Charmin Smith Makes the Switch

In an off-season full of surprises, one of the biggest twists came in late May with the announcement that longtime Stanford Cardinal Charmin Smith would join the California Golden Bears coaching staff.

While a coach joining a conference rival is not unprecedented (see baseball's David Esquer), it is unusual enough to raise some eyebrows around the league and among the fans of both teams.

Before coming to Cal, Charmin Smith was a dyed-in-the-wool Cardinal. She played for Stanford from 1993-1997, making three trips to the NCAA Final Four during that time. In three years as an assistant to Tara Vanderveer (2004-2007), Smith helped guide the Cardinal to two Elite Eight appearances, and the team compiled an 87-16 (.845) record.

Smith and Kevin Morrison replaced outgoing assistants Kim Hairston and Dean Mendes, both of whom spent two seasons with the Golden Bears. Smith will be in charge of recruiting and will also work with the guards.

The BearInsider sat down with Smith just as the July recruiting period wound to a close to put the squeeze on her about recruiting and about why she became a Bear.

BearInsider: First question, of course, is, "What brought you to Cal?" You are clearly associated with Stanford, having played and coached there. What brought you over to this side of the rivalry?

Charmin Smith: I think for me, it's just a situation where I played at Stanford and spent three years coaching there, and I thought if there would be a move for me from Stanford, it would have to be something that would give me different challenges and would help me grow as a coach in different ways. And Berkeley is definitely different!

I've been really really fortunate to work with Tara and to play for her; it was a great experience. I think Joanne Boyle is doing some really great things here at Cal. She had the opportunity to go to Duke, and she obviously saw something special here at Berkeley that made her want to stay. And a lot of those things are reasons why I decided to make the move.

It all happened pretty quickly—you coming over here. Was the move already in the works while Joanne was deciding whether to stay at Cal or to go to Duke?

Oh no. No. I had thought, like everybody else, that she'd be going to Duke. But when she stayed, and some people left, she contacted Tara and asked if she could speak to me. Then we had some conversations, and then I came for an interview and just felt that this was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down. There are only a few coaches I'd want to work for outside of Tara, and Joanne was one of those coaches. You never know when you're going to have that opportunity, and with all the shuffling [of coaches], who knows how much shuffling will take place in the coming years… So, I just had to go for it. I was very very comfortable at Stanford, so it was a very difficult decision for me. That's my home. But with that being said, I feel like, I do best when I'm pushed outside of my comfort zone, and this is what this challenge was for me.

When I interviewed Joanne a couple of years back, she spoke about that same desire to push herself outside of her comfort zone when she left Duke to become a head coach. After her health scare, she didn't want to play it safe anymore.

Yeah! That's exactly how I felt. It was so comfortable and I loved it, and like said, it was a very tough decision. But in the end, I said, "You have to do this to help yourself grow."

Is this move a step toward being a head coach someday?

I'm preparing myself to be ready if that opportunity presents itself, and I think this is a big step.

Because this was not just a lateral move for you…

No, definitely not. To be able to be the Recruiting Coordinator and the coach who works with the guards along with the other responsibilities… It's not that I didn't have responsibilities at Stanford, but here, I'm in charge of more. Being the Recruiting Coordinator is huge, and just with this July period, I've really enjoyed it. I'm learning a lot. It's a whole new recruiting process. Just every day, I'm reminded, "OK, this is what you wanted, new challenges." It's definitely going to prepare me when I become, or if I have that opportunity to be a head coach.

Karen Middleton, another former assistant coach at Stanford, left soon after you did. Was there any sense of regret, of maybe you should have stayed at Stanford and moved up the chain of command?

No, I still would not be the Recruiting Coordinator. This opportunity is a move up for me regardless whether I was in my spot or in Karen's spot. Karen left to be the Recruiting Coordinator at Illinois. For both of us, this was an opportunity to have a different experience and move up. So we both took those opportunities.

It seems generational as well. In the past, to stay at a job for many years was viewed as a real positive, a demonstration of loyalty. Nowadays, and not just in coaching, the trend seems to be about moving around and finding new opportunities to spread your wings and grow.

It's the environment where I learn best—putting myself into challenging new situations. Not that things weren't challenging at Stanford, because they definitely were. But it's what I've known—the Stanford way was the way that I knew as a player and as a coach. I had some experience in the WNBA and learned from some different coaches there, and I spent nine months at Boston College with Cathy Inglese, who was another great X's and O's coach. That was another special experience. But this, this is going to be really different, and I think it's going to be great for me. Hopefully, I will be able to bring a lot from my experience at Stanford to this program.

