When you are looking for a new head coach, the search can take you far and wide, border to border and sometimes, even beyond. For NU, it wasn't a long trip at all (geographically speaking) as they found their new head coach, Connie Yori just a short drive away.
Former women's basketball coach, Paul Sanderford is gone. Gone after the last two years saw the women struggle mightily, posting back to back losing seasons. What seemed to be the overriding negative on Sanderford's resume' however was the loss of three players due to transfer, including Prep-All American, Katie Robinette.
Sanderford cited health reasons as he left, but he wasn't the only one ailing as the women's basketball program was struggling to get back to where it was not but a few years ago.
If you take the last two years away, Sanderford was on his way to possibly doing what coach Dave Van Horn did for the baseball team. Posting three consecutive NCAA appearances, back to back 20 win seasons and increasing fan support to a point it had never seen, Sanderford's clubs were known for their talent, but more for their gritty never-say-die play.
The last two years though have been tumultuous at best, thus a possible reason for Sanderford's departure, his health not withstanding.
What NU now can look forward to is Connie Yori, the former coach of the Creighton women's basketball team and a person who also sports a very good resume', highlighted by last year, Yori being named the 2002 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year. Yori led her team to an impressive 24 wins, the season and tournament title and trip to the NCAA, while also ranking amongst the best schools in the entire country (5th) in three point shooting.
The year by the Bluejays helped cement Yori as one of the top candidates for the NU job along with the fact that she is a Nebraskan although a native of Akeny, Iowa. Byrne himself stated that NU was looking for a person with "Nebraska Values", so this might have not just been an easy decision, but a no-brainer..
This decision doesn't mark a new era in women's basketball so much as it stops a hemophiliac-type bleeding that has seen Nebraska go from prominence to plummeting in the last two years. Yori's addition to the team can be considered a benefit from her career coaching totals, but it was certainly more of a necessity.
What Nebraska can do now is rebuild the team's confidence, attempt to re-instill that confidence in the fans and bring NU back to where it was just five seasons ago. Yori's addition goes a long ways into bringing that confidence back, but Yori admitted, this isn't going to be an immediate turn around. "We have some work to do, and it may take some time to re-establish the foundation for a winning basketball program".