VM: Can you talk about the evolution of your moods, thoughts and feelings since Coach Foster announced he was leaving?
Junior Center Chantelle Anderson: Well, everyone was pretty shocked at first. There was a lot of tears, a lot of disappointment. But I think that's just natural. Now it's kind of like we realize that he's really gone. I still have to stop and think like, "Omigosh, he's gone!" for a minute, but we're realizing it and just excited to move on. We're trying to figure out who our coach is, so I think everyone will feel a little bit more at ease once we know who our coach finally is.
Junior Guard Ashley McElhiney: I think the initial feeling was we were mad. Once we got past that, I think everybody calmed down. We've realized we're still here. We're still together, and I think this happening has brought us even closer as a team, and we can use it as a positive thing. It's not much of a negative thing anymore.
VM: Looking at you out there today, it looks like you're enjoying each other and that generally there's a pretty good feeling.
Chantelle: I definitely think it did bring our team closer because we realize that we're all we have now. We don't have a coach. We don't have a coaching staff. We don't have anybody but us -- except Lori (laugh). And Kris Mack. It brought us closer together. I think we have a group now -- the group that's left behind really enjoys each other.
VM: What kind of characteristics would you like to see in a new coach?
Ashley: We actually sat down and talked about this as a team, and I think the one biggest thing we're looking for is one that can coach on the floor, but is personable off the floor -- like, wants a personal relationship with each individual player on the team. It doesn't stop on the floor. I think a lot of times coaches tend to just coach basketball and forget about the other things in life. And I think Coach Foster did a great job of that. We want someone that can come in and pick up where he left off in that aspect.
VM: To what extent are you all involved in providing feedback or input into the whole process of finding a coach?
Chantelle: I think Todd Turner and Brad Bates have done a great job of asking for our input. We sat down and had a meeting and wrote some things down that we definitely wanted in a new coach -- be committed to winning and believe that we can win here, respect us and treat us like adults, those were two of the main things, as well as what Ashley said about realizing that we're all different and wanting a relationship with each and every one of us, off the court as well as on the court. I think they've done a good job of asking for our input. A couple of people have already come and seen campus or whatever, and we met with them and talked with them for a little while.
VM: When you say "we", is that the whole team, or you two?
Ashley:The two of us. I think Todd mainly looks at me and Chantelle, and then he will inform the team when he thinks it's the right time. But like Chantelle said, I think both Todd and Brad have done a great job.
VM: As the new senior leaders, has this experience pushed you ahead of where you otherwise would have been because of there's a lot of responsibility on you as spokespersons for the team?
Ashley: I think me and Chantelle have been in the position of being spokespeople for the team this past year and probably in our sophomore year. I don't think it's really any added responsbility. I think we're used to that. But the situation is different, so in that respect, it's a little more, I guess.
VM: If somebody asked me, "How's the team doing?!", what should I say to them?
Chantelle: I would say, "We're doing well. We're enjoying each other, enjoying being around each other right now. We're working really hard in the weight room. You saw that workout we just did. Pretty hard. I'd say, good. We had an initial shock, but we're handling it well.
VM: Have you ever heard of Paul Westhead?
Ashley: (shakes head)
Chantelle: (shakes head) I've heard that name, but I think I probably read it on Vandymania. (laugh)
Interview:Chantelle Anderson and Ashley McElhiney
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