UTEP Women’s Basketball Profile: Coach Keitha Adams
An idea popped into my head as I was leaving with the UTEP women's basketball team this morning to Mississippi. Instead of doing a player profile, why not do a profile on Coach Keitha Adams? After all, Coach Adams is an individual who has led this remarkable program for fifteen seasons now, and has solidified her place in El Paso sports history as she has transformed UTEP women's basketball into a national powerhouse.
The Miners are 21-2, 12-1 in C-USA, and overall leaders in the conference. Most recently UTEP reached the 20 plus win mark for the fourth time in five years, and the sixth time overall under Coach Adams. I had an opportunity to ask Coach Adams some questions today on our layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston while we waited for our connecting flight to Gulfport, Mississippi.
1. You're 21-2 so far this season, your thoughts on the 2015-2016 campaign thus far? "We've been focused on the 'payback tour' because last year we went 12-16, we want to be focused on the team we're getting ready to play, that's been our approach, take it one game at a time."
2. What is the number one thing you try to teach your players?
"I'm a big believer in hard work, in whatever it is that you're doing, good things will happen when you work hard and have a great work ethic."
3. The team has won 20 plus games for the fourth time in the past five seasons, and sixth time overall during your tenure, how does that feel?
"I think it's a reflection on having good players, I feel it's key to have your players buy into things. We've worked hard to develop trust and to be on the same page as our players. If you don't have those things, then you will not have those kind of seasons."
4. You've been here for 15 seasons and transformed this program into a championship contender, obviously you've had offers to leave, but you've chosen to stay, can we call you the Don Haskins of women's basketball?
"One of the neat things about being at UTEP is that Coach Haskins and I became really good friends. I'm honored to coach in the Don Haskins Center, I'm a better coach because of him, he'd get me thinking about things, our friendship allowed me to grow as a coach."
5. Your thoughts on the stretch run of the season?
"We've gotten into a pretty good routine in our approach, we get into a plan based on who we're playing, we focus on our opponent and have our game plan. Having good practices is important and not thinking about anything else."
6. What is your favorite food?
"Mexican food, chips and salsa, I make my own guacamole, I never did that before coming to El Paso."
7. What are your best memories from coaching at UTEP thus far?
"Probably us selling out the Don Haskins Center and having 12,222 fans, that was a memory for the ages. I think you'll ask players 20 years from now and they will always have that memory of the WNIT tournament run, it was incredible. I think our trophy from the WNIT tournament is El Paso's trophy. Another great memory is when our team went 16-0 in conference play, it was pretty special. I will always remember my very first recruiting class at UTEP, they started this from the ground up and we didn't have anything to show them like championships to convince them to come here."
My special thanks to Coach Keitha Adams for taking the time to conduct this interview with me today, it was both informative and intriguing to hear her prospective on what it is like to be the coach of the UTEP women's basketball team. A coach of her caliber comes along once in a lifetime, okay twice since we had one of the greatest coaches in men's basketball history in Don Haskins. El Paso sure has some rich basketball history, don't you think?
Hope everyone can tune in on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. MST as the Miners play at Southern Miss on 600 ESPN El Paso.