Seattle University’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach Suzy Barcomb is in the midst of coaching her first season in Seattle. She’s taking this opportunity to not only bring some wins, but to change the team from the inside out.
Suzy Barcomb, SU’s women’s basketball head coach.
Q: How has it been for you to return to your hometown?
SB: Oh, I love it. It’s one of the reasons why I came back. I consider the Pacific Northwest my home. I’m just really comfortable here; it’s awfully cold though. It’s just nice to come out of the gym or out of the locker room and see my old friends, so that’s really enjoyable to me. Reconnecting with my other individuals that I hadn’t been in touch with since I’d moved to the bay so that’s always good as well. I don’t think there’s anything more enjoyable than working and living in the environment that you find most comfortable in. The Pacific Northwest is that for me.
Q: What is it about this season’s group of student-athletes that you enjoy most?
SB: It’s interesting. It’s taking us a little bit of time to get to know them but they’re incredibly intelligent and incredibility witty. I coach with sarcasm and a sense of humor and they appreciate that. I also think that there has been a big buy-in of what we’re trying to do, I think that they’re all in the process and doing their very best that they possibly can and some days it’s good enough and some days it’s not good enough but, I just really feel like they have enough respect for the process right now they they’re willing to do whatever they can do to help the program and elevate the program, so I have a great deal of appreciation for that.
Q: Do you think you’ve had to change your coaching style for this group?
SB: No. I am who I am as a coach. I think that in the first year sometimes you have to do more teaching because it is the first year, or our first year with them and they’re trying to learn our system. I think you’re a teacher and a mentor constantly, so I have to figure out how Kaylee Best understands the play and then how I can teach that same play to Alexis or Joana. You can’t just teach one way. So I think, if anything, it sharpens your skills when you come into a first year program, because you have to stretch yourself as a mentor or as a teacher because you can’t just teach one way and expect 15 different individuals to learn, so you have to teach everything multiple ways. It’s good for me. It’s great growth for me as well.
Q: The team has had 12 losses and 3 wins. Can you talk about this?
SB: Well, I just don’t think you can evaluate if your program is being successful on the fact that you have a 3 and 12 win loss record. I have people who are talking to me about how hard the team is playing, about how they don’t give up, how they never ever see a die attitude. So for me, I’m in that moment, so I just assume naturally ‘well of course they’re playing hard’ because that’s what my teams do, but I guess it’s a different persona than what they’ve done in the past. People that know me and know me as a coach, who come and watch the games say that they can see my personality, my competitiveness, my passion, starting to show up in them and that’s one of the biggest compliments someone can give me. So to me, when someone tells me that, I just put that over in the win column, that’s a win for us. The fact that we’ve lost seven games by 10 points or less, I mean look at the score last year, that’s not what was happening. So I think there’s a lot of characteristics that we can say we’re winning. We’re winning in that classroom. We have a really good team GPA. We have athletes who like each other. So there’s a difference. And when you’re changing a culture as well, you don’t get to see the culture change, or the fans may not, but we do because we’re in it, so we know that’s a win as well. There will be a time as well where winning games does become a priority, but that’s after you have your culture in place and your program in place and you have your system in place. I mean, it’d be foolish of me as a first year head coach to say that all that matters this year is winning games because it’s not all that matters. It’s treating everybody the right way and making sure the seniors leave the programs better than they found it. That’s all I charged our seniors with. If they can do that then I would give them a success and that’s a win in their category as well. So, there’s a lot of different ways to evaluate winning and losing.
Q: You still have about a month and half to go, what will you and the team be doing from here on out?
SB: We’re going to try winning ball games, that’s the bottom line. But, we’ve done some things differently and we’re implementing for our conference play, so we’ll keep on tweaking things and trying to figure out what’s going to work best for us. I think this time of the year most coaches and most team knows who’re their leading scorers, who’re their go-to people. We have to stay away from injury; we still have to get better every single day. I don’t think this team has reached its potential yet. I don’t think we’re playing our best basketball. I think at times we’re playing really, really good basketball, I don’t believe we’ve played our best basketball. So we will keep trying to reach that goal as well, to play the best basketball that this particular group of young women can do. When you do that, you just have to be happy with that level of success.
Yesenia may be reached at