What assets will you bring to an up-and-coming program like Cal?

Obviously, I've been learning from a spectacular coach who has been extremely successful both in the Pac-10 conference and also on the national level. I'll just start with my experience as a player. Having played in three Final Fours, I know what that atmosphere is like. I know what a Final Four team practices like, how they behave in the locker room, how hard they work in the off-season. I've experienced that, so I have a good feel for what it takes for a player to reach that level. And then my professional experience—I know what it takes to get to the next level. We have some great talent here, and some people who can get us to a Final Four and then go on to play at the next level. X's and O's you just learn every day on the job—we've been in some crazy situations at Stanford. Like I said before, learning from Tara has been a great experience. I have always had a strong interest in the defensive side of the game, so this off-season, I'm looking to do some things with that and see what we can tweak in terms of what we can do defensively because we have more depth now.

Some people think Joanne won't know what to do with more than 7 players…

She's about to find out [laughs], and that's a good thing. And then, just working with the guards, individual development; I can't wait to get in the gym with the players. It's been weird being here in the summer—I'm on staff, but I've never worked with them, so I can't wait until the first individual workout, to be on court with everyone.

Although you haven't had the chance to actually work with them, what are your impressions of the guards who are returning to the team?

This is from what I saw at Stanford… it's clear that they're a very confident bunch. You look at Tasha Vital and the situation that she was thrown into, and Lauren Greif, and I saw it first-hand at Maples. They're confident, and they have a lot of experience. And with Alexis [Gray-Lawson] coming back, they're going to be a very strong group. They've got a lot of ability. Alexis and I, just kind of messing around during camp, she's just very strong. She comes and nudges you like, "Hey, what's up coach?" and I'm like [rolling back on her chair]. She's going to be very hard to stop. She's back 100 percent. I remember her putting up 30-something points her freshman year at Maples. She's got an outside shot, she's strong, she can get to the basket. I know she's always looking for her post inside. She's really a complete guard. So I think the backcourt will be very very competitive.

Is Alexis back on court yet?

She's almost there. She's doing basketball drills and things on the court, but she's not in live 5-on-5 just yet. But she's getting there.

Everyone else healthy?

Knock on wood, yeah.

Let's talk recruiting, since you're the new Coordinator. How are things going?

Right now things are going really well. It's always hard to tell, since we won't know until that day when they commit to us or to someone else. But up to this point, we've done what we can do. We made sure we were out to see all of our top 08s, and we really covered the July period well with three coaches being out there. We're staying in touch with high school coaches and AAU coaches during that break—because you can't talk to them while they're out playing—but we got good feedback from the coaches and some players as well. We hope to get some kids out on some unofficials in the month of August and then follow that with official visits and get a really strong 08 class to play with that core group that we have who will be seniors that year.

How many players are you looking to sign?

We have five scholarships, but that doesn't mean we have to sign five. I think it will all shake down based on who we end up being in the lead with.

The challenge seems to be to move recruiting to a more national level. Is it difficult to get players to come from the East Coast?

We are looking nationally, but I will say that there's a ton of talent in California, so if we can take care business in the state of California, we could have a very strong recruiting class. But we want to get the point where we can get kids from the East Coast, and I think that will be based on the success that we have this season and the success that we have in signing that 08 class, so we can say, "Hey, look, we're building something. We're on the right track here," and that's when you get to pull in people nationally.

With the turnover of fifty percent of the coaching staff in the last few months, and with so much of recruiting based on building relationships with the players, has there been a loss of momentum during the crucial July period?

You'll get more of this from Kevin, but [former AAU coach] Kevin Morrison is so connected with these kids because of where he came from, that I don't know if we didn't actually gain some momentum. And me, coming here, while there wasn't much overlap from Stanford's list, I feel like there's a bit of excitement with recruits, a bit of a buzz around, "Wow, why did you leave Stanford?" and they want to hear my story, they're interested in that. So I think together, we've managed to create more momentum. There was definitely a great foundation here for us in terms of recruiting. We walked into a situation where we had a top list of kids, we know who we're supposed to be focused on. I mean the job was being done well before we got here, and we're just trying to pick up things and keep rolling with it.

You were a highly recruited player yourself coming out of high school. How has recruiting changed over the years?

