YPSILANTI —- After former Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball coach AnnMarie Gilbert resign her position, Eastern Michigan Athletic Director Derrick Gragg said he wanted to get a coach for the women program as quickly as possible and that the list of names for the position was short.
Gragg hired Tory Verdi today April 26, 2011 and announced the decision at the home of Eastern Michigan University basketball programs the Convocation Center.
Verdi spent last season as an assistant at the University of Kansas and helped the Jayhawks to a 21-13 overall record and ranked No. 25 in the nation. Verdi’s team also made a trip to the NCAA Basketball Tournament and finished in the Sweet 16.
Gragg said his choice to fill the position, the person needed to be able to recruit and bring to the program and to the university not only quality talent on the court but quality student-athlete in the classroom.
“We are excited about having Troy Verdi leading our program into the future,” Gragg said. “Troy is one of the most well-rounded assistant coaches I have encountered. Not only has he been an assistant at two Big 12 for women’s basketball who advance to the Sweet 16 in recent years. He has also been an assistant in the WNBA and for a men’s program as well he is known as an outstanding recruiter and has been involved with winning program every where he has been.”
Verdi comes to a program that is getting out of the spotlight of an NCAA rule violation investigation.
He said that things will work themselves out and he thinks that the right steps were taken to solve the problem of the investigation and he is not anticipating any kind of NCAA penalties.
He became aware of the Eagle program this season and knew that Eastern Michigan University won the Mid-American Conference title and played in the NCAA against the University of South Carolina in the first round of the tournament.
Verdi said he found out about the opening for the position, he thought that Eastern Michigan University would be the perfect job for him because he knows the area and is respectful of the rich basketball talent in the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.
He said high school coaches will no him because he will meet them face-to-face because he dose not think a simple phone call is just not good enough to have a respected program.
“If I got this opportunity I could hit the ground running, I have a ton of contacts in the state of Michigan.” Verdi said. “There is a lot of talent in this area and you can be sure we are going to shake every single tree out there and that is an unique thing about Eastern Michigan the fact that you can get into your car and drive through the state of Michigan, we have enough of good players in the state to be successful and that is what we are going to do!”
Verdi recruited the second best player in the state of Michigan, he recruited Asia Boyd from Detroit Renaissance High School to the campus of the University of Kansas.
Verdi said his team will be an exciting team to watch on the court. He said his team will not be like the men’s team and will not be a zone defense instead his team will play a press and hoping to create turnover and a transition style offense.
He said his pressure style offense will create the need for a deep bench and Verdi said he thought that is one area that needs to be addressed.
Verdi also said another area for improvement is the three-point shooting, he said that the 30 percent from behind the arch is not acceptable.
“Our players will have to have a huge summer and develop,” Verdi said. “We have a lot to gain and we will overcome or losses. I am expecting the players to make the necessary adjustments.”
Verdi knows that it will be hard to replace the offensive production that Tavelyn James and Paige Redditt provided for the Eagles last season scoring 35 points between the two players.
Verdi said he spoke with Gilbert and that she said nothing detrimental about the university or about the athletic department and wished him success with the program.
The fans of Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball is hoping that Verdi success and stay at Eastern Michigan University is not a short visit.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.