A day after being announced as the new head coach of the Georgia Southern women’s basketball program, Chris Vozab met with the media Wednesday afternoon at the Russell Union.
Vozab played collegiately at Providence before serving as an assistant coach in each of the last eight seasons — three at Canisius, four at Winthrop, and finally at the University of Dayton this past season.
Vozab comes to Statesboro ready to take on the challenge of her first head coaching position, while trying to turn around a Lady Eagles team that struggled to an 8-22 mark last year — their second consecutive losing season — and a team that hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament since the 2006-07 season.
While GSU has seen some recent struggles, Vozab is confident that she is walking into a good situation.
“I got the same advice from a lot of other coaches when looking for a head coaching job,” Vozab said. “They all told me to be sure that, if I took a head coaching spot, it should be at a place that really cares about its women’s team.
“I think it’s obvious that’s the case here at Georgia Southern. It was hard not to be impressed and to want to be here just from walking through the campus, but what really excited me is how much this administration supports the team.”
After GSU announced Vozab's hiring Tuesday night in a news release, she had a chance to address the current Lady Eagles squad. Knowing that next year’s returning players — and incoming recruits — were recruited by former coach Rusty Cram and his staff, Vozab made it a point to connect with her new players and start to form relationships.
In addition to the team meeting, the Lady Eagles have already gone through a weight training session and a workout on the basketball court with Vozab at the helm. In the coming weeks, Vozab also intends to sit down with each player individually to address the transition.
Vozab is looking to make defense a priority for next year’s Eagles. She also stressed that she wants to run a squad that can apply pressure and keep things at a high pace throughout an entire game.
“I watched a lot of tape and read a lot of articles on Georgia Southern’s players and recruits before getting this job,” Vozab said. “I know a lot about them, but I also want to get to know everyone personally and talk about the direction we want to take as a team.
“I want to get a feel for what motivates them and how they like to be coached. That’s not to say that I might not have different ideas, but it’s important to get that knowledge and that we’re comfortable with one another.”
While Vozab is hard at work getting her team initiated into her system and style, she has already found herself in the spotlight of the other half of GSU basketball.
After being announced as the new women’s coach, Vozab was greeted by men’s head coach Charlton “C.Y.” Young.
GSU athletics director Sam Baker joked that while the dinner after the hiring announcement was intended to be a celebration, things quickly got down to business.
“Before long, Chris and C.Y. were talking strategy and game plans,” Baker said. “I think that, at one point, they had taken all of the salt and pepper shakers and were drawing up plays.”
Tip-off for Vozab’s inaugural season with the Lady Eagles is still months away, but she already has all of the pieces in motion for what she hopes will amount to a solid season for GSU.
“We want to compete,” Vozab said. “And that doesn’t just mean once the season starts. We are going to push hard in the weight room and in practice. I’m excited to be getting introduced into the program, but I’m also excited for us to get to work.”
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.