Countdown to Beijing Olympics with Coach G
There is no rest for Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors this summer, and she would not want it any other way.
Goestenkors is preparing for a hectic summer of basketball camps, recruiting and the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing where she is serving as a USA assistant coach (to head coach Anne Donovan) for the second consecutive Olympics. The USA is the defending Olympic champion having defeated Australia, 74-63, in the gold medal game at the Athens Olympics in August of 2004.
Goestenkors took over the Texas Basketball program last spring and led Texas to the NCAA tournament second round, quickly showing the nation why she has seven National Coach of the Year honors to her name. Her 22-13 Longhorns finished as one of the hottest teams in the nation, going 6-2 in their final eight games.
"It's a fantastic time right now to be at Texas and to be involved in our Olympic program," smiled Goestenkors. "There is the same goal with both programs -- we want to bring home the Olympic gold, and we want to bring back to Austin the NCAA Championship."
Goestenkors is spending the latter part of May on campus in preparation for camp and recruiting.
She recently returned from a pre-Olympic tournament in Beijing where the USA squad -- without its full complement of players -- placed second to China in the 2008 Good Luck Beijing Tournament's gold medal game (84-81) at Wukesong Arena.
"My Olympic coaching commitment means another hectic summer of Texas basketball camps and July recruiting across the country followed by my time in Beijing, but that's exactly how I like it!," exclaimed Goestenkors, who has her gold medal an USA Olympic assistant coach in Athens for the gold medal USA squad.
"It is a privilege and absolute honor to be representing our country for the second consecutive Olympic Games," noted Goestenkors, "This experience as an Olympic coach is an honor and a wonderful learning experience for me as a coach and person."
During the Good Luck tourney, Goestenkors and the other members of the USA National Team had the opportunity to visit one of the wonders of the world -- the Great Wall of China. They also toured a UNESCO World Heritage Site and walked around historic Tian'anmen Square.
"We had some time to do some sight-seeing and make some cultural visits while in Beijing for the Good Luck tourney, and that was awe-inspiring," Goestenkors said. "Now we turn to the business at hand -- winning the Olympic gold."
Goestenkors also was eager to talk about the Texas team's development since the season ended in late March.
"In talking to our players as they headed into final exams this week, their collective attitude is one of excitement and determination," stated Coach G. "Their off-season spring workouts were at an intense level, and they responded wonderfully to their time on the court and in the weight room. We are making solid improvement in all areas and I'm very impressed with the work ethic and 'all-out' attitudes."
"We have great momentum from our late-season run and from our NCAA tournament experience," Goestenkors said. "It's our goal to challenge for national championships, and we are building towards that goal. There is such a positive feeling around the program and great leadership coming from our captains Britt (Brittany Raven) and Earnie (Earnesia Williams).
"It's been a whirlwind year for me, but one of tremendous one of growth and excitement," Coach G concluded, "and I wouldn't want it any other way! It's a wonderful time to be a Texas Longhorn!"