By Colleen Thomas, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 23, 2012
In a press conference in the Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium on Monday, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon formally introduced Kim Barnes Arico as the ninth head women’s basketball coach in the program’s 40-year history.
Barnes Arico replaces Kevin Borseth, who left the program on April 4 to return to Wisconsin-Green Bay. Borseth took the Wolverines to their first NCAA Tournament in 11 years, but they fell to Oklahoma in the first round.
“Our women’s basketball program has made significant strides over the past few years,” Brandon said. “But we have more to go. The reason you come to Michigan is to compete for championships and play at the highest level. That’s what we want for our women’s basketball program.
“Words cannot express how pleased and proud that I am that on Friday, we were able to announce that Kim Barnes Arico is going to lead our program.”
Barnes Arico arrives in Ann Arbor after 10 years at the helm of St. John’s, where she took a bottom-feeder in the Big East to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments. She also became the winningest women’s basketball coach for the Red Storm on Feb. 12, recording her 169th victory.
In her opening statement, Barnes Arico expressed her excitement to join the Michigan family — something she mentioned was one of the great things about coming to the university, in addition to the welcoming atmosphere in Ann Arbor.
“One of the things when I was looking at the University of Michigan that made it so appealing to me before I came and through the process was Dave Brandon,” Barnes Arico said. “He is a special man, and I found that out in a short period of time. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with him here at the University.
“It’s one of the best universities in the country, academically and athletically. I’m excited to be here. I’m expecting great things.”
Though the Wolverines have made significant progress in the past few years under Borseth, they will now have to adapt to a different style of play. Many questions surrounding the transition from the old style to Barnes Arico’s coaching style were addressed, as well as Barnes Arico’s own switch from coaching and recruiting in the Big East to the Big Ten.
Barnes Arico believes she won’t have trouble getting the team to adapt to her coaching style — she implements a fast-paced, defensive-minded system that Michigan began to run under Borseth and has been seen in Big Ten teams such as Penn State and Ohio State.
“I think the mindset will always be defense first,” said senior guard Jenny Ryan. “At St. John’s they played a very fast-paced game and I think (Barnes Arico) really prided herself on defense creating the offense. I think that’ll blend perfectly with our style.”
As for recruiting, Barnes Arico is excited to welcome the state’s top player, Madison Ristovski, to the team and hopes to use her ties to the East Coast to her advantage in recruiting, as well.
“I definitely think I can recruit the Midwest, and I think I have to recruit the Midwest,” Barnes Arico said. “I think I can recruit the East, as well. Michigan is a national name, and people from around the country will come to the University of Michigan.”
Michigan finished seventh in the Big Ten last season with an 8-8 conference record and was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. The Wolverines have a fierce in-state rivalry with Michigan State, which has beaten them 19 of the past 20 times.
Michigan has beaten Ohio State three of the last four times, but the in-state rivalry, both in recruiting and on the court, is a key focus for Barnes Arico’s next season.
“I think it’s time,” Barnes Arico said. “I’m really excited about it. I know (Michigan State has) a great program and a great tradition in women’s basketball, but I think we have all of these things too.
“I don’t want to steal from somebody else, but it’s the University of Michigan fergodsakes.”