New Oklahoma St. coach striving to win games, fans

Tuesday, April 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State's new women's basketball coach will eventually concern herself with winning games. For now, she's also trying to win fans.

Julie Goodenough has been making the promotional rounds since her hiring April 10, when she was named to replace the fired Dick Halterman. She is working to sell a program that has had a difficult time drawing fans in recent years.

On Sunday, she threw out the first pitch at an OSU baseball game. She also has been part of the Cowboy Caravan, which makes stops across the state and features coaches of the various teams.

At one of the recent stops, Goodenough was greeted with a standing ovation when she was introduced. She responded with a sharp sense of humor.

``Wow,'' she said, ``and you haven't even seen me in my short skirts yet.''

Oklahoma State is banking on Goodenough to spark the Cowgirls program, which has failed to keep pace with other schools in the tough Big 12. Down the road in Norman, Oklahoma reached the Final Four for the first time, in just the sixth year under dynamic coach Sherri Coale.

Goodenough, 33, is making the leap from Division III Hardin-Simmons, where she was 188-54 in nine seasons. Her teams won seven American Southwest Conference regular-season titles, including the past five in a row.

Goodenough has retained one of Halterman's assistants, Amy Gusso, and two more assistants should be added soon. She is assessing the players on hand and looking toward some last-minute recruiting.

The Cowgirls signed four players in the fall and Goodenough said she would like to add four more.

``We need a strong backup point guard,'' she said. ``We have Chantoya Hawkins returning, but she needs help. Trisha Skibbe is back, and she's a very strong post player. But she's going to need some help as well.''

In addition to recruiting new players and fans, Goodenough said she has to work with the players on hand and change their way of thinking. The Cowgirls have gone 16-15, 16-15, 14-16 and 13-15 in the past four years.

``We first have to teach the girls a winning mentality, make them believe in themselves, make them believe in the vision our coaching staff has for the program, that we can be one of the best in the country,'' she said.

``They're not real positive right now. They don't have a lot of confidence.''