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Southern Coaching Changes

October 9, 2002 Columns No Comments

Southern Coaching Changes Roundup

by Shannon Shelton

Some new names and faces will be seen at the helm of a number of major
Southern women’s basketball programs this year, ranging from the
high-profile to unknowns hoping to make a name for themselves.

Among the notable changes among Southern schools will be the absence of
Leon Barmore at longtime power Louisiana Tech, and the return of Carolyn
Peck to the collegiate ranks. Barmore “re-retired” from the Lady Techsters’
head coaching position, and Peck will try to get another national
championship with Florida.

Barmore first left the Lady Techsters during the 2000 season, but returned
after the school had trouble finding a new coach. Late this summer, the
57-year-old retired again, not giving a reason for the most recent decision.

As long as Louisiana Tech has been a national power, Barmore has been
there. He began as an assistant during the 1977-78 season, became associate
head coach in 1980-81 and was a co-head coach with Sonja Hogg the following
season. He became the sole head coach in 1985.

As a head coach, Barmore compiled a 576-87 record, 20 consecutive winning
seasons, five national championship games and a national title in 1988.
During the 2001-02 season, Louisiana Tech went 25-5. Louisiana Tech and
Tennessee are the only two schools to appear in every NCAA Tournament.

Kurt Budke, an assistant under Barmore, will take over as head coach.

Florida’s new head coach will have a name that sounds similar to that of
the former head coach, Carol Ross. Former Purdue coach Carolyn Peck had been
absent from the college coaching world for three years, but she’ll now see
if she can work her magic with another school.

Ross left Florida after the Gators bowed out in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament. Within a month, the school named Peck, who was then the coach of
the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle, to the position.
Peck, who led Purdue to a national title in 1999, left after that season to
coach Orlando’s new WNBA team in 1999.

Another change took place at Vanderbilt, as former Xavier Coach Melanie
Balcomb earned the prestigious position with the Commodores. Balcomb took
over for Jim Foster, who moved to Ohio State. Tom Collen of Colorado State
was tapped as the original replacement for the Commodores, but ended up in a
George O’Learyesque situation and quit the next day after questions about
discrepancies in his resume.

So far, there have been 58 new coaches nationwide named for the 2002-03


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