Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, April 04, 2010

One of the conversations I had yesterday included discussion of the great women's basketball stories that need telling - the ones beyond the "easy" headlines. The ones that require a writer to search and pay attention to what's going on beneath the surface.

In that vein, the Washington Post's Mike Wise picks up the story of Kevin Cook, winner of the Carol Eckman award (presented annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose) and coach of the Gaullaudet University women's basketball team.
When we think of hardship in college basketball, we think injury, graduation loss or must-win expectations. The banged-up Michigan State men, after all, somehow got to the Final Four on subs and sutures. The Connecticut women, unbeaten in their last 75, have to win it all, or else they become the Greg Norman of their sport.

But what if hardship meant genuine hardship?

What if, after coaching some of the best players in the world, you got the short end of the stick during an ownership change and had no full-time job?

And after raising championship trophies with the Houston Comets, whom you coached as a WNBA assistant, the only chance anyone gave you to be a head coach in college was at the world's only university that's exclusive to deaf and hard-of-hearing students?

Oh, and you didn't know a word of sign language when you pulled hard off Florida Avenue in Northeast Washington, through the gates of Gallaudet University?