Goestenkors Named AP ACC Coach of the Year Third Straight Time
March 5, 2004
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Before every game, Gail Goestenkors reserves a few moments to let her mind run through seemingly every possible scenario.
She thinks about what to do if her Duke team is down two points with 10 seconds left. She imagines what the opposing coach would call if the roles were reversed. She's so detailed that she dissects the theoretical play down to whether it starts with a sideline inbounds pass.
"It's a form of meditation, I think, just to be alone and think through the games," Goestenkors said. "It's very calming for me so that I go out on the court feeling comfortable that I already know what plays I would call."
It's just one example of the lengths Goestenkors goes to to keep her Blue Devils atop the Atlantic Coast Conference. She led her team to its fourth straight regular-season title this season, and was named Friday as The Associated Press coach of the year in the ACC for the third straight season.
Goestenkors received 27 of a possible 49 votes for the award that were cast by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. North Carolina State's Kay Yow was second with 10 votes.
Goestenkors is tied with Virginia's Debbie Ryan for most awards, though Goestenkors has won six in the past nine seasons. During that time, Duke has won 82 percent of its games.
In 2002 and 2003, Duke went 19-0 through the ACC regular season and tournament before reaching the Final Four. Duke's 51-game conference winning streak ended this season with a loss at Florida State, but the Blue Devils (24-3, 15-1) are poised for a run at a record fifth straight tournament title this weekend.
The Blue Devils also saw a record five players selected for this season's all-ACC team, announced earlier this week. That included All-American Alana Beard, the first player to win first-team honors four times.
That balance has made this season satisfying for Goestenkors.
"I think last year we relied so heavily on Alana that sometimes I don't know that it was much fun for her because she had to carry us quite a bit," Goestenkors said. "I think she's probably enjoying this year more and everybody else is too, because everyone feels a part of this. Everyone knows they are needed."
Goestenkors never stops pushing her players,or herself. She was an NAIA All-American while playing for Saginaw Valley State from 1981-85, and remains second in career steals (348), assists (469) and games played (127) at the Michigan school.
She coached a junior high school team as a college junior, but decided she would rather coach at the college level because she wanted to recruit and coach players with the same drive and passion as she had.
"When I get in the huddle, that's when the adrenaline starts, when I'm pumping my team up and getting them ready to go," she said. "That's when you can see the fire in their eyes, and I want them to see the fire and the passion in my eyes as well.
"Whenever we lose I always feel responsible for that, and I always feel that I have let my team down," she said. "That motivates me."