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Post Lady Dog assistant Brenda Hill departs

Thursday April 26, 2007

Georgia assistant Brenda Hill has been named the new head coach of the Winder-Barrow girl’s basketball program, the ABH reports today. Hill, as most know, is the mother (and high school coach) of Georgia All-American Tasha Humphrey. Hill also has another daughter of high school age, and her new position will allow her to coach Mimi and spend more time in the area with both of her daughters.

The opening presents Coach Landers with an opportunity to go in several different directions. Does he go after a young female assistant with recent experience in the game and the WNBA? La’Keisha Frett was such a person when Landers brought her on a couple of years ago. Does he go back to someone like Hill with strong roots in the Georgia high schools? Or does he go for more experience? Former Lady Dog Susie Gardner resigned as Arkansas’ head coach after this past season and was just hired as an assistant at Florida. While Gardner might not be available anymore, there are similar experienced assistants and even former head coaches who might consider a job alongside the Hall of Fame-bound Landers.

The opening is also a chance to take stock. An evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the program, something that all coaches do after a season, could point him towards the kind of assistant who might fill the biggest need of the program. Katie Gilbert is an outstanding tactician and handles much of the team’s game preparation. She needs to focus on that role. Frett is still getting her feet wet both as a coach and a recruiter. As tempting as adding another former player might be, having two on the staff who are learning on the job might be a bit much.

These opportunities can also be bobbled. After longtime assistant Michael Shafer left for Richmond in 2005, the Lady Dogs had a brief but failed experiment with a former Clemson assistant. They were fortunate enough to find Frett willing to come on board on a temporary basis, and she earned a permanent position from it.

I believe the program most needs help in recruiting. If there’s another Michael Shafer out there, find him (or her)…easier said than done. Whether that means hiring a proven recruiter or hiring an experienced coach who can help with the details of the program as Landers turns his attention to improving recruiting, there is an imperative to increase the talent level. Brittany Carter was a great pickup from the in-state talent this year, but several others left the state, and it’s not a one-year thing. Landers himself admits, "We have got to do a better job. In the last couple of years, we have stumbled, and we have just got to do a better job."

While there’s plenty to be proud of about the state of the Georgia program, few are satisfied with being "just" a Sweet 16 program, and that is more or less the state of the program right now. They are certainly one of the top 15 programs in the nation and arguably one of the top 10. Landers is chief among those who demand better. He aims to make Georgia again one of the three or four programs at the top. This opening created by Hill’s departure is his chance to give the program the shot in the arm it needs to bring in more of the type of talent it takes to reclaim the program’s membership among the nation’s elite.

There has been no comment from Hill or the program yet.

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