Winning With Class

With win number 500 out of the way, Texas Tech Head Coach Marsha Sharp is already focused on getting the Lady Raiders ready for Oklahoma State. While the schedule forces the players and coaches to keep moving, the fans of the program have a chance to reflect on a great accomplishment.

Coach Sharp is quick to point out that her accomplishment seems kind of small compared to the three coaches who have passed the 800 win mark this season.  "Compared to what Coach Knight just did, or Pat Summit or Jody Conradt it seems kind of trivial, 500 versus 800, but at the same time I don't want to be in a situation where I don't seem to be appreciative of the fact that that's happened here at Tech for me because I am," said Coach Sharp.  While the number may be smaller, the accomplishment is every bit as impressive, especially when you consider the improvements to the program over the years.  Coach Sharp credits her success as a coach to everyone that has been a part of Lady Raider basketball over the years.  "We've had great players, My assistant coaches have been outstanding, and our administration has been great to allow Women's basketball to be as big a thing as it is.  Obviously, our fans have been the best in the country as far as I'm concerned," said Coach Sharp.  "This is a win for that combination."


While winning 500 games is an impressive feat, it becomes even more impressive when you look at how fast Coach Sharp has done it.  In 21 seasons at Texas Tech Coach Sharp has built the Lady Raiders from a doormat into a perennial power.  Coach Sharp points to two accomplishments that she is most proud of, "From a competitive standpoint, obviously the National Championship and I think the other thing, as far as competition is concerned, is the consistency we've had.  I think you see that sometimes with some programs that hit a high water mark, but they aren't able to maintain that."  The Lady Raiders have certainly maintained a very high level of play.  There aren't many teams that you can pencil into the Sweet 16 on a yearly basis.  When asked about the most memorable games, Coach Sharp was quick to respond with two, "First, the national championship game is obviously something that is unforgettable," said Coach Sharp.  "I also think that from a program standpoint, we never could get to a national level of respect until we beat Texas and had an opportunity to win the conference, which was the Southwest Conference at that time, so probably the first time we beat Texas in 91 has to be up there as one of those."


Coach Sharp will receive lots of recognition over the next few days for the performance of her teams on the court.  Unfortunately, most people will probably overlook her greatest accomplishments.  In this day where it seems like the term student-athlete has become meaningless, Coach Sharp continues to believe strongly in the idea.  When talking to Coach Sharp it becomes clear that she values every single player more than she values all of the victories combined.  "Above everything else the relationships that I have with kids that have played for us in the past, and the things that they go from this program and accomplish have been really the best part for me," said Coach Sharp.  "I hope it's what we're all about."  It is clear that Coach Sharp understands the impact that she can have on her players' lives.  "We should be about taking people to a different level, and because they've won on the basketball floor, they transfer that over into other areas of their lives.  I think consistently, players that have played in this program have done that and have a lot of pride in what they're about," said Coach Sharp.  "That's, to me, really what it's all about."


It is refreshing to know that there are programs out there that can compete at the highest levels on the court, but still have true student-athletes.  Coach Sharp's greatest accomplishments have nothing to do with her victories.  Her greatest accomplishments involve her players.  Texas Tech fans couldn't ask for a greater group of representatives, both on and off the court.  Coach Sharp has always been quick to give credit to everyone but herself.  While this is an admirable gesture, but today I'm going to ignore it.


Congratulations Coach Sharp, and thanks for giving Lady Raider fans a program they can be proud of.

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