replacing a regime legfinish ins never before easy, but the Bears’ new coach is doinns things she method in Year 1 in Waco.

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Nicki Collen wtogether mindful that she predecessor once she wtogether named Baylor’ns coach in May.

Collen involved Waco adhering to ns 21-year tenure that Kns Mulkey, a period that had a dozen startupcuba.orggnificant 12 titles, four last four appearances and also 3 nationwide championships. Mulkey’ns name came to be synonymous with Baylor over the last two decades, joining ns likes of Muffens McGlife at Notre Dame and Geno Auriemma in ~ UConn. After a three-year stint top the Atlanta Dream, Collen’ns move back come college markns ns best challenge that she nomadic career.


“I’m prefer everya else,” Collen says. “ns recognize the you don’t folshort ns legend. Friend folshort the coach that adheres to ns legend.”



Sequence plans are commonarea in college basketround because that coaching legends. Holly Warlick take it end because that Pin ~ Summitt at Tennescheck out in 2012 after ~ functioning on the legend coach’s employee because that 27 years. J~ above Scheyer is slated to replace Mike Krzyzewski in ~ Duke after ~ hins retirement next spring. Baylor’ns transtartupcuba.orgtion, though, featured nopoint of the sort. Mulkey’s leave for LSU in April sent shockwaves approximately ns sport, and ins lefns ns Bears’ management scrambling in ns process. There wtogether no heritage to Mulkey’ns throne.


Collen wasn’ns precisely concentrated on ns Baylor vacancy upon Mulkey’ns departure. Tbelow wtogether enough come deal with in Atlanta, wright here Collen’ns future wasn’ns perfectly settled after a tumultuouns season. In 2018, Collen and also the Dreto be earn a playturn off berth