The recruiting scene is so much more accelerated now. Back when I was being recruited, for 90% of the people, when you took an official visit, you have not yet made a decision. But now, people have already committed before the official visit. Several of the top 08s have already verballed to the top schools, and that's because the recruiting process just starts so much sooner now. The text messaging, and instant messaging, the whole way people communicate through technology now has created a lot differences. I know that the rule change will come in that will take that away a little bit. But back then, we weren't as accessible, you couldn't get to us. You had you limited number of phone calls and you wrote letters. We didn't have email; kids didn't have cell phones, so they just didn't have the same access to the student-athlete as they do now. Now, you want [the recruiting process] to be over. Your email inbox is completely full, and your phone, you're getting text messages all the time.

Do you think this might lead to changes in the process, perhaps allowing official visits to occur earlier?

I know that they've discussed that. But that's something that coaches are definitely pushing for, because if kids are going to make decisions, it's best that they see our campus first, and a lot of kids don't have the means to go on unofficial visits. It's very expensive if you're trying to fly out with your parents—and you want to come with your parents. That's a lot to ask. And the process is not going to slow down; it's only going to speed up.

You bring up an important point about the issue of equity. Unofficial visits are difficult enough, but for a recruit to travel with AAU teams and go to camps at different colleges…

That's the other difference. When I played, in the summertime, there was one big AAU tournament. It was a national tournament, and you qualify for it from your region, and all the best teams were there for that one tournament. And you may do a couple of different Blue Star events, if you were invited. And then I went to college camps—if I was interested in a school, I went to camp there. But there was no adidas this and the Nike here and the Nike there; you didn't have 50 tournaments in a summer. So these kids are playing a lot more basketball with a lot less rest, and a lot less time spent in the camps working on different skill sets. It's mostly just games games games all summer.

Which may lead to more injuries, burnout.

Exactly.

Let's switch gears a little bit. You graduated with an engineering degree from Stanford. Academics must be important to you.

I do take pride in my degree, and I believe that academics are the number one thing. I want the players that I coach to be successful in the classroom, to graduate, because basketball could end tomorrow. It's just the most important thing. I emphasize that with our student-athletes, not allowing them to play into the, "I'm a baller, that's all I do" mentality. That's not something that I believe in. I think people will respect you being able to say "I'm a student-athlete." I think you respect yourself more in the long run to find that balance. Women aren't making that much money in the WNBA. To be here at UC Berkeley, the number one public institution, and to not take advantage of that, or to not understand that, would be sad.

Last season, you spearheaded a program to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Do you have any plans for a community service project for this year?

Coach Gottlieb and I have talked about it a little bit, but we haven't come up with anything just yet, but that's definitely something I want to be able to do. Coming here in June, it's been recruiting recruiting recruiting. There are a lot of things that have been put on the back burner that I'll get to in the next week or two.

Speaking of Coach Gottlieb, I heard that perhaps your friendship with Lindsay was a factor in your decision to come to Cal.

I'm friends with a lot of coaches [laughs]!

Oh, so you're saying you could have gone anywhere!

No, no. I couldn't have gone just anywhere. But yes, I know the staff very well; I knew [former Cal assistants] Kim [Hairston] and Dean [Mendes]. Lindsay and I have definitely been friends prior to me coming here, but you know, if she was coaching at some other school, and Joanne didn't have the support of Sandy Barbour and the resources and we didn't have Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker and Alexis Gray-Lawson and Tasha Vital, I'm not coming to work with Lindsay.You know what I'm saying? [laughs] It has been great not having to go through the getting to know you phase with the staff, since we know each other from being in the same conference and traveling together, staying in the same hotel and all that. So it has been easier because we are friends. But in terms of my career and professional development, it can't really be that much of a factor.

Did you have to find a new place to live?

I did. I didn't have to, but I'm not into commuting. I live right down the road, and I love it. It's actually the same feel—I used to live right off of University in Palo Alto, so I'm the type who likes to walk to restaurants and shops and bike to work. Berkeley has a different feel than downtown Palo Alto for sure, and I love the atmosphere, I love the environment here in Berkeley, but as far as having things accessible to me, it's exactly the same. So that's been really great. I found a great apartment; the property owner actually went to Stanford so he gave me a hard time at first. But I found that there are a lot of Stanford people over here, the same way that there are a lot of Cal people over there. But I have traded out the Cardinal color from my wardrobe. That much I learned right away!

Thanks so much for your time, Charmin. Welcome to the Bear family, and much success to you.

Thank you.


©Copyright 2007, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this active online Cal community and get access to the members-only content from the nation-wide Scout.com network.

Bear Insider staff writers visit the Bear Insider discussion board regularly, and are available to discuss questions you may have about this article and Cal Athletics.


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While a coach joining a conference rival is not unprecedented (see baseball's David Esquer), it is unusual enough to raise some eyebrows around the league and among the fans of both teams.

Before coming to Cal, Charmin Smith was a dyed-in-the-wool Cardinal. She played for Stanford from 1993-1997, making three trips to the NCAA Final Four during that time. In three years as an assistant to Tara Vanderveer (2004-2007), Smith helped guide the Cardinal to two Elite Eight appearances, and the team compiled an 87-16 (.845) record.

Smith and Kevin Morrison replaced outgoing assistants Kim Hairston and Dean Mendes, both of whom spent two seasons with the Golden Bears. Smith will be in charge of recruiting and will also work with the guards.

The BearInsider sat down with Smith just as the July recruiting period wound to a close to put the squeeze on her about recruiting and about why she became a Bear.

BearInsider: First question, of course, is, \"What brought you to Cal?\" You are clearly associated with Stanford, having played and coached there. What brought you over to this side of the rivalry?

Charmin Smith: I think for me, it's just a situation where I played at Stanford and spent three years coaching there, and I thought if there would be a move for me from Stanford, it would have to be something that would give me different challenges and would help me grow as a coach in different ways. And Berkeley is definitely different!

I've been really really fortunate to work with Tara and to play for her; it was a great experience. I think Joanne Boyle is doing some really great things here at Cal. She had the opportunity to go to Duke, and she obviously saw something special here at Berkeley that made her want to stay. And a lot of those things are reasons why I decided to make the move.

It all happened pretty quickly—you coming over here. Was the move already in the works while Joanne was deciding whether to stay at Cal or to go to Duke?

Oh no. No. I had thought, like everybody else, that she'd be going to Duke. But when she stayed, and some people left, she contacted Tara and asked if she could speak to me. Then we had some conversations, and then I came for an interview and just felt that this was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down. There are only a few coaches I'd want to work for outside of Tara, and Joanne was one of those coaches. You never know when you're going to have that opportunity, and with all the shuffling [of coaches], who knows how much shuffling will take place in the coming years… So, I just had to go for it. I was very very comfortable at Stanford, so it was a very difficult decision for me. That's my home. But with that being said, I feel like, I do best when I'm pushed outside of my comfort zone, and this is what this challenge was for me.

When I interviewed Joanne a couple of years back, she spoke about that same desire to push herself outside of her comfort zone when she left Duke to become a head coach. After her health scare, she didn't want to play it safe anymore.

Yeah! That's exactly how I felt. It was so comfortable and I loved it, and like said, it was a very tough decision. But in the end, I said, \"You have to do this to help yourself grow.\"

Is this move a step toward being a head coach someday?

I'm preparing myself to be ready if that opportunity presents itself, and I think this is a big step.

Because this was not just a lateral move for you…

No, definitely not. To be able to be the Recruiting Coordinator and the coach who works with the guards along with the other responsibilities… It's not that I didn't have responsibilities at Stanford, but here, I'm in charge of more. Being the Recruiting Coordinator is huge, and just with this July period, I've really enjoyed it. I'm learning a lot. It's a whole new recruiting process. Just every day, I'm reminded, \"OK, this is what you wanted, new challenges.\" It's definitely going to prepare me when I become, or if I have that opportunity to be a head coach.

Karen Middleton, another former assistant coach at Stanford, left soon after you did. Was there any sense of regret, of maybe you should have stayed at Stanford and moved up the chain of command?

No, I still would not be the Recruiting Coordinator. This opportunity is a move up for me regardless whether I was in my spot or in Karen's spot. Karen left to be the Recruiting Coordinator at Illinois. For both of us, this was an opportunity to have a different experience and move up. So we both took those opportunities.

It seems generational as well. In the past, to stay at a job for many years was viewed as a real positive, a demonstration of loyalty. Nowadays, and not just in coaching, the trend seems to be about moving around and finding new opportunities to spread your wings and grow.

It's the environment where I learn best—putting myself into challenging new situations. Not that things weren't challenging at Stanford, because they definitely were. But it's what I've known—the Stanford way was the way that I knew as a player and as a coach. I had some experience in the WNBA and learned from some different coaches there, and I spent nine months at Boston College with Cathy Inglese, who was another great X's and O's coach. That was another special experience. But this, this is going to be really different, and I think it's going to be great for me. Hopefully, I will be able to bring a lot from my experience at Stanford to this program.

What assets will you bring to an up-and-coming program like Cal?

Obviously, I've been learning from a spectacular coach who has been extremely successful both in the Pac-10 conference and also on the national level. I'll just start with my experience as a player. Having played in three Final Fours, I know what that atmosphere is like. I know what a Final Four team practices like, how they behave in the locker room, how hard they work in the off-season. I've experienced that, so I have a good feel for what it takes for a player to reach that level. And then my professional experience—I know what it takes to get to the next level. We have some great talent here, and some people who can get us to a Final Four and then go on to play at the next level. X's and O's you just learn every day on the job—we've been in some crazy situations at Stanford. Like I said before, learning from Tara has been a great experience. I have always had a strong interest in the defensive side of the game, so this off-season, I'm looking to do some things with that and see what we can tweak in terms of what we can do defensively because we have more depth now.

Some people think Joanne won't know what to do with more than 7 players…

She's about to find out [laughs], and that's a good thing. And then, just working with the guards, individual development; I can't wait to get in the gym with the players. It's been weird being here in the summer—I'm on staff, but I've never worked with them, so I can't wait until the first individual workout, to be on court with everyone.

Although you haven't had the chance to actually work with them, what are your impressions of the guards who are returning to the team?

This is from what I saw at Stanford… it's clear that they're a very confident bunch. You look at Tasha Vital and the situation that she was thrown into, and Lauren Greif, and I saw it first-hand at Maples. They're confident, and they have a lot of experience. And with Alexis [Gray-Lawson] coming back, they're going to be a very strong group. They've got a lot of ability. Alexis and I, just kind of messing around during camp, she's just very strong. She comes and nudges you like, \"Hey, what's up coach?\" and I'm like [rolling back on her chair]. She's going to be very hard to stop. She's back 100 percent. I remember her putting up 30-something points her freshman year at Maples. She's got an outside shot, she's strong, she can get to the basket. I know she's always looking for her post inside. She's really a complete guard. So I think the backcourt will be very very competitive.

Is Alexis back on court yet?

She's almost there. She's doing basketball drills and things on the court, but she's not in live 5-on-5 just yet. But she's getting there.

Everyone else healthy?

Knock on wood, yeah.

Let's talk recruiting, since you're the new Coordinator. How are things going?

Right now things are going really well. It's always hard to tell, since we won't know until that day when they commit to us or to someone else. But up to this point, we've done what we can do. We made sure we were out to see all of our top 08s, and we really covered the July period well with three coaches being out there. We're staying in touch with high school coaches and AAU coaches during that break—because you can't talk to them while they're out playing—but we got good feedback from the coaches and some players as well. We hope to get some kids out on some unofficials in the month of August and then follow that with official visits and get a really strong 08 class to play with that core group that we have who will be seniors that year.

How many players are you looking to sign?

We have five scholarships, but that doesn't mean we have to sign five. I think it will all shake down based on who we end up being in the lead with.

The challenge seems to be to move recruiting to a more national level. Is it difficult to get players to come from the East Coast?

We are looking nationally, but I will say that there's a ton of talent in California, so if we can take care business in the state of California, we could have a very strong recruiting class. But we want to get the point where we can get kids from the East Coast, and I think that will be based on the success that we have this season and the success that we have in signing that 08 class, so we can say, \"Hey, look, we're building something. We're on the right track here,\" and that's when you get to pull in people nationally.

With the turnover of fifty percent of the coaching staff in the last few months, and with so much of recruiting based on building relationships with the players, has there been a loss of momentum during the crucial July period?

You'll get more of this from Kevin, but [former AAU coach] Kevin Morrison is so connected with these kids because of where he came from, that I don't know if we didn't actually gain some momentum. And me, coming here, while there wasn't much overlap from Stanford's list, I feel like there's a bit of excitement with recruits, a bit of a buzz around, \"Wow, why did you leave Stanford?\" and they want to hear my story, they're interested in that. So I think together, we've managed to create more momentum. There was definitely a great foundation here for us in terms of recruiting. We walked into a situation where we had a top list of kids, we know who we're supposed to be focused on. I mean the job was being done well before we got here, and we're just trying to pick up things and keep rolling with it.

You were a highly recruited player yourself coming out of high school. How has recruiting changed over the years?

The recruiting scene is so much more accelerated now. Back when I was being recruited, for 90% of the people, when you took an official visit, you have not yet made a decision. But now, people have already committed before the official visit. Several of the top 08s have already verballed to the top schools, and that's because the recruiting process just starts so much sooner now. The text messaging, and instant messaging, the whole way people communicate through technology now has created a lot differences. I know that the rule change will come in that will take that away a little bit. But back then, we weren't as accessible, you couldn't get to us. You had you limited number of phone calls and you wrote letters. We didn't have email; kids didn't have cell phones, so they just didn't have the same access to the student-athlete as they do now. Now, you want [the recruiting process] to be over. Your email inbox is completely full, and your phone, you're getting text messages all the time.

Do you think this might lead to changes in the process, perhaps allowing official visits to occur earlier?

I know that they've discussed that. But that's something that coaches are definitely pushing for, because if kids are going to make decisions, it's best that they see our campus first, and a lot of kids don't have the means to go on unofficial visits. It's very expensive if you're trying to fly out with your parents—and you want to come with your parents. That's a lot to ask. And the process is not going to slow down; it's only going to speed up.

You bring up an important point about the issue of equity. Unofficial visits are difficult enough, but for a recruit to travel with AAU teams and go to camps at different colleges…

That's the other difference. When I played, in the summertime, there was one big AAU tournament. It was a national tournament, and you qualify for it from your region, and all the best teams were there for that one tournament. And you may do a couple of different Blue Star events, if you were invited. And then I went to college camps—if I was interested in a school, I went to camp there. But there was no adidas this and the Nike here and the Nike there; you didn't have 50 tournaments in a summer. So these kids are playing a lot more basketball with a lot less rest, and a lot less time spent in the camps working on different skill sets. It's mostly just games games games all summer.

Which may lead to more injuries, burnout.

Exactly.

Let's switch gears a little bit. You graduated with an engineering degree from Stanford. Academics must be important to you.

I do take pride in my degree, and I believe that academics are the number one thing. I want the players that I coach to be successful in the classroom, to graduate, because basketball could end tomorrow. It's just the most important thing. I emphasize that with our student-athletes, not allowing them to play into the, \"I'm a baller, that's all I do\" mentality. That's not something that I believe in. I think people will respect you being able to say \"I'm a student-athlete.\" I think you respect yourself more in the long run to find that balance. Women aren't making that much money in the WNBA. To be here at UC Berkeley, the number one public institution, and to not take advantage of that, or to not understand that, would be sad.

Last season, you spearheaded a program to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Do you have any plans for a community service project for this year?

Coach Gottlieb and I have talked about it a little bit, but we haven't come up with anything just yet, but that's definitely something I want to be able to do. Coming here in June, it's been recruiting recruiting recruiting. There are a lot of things that have been put on the back burner that I'll get to in the next week or two.

Speaking of Coach Gottlieb, I heard that perhaps your friendship with Lindsay was a factor in your decision to come to Cal.

I'm friends with a lot of coaches [laughs]!

Oh, so you're saying you could have gone anywhere!

No, no. I couldn't have gone just anywhere. But yes, I know the staff very well; I knew [former Cal assistants] Kim [Hairston] and Dean [Mendes]. Lindsay and I have definitely been friends prior to me coming here, but you know, if she was coaching at some other school, and Joanne didn't have the support of Sandy Barbour and the resources and we didn't have Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker and Alexis Gray-Lawson and Tasha Vital, I'm not coming to work with Lindsay.You know what I'm saying? [laughs] It has been great not having to go through the getting to know you phase with the staff, since we know each other from being in the same conference and traveling together, staying in the same hotel and all that. So it has been easier because we are friends. But in terms of my career and professional development, it can't really be that much of a factor.

Did you have to find a new place to live?

I did. I didn't have to, but I'm not into commuting. I live right down the road, and I love it. It's actually the same feel—I used to live right off of University in Palo Alto, so I'm the type who likes to walk to restaurants and shops and bike to work. Berkeley has a different feel than downtown Palo Alto for sure, and I love the atmosphere, I love the environment here in Berkeley, but as far as having things accessible to me, it's exactly the same. So that's been really great. I found a great apartment; the property owner actually went to Stanford so he gave me a hard time at first. But I found that there are a lot of Stanford people over here, the same way that there are a lot of Cal people over there. But I have traded out the Cardinal color from my wardrobe. That much I learned right away!

Thanks so much for your time, Charmin. Welcome to the Bear family, and much success to you.

Thank you.


©Copyright 2007, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

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