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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By Bethany Bradsher

Disarray dissipates as Macy takes charge

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

It may be a relatively calm time of year to be a basketball coach, but there was nothing tranquil about Heather Macy’s arrival in Greenville.

When Macy was hired as the new East Carolina women’s basketball coach on April 30, she was the second person to hold that position in four days.

Wes Moore, who was introduced as the coach on April 26, had announced the day before that he was declining the offer and staying at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

It was the most tumultuous week in memory for the fans and followers of the Lady Pirates, who were still reeling from the departure of Sharon Baldwin-Tener on April 17. In her eight seasons at the helm, Baldwin-Tener led ECU to more wins than any other coach in program history.

So the stage that was set for Macy was complicated, to say the least. But she also walked into an opportunity to fill a leadership vacuum with laser focus and clear goals for the team. After nearly two weeks on the job she characterizes as “a dream come true,” she is nearly done hiring her staff and just scratching the surface of her next vital task — getting to know her players well.

“Besides the staff, the single most important thing we’re doing is developing relationships with these returning players,” she said. “The big thing is that these kids love it here, they’re happy here, they believe in what we’re doing. And that would have been a large hurdle to overcome.”

Macy came to East Carolina from Francis Marion University, where she compiled a 75-19 record over five years and took the Patriots to the NCAA Division II tournament three times.

Before going to Francis Marion, Macy was a head coach at Pfeiffer College, and she worked as an assistant at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, High Point University, Lenoir-Rhyne and Catawba College.

A Hamptonville native, she is a 2000 graduate of Greensboro College.

““This was a no brainer for me,” she said. “Getting back to North Carolina, being part of a program like this one, and the opportunity to compete in Conference USA and compete for the NCAA tournament, it just felt like a dream come true.”

Allison Spivey, whose senior season will be Macy’s rookie season as the ECU coach, said that the players and their new coach have had two meetings. The first was like a business meeting, focusing on policies and expectations. The second was more informal, a chance to hang out together, laugh and get acquainted.

“It was a lot of fun,” Spivey said. “We took down the shield.”

Even if she won’t be able to put her new Pirates through a real workout until the fall, Macy has seen enough to know that she has the ideal personnel to execute the lightning- fast style of play that she plans to introduce.

“The kids fit exactly the style of play we want to play,” she said. “We want to play very up-tempo. We want to lead the country in scoring.”

Step one in reaching that goal is beefing up the team’s strength and conditioning plans for the months ahead. Macy has already met with the team’s strength coach to ensure the player’s summer workouts will lead them to success when they take the court.

“Physically, it’s exhausting to play this way, so the strength component is huge for our success,” she said. “The summer months are really going to help us. (The style of play) will be much faster, with trapping and pressing and running and jumping. It’s a breakneck pace, and I want them to play defense like their hair’s on fire.

"The pace is going to be different, but their athleticism is there, so it’s just a matter of tapping into that extra gear.”

The Lady Pirates finished last season 23-11 and averaged 71.5 points a game, so they already have a penchant for finding the basket, Spivey said. But Macy’s revved up style should make for the kind of basketball that fans love to watch and players love to plug into.

“I think it’s going to be to our benefit, because we have players who like to run and players who can score and run the court,” Spivey said.

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05/12/2010 02:00 AM

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