We'll have more on the hiring of Kathi Bennett to coach the Northern Illinois women's basketball team later tonight, but here is some more from today's news conference.
NIU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said he called about 50 people at one point or another during the hiring process. But the one call that influenced him the most was that of Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone.
"She said 'Jeff I've got to tell you, I hate to lose her, but she's a head coach. She sits on my bench. She's a head coach and I let her coach. The reason we were successful, the reason our team went to the NCAA Tournament this year is because of Kathi Bennett.' That says so much," Compher said.
NIU guard Marke Freeman said she is very excited about about Bennett and is looking forward to the season.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Freeman said. "I think she's going to come in and make some very positive changes. I did my research and she has a lot of things on her mind and she has a lot of things she wants to do and I'm down for it 100 percent.
"I think I pretty much know where she wants to go as far as her gameplan and it's nothing I can't adjust to. I'm just ready. I'm excited. I love the fresh start."
You'll read a lot about Bennett's coaching style and Bennett-ball (a "pack line" defense that will clog the middle and a motion offense) in the coming days, weeks and months. For now, here's a Bennett quote on her belief in the system.
"The style of play has proven itself over and over," she said. "You've got to be crazy not to believe in it. It works. It's proven."
Here are a few more Bennett quotes from today:
On some of her goals: "I can guarantee I will work hard. Defense will be our cornerstone. I feel that it is so important to connect with the community. I actually am anxious to get to know as many people as I possibly can and that is a commitment from me. I want to be visible. I want to get out into the community and connect. Anything that is possible to bring attendance and just a connection to the university and to women's basketball, that means a lot."
On recruiting: "I understand the connection that's needed with the high school coaches and the AAU coaches in the state of Illinois and in the Midwest. I understand that. That's like a marathon, not a sprint."
On Compher and NIU President John Peters: "I would run through a brick wall. I will work my tail off because of the people, because of President Peters, because of Jeff Compher. I will work my butt off for them. I will run through a brick wall for them. They are for real."