’ve got some shooters, and Berkeley doesn’t necessarily have the same kind of shooters.” BU competes in the Patriot League, and when a reporter suggested that the league’s schools don’t recruit tall women for their basketball teams, Steding replied with a laugh, “Maybe that will change.” (The new coach is 6-foot-3 “in these,” she said, pointing to her shoes with heels.)
With the spectacularly sunny view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline out the wraparound windows of StuVi2’s 26th-floor conference room as a backdrop, Lynch introduced Steding, BU’s seventh women’s basketball head coach, as a woman whose “playing experience is second to none,” both as player and coach. Before her Berkeley job, the 46-year-old Steding was for seven years head coach of women’s basketball at Oregon’s Warner Pacific College, where she oversaw the program’s transition from club level to varsity team. She left in 2008 for a season as assistant coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
Steding was on the 1996 US Olympic gold-medal-winning women’s basketball team and has played professionally in the WNBA, with the Seattle Storm and Sacramento Monarchs, and with the American Basketball League’s Portland Power.
She told the assemblage that the coach’s position here was her dream job, because of the University’s rigorous academics, its membership in the Patriot League, and the appeal of living in Boston. When she saw the BU job was available, she said, “I called John [her husband] immediately and said, ‘Boston’s open.’”
“This was a really intense six weeks,” Lynch said. “We went through a national search.”
Steding replaces Kelly Greenberg, who resigned in April amid allegations from some players that she bullied them, leading four to quit in the last year. In her chat with reporters, Steding said she didn’t know if the controversy would linger with her players. “I don’t intend for it to linger. What I’ve said to everybody is, I think the most important thing is that this is our team, and we’re going to move forward. I think the girls are excited about the future, and that’s all I can ask for.…They’re good players, so I don’t think it’s that far off to expect success.”
A student-athlete at Stanford, Steding was a power forward and helped her team to its first NCAA Women’s Division I basketball championship in 1990. She graduated that year with a psychology degree. A native Oregonian, she was inducted into Stanford’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.