Xavier promotes Amy Waugh to head coach
Amy Waugh hopped around the court wearing a protective boot on her right foot during Xavier's practices late last season, mixing it up inside before popping out to the arc and taking a 3-point shot.
She made most of them, of course. And no one was surprised.
One of the best point guards in Xavier's history was promoted to head coach on Wednesday, expected to bring that same determination to a program that doesn't want to slip. Waugh was the assistant coach the last two seasons under Kevin McGuff, who left for Washington.
''She knows what it feels like and what it looks like to win at Xavier,'' Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski said.
She's been part of the foundation.
Waugh played at Xavier from 1999-2003, helping the Musketeers move into the Cintas Center successfully. She was part of Xavier's first Elite Eight team and overcame a torn right Achilles' tendon her sophomore season, missing only 19 games.
While she was recovering from the injury, she was allowed to join in coaches' meetings and got a sense it was something she would like to do eventually.
''This has definitely always been a dream of mine,'' she said. ''Since the day I stepped foot on campus, Xavier has been a special place. To be sitting here today is a dream come true for me.''
Waugh was an assistant coach at Youngstown State for one year and at Wake Forest for five years before returning to Xavier. Part of her duties as an assistant was to help with practice. She reinjured the Achilles' tendon last season, but refused to sit and watch.
''That's coach Waugh for you,'' sophomore guard Katie Rutan said. ''She pushes herself through anything. She hurt her Achilles' and look at her, rolling around in her boot and pushing us to get out our best. She's a fighter. There's no other word to describe her. And she's making all of us fighters, too.''
Guard Tyeasha Moss, the only returning starter, said it was a huge relief that Xavier chose Waugh instead of someone from outside the program.
''The whole time we were all wondering who would come in,'' Moss said. ''There's hope and there's a lot of wonder. The most we could hope for was that it would be somebody we already knew.''
Xavier made its second Elite Eight appearance two seasons ago, with Waugh as an assistant. The Musketeers reached new heights this season, when they never slipped out of the Top 10. The season came to a stunning end when Louisville upset the Musketeers on their home floor in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Musketeers lose four senior starters, including forward Amber Harris and center Ta'Shia Phillips, who were among the top eight picks in the WNBA draft.
Waugh's job is to keep her team - sitting in front of her at an introductory news conference - in the conversation about the nation's best.
''I think there are those in the women's basketball world that think we've had our day and now it's time to kind of step out of the way,'' Bobinski said. ''I don't think these young ladies agree with that, and I know this one (Waugh) doesn't.''
Waugh is the sixth women's basketball coach in Xavier history, the first who played at the school. Men's basketball coach Chris Mack also played at Xavier.
''It's something you don't always have - people that are your own that are prepared, capable and the best people available to take the job,'' Bobinski said. ''I think it's a unique dynamic.''