Scott Rueck has been on the job less than a month, but he’s got a year’s worth of work in front of him, reviving a Beavers program that saw a mass player exodus and the firing of head coach LaVonda Wagner. He must hire a staff, rebuild his roster by fall and then, well, compete.
Rueck talked with leftcoasthoops.com on Tuesday morning, joking that he should “probably be talking somebody who is 6-foot-5 instead.”
Q; What have these first few weeks been like?
A: They been a little chaotic, exciting, and a little overhwleming because of where we are. At the same time, it’s been encouraging. I’ve talked to a lot of people and I’m working hard to build a staff. I’m looking for best people I can find and I’ve made a decision to be patient. This is an interesting place to be and it’s going to take a special group of people, so I’m really being diligent about how I’m doing that.
We’ve been contacting the players who are still here, welcoming incoming freshman, and pursuing student-atheltes that could join us this fall. It’s been 24 hours a day for almost three weeks.
Q: What is the state of your staff?
A: I have a coach joining us today that will be made official soon, I’m getting close with another coach and I have candidates for a third position after those two are in place.
Q: What is the status of your roster?
A: We have six players on campus that are official here, in the program. There is a seventh finishing up some coursework from junior college that is signed. Then we are going through the process with several others.
(The three returning players are senior forward El Sara Greer, junior guard Brittany Kennedy and sophomore forward Angela Misa has returned to the team, Rueck said. In addition, there are three incoming freshman – Alicia Martin, Classye James and Alexis Bostick. The seventh player is Anna Marchbanks, who will join the program in the fall from Yakima Valley C.C. in Washington.)
Q: What are your plans for rebuilding your roster?
A: We are pursuing everybody we can, everybody that would be available to join us. We want to make smart decisions with the use of our scholarships. We have eight available scholarships now. Some of those decisions are going to be made once our staff is assembled. But we need to be cautious, make good decisions on character and ability. This process needs to be built in the correct way. We are not in panic mode, I will say that. We are being very aggressive about finding the right people as soon as possible. It’s a fluid process.
Q: How difficult a job will it be?
A: The challenge has been the timing. We had five days on the job before we hit the evaluation period, and a week where we are unable to communicate. We are in the dead period here now, for six days and then we’re on the road again for 10 more days. That’s the most challenging and frustrating part. We’ve had to have some patience when haven’t wanted to.
Q: Have you been alone on the road recruiting so far?
A: It is just me. To be honest, my priority was building a staff, so that took up a lot of that time. But I’ve been out recruiting and meeting coaches. The No. 1 priority for me is to get great people on staff if we are going to build this thing. But that’s what I’m used to. Coming from Division III, you are always out alone on the road.
Q: What are you telling people about Oregon State women’s basketball?
A: That they are excited for the future. That they are confident we can get the job done here. That it’s one of the most unique situations they’ve ever seen. And that makes me more excited for the challenge. I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement, a lot of people telling me believe in what we are doing and what i’ve done and that we are going to get this done and we have to be patient.
Q: What are people telling you about Oregon State women’s basketball?
A: That this is a program that has had success in past. That it will be built the right way, with character. That we will have the same values in our program that we had at George Fox. I think it can be consistent at all levels. I don’t think levels even matter when it comes to that stuff. I don’t know when we will win, but that I’m confident that we will.
Q: What is your short-term hope for this program?
A: The same as it was last year at George Fox, that the group that I’m responsible for leading will reach its potential and have a positive experience.
Q: What is your long-term hope for the program?
A: To be successful, to fill this arena as much as we can. To be a program that the community and the region can be proud of. To be a unified group with one common goal, to be selfless and inspirational. To have the players say that this was the greatest experience, the best four years of their lives.
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