SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After serving as an assistant coach in 2008-09 on the Mission campus, JR Payne (JP) is back as the head coach of the Santa Clara women's basketball team. With just over a week under her belt with her new team, Payne spoke with Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) about the whirlwind of being back in the Bay Area.
SCB: How has the first week-plus back been?
JP: The first week has been awesome but very chaotic. You're meeting your team for the first time and trying to get a feel for where they are and build relationships. We're trying to find a place to live also so it's truly just been chaos. We've had some workouts with the team so we're making progress. It's great to be back. The sun is always out and it's a very lively campus. It's awesome to be here.
SCB: How have the players been in your first meetings with them?
JP: The players are awesome and a lot of fun. They're really hungry to work hard and learn. They're ready to compete with each other and get better. It's a really fun group.
SCB: What are you trying to do in the weeks leading up to school getting out?
JP: In the first couple of weeks we're really just trying to assess where they are and build on their strengths. We also want to work on their weaknesses and establish a culture of working hard. Whether that's getting in the gym, putting up extra shots, or pushing each other.
SCB: How is it being back at Santa Clara after coaching in Utah the last five years?
JP: There are so many of the same faces. It's so wonderful to have people that want to help you. I don't feel like I'm inconveniencing people when I have to ask for help with something. We're going to absolutely love being here. Once we get settled and have our whole coaching staff here, things are going to be even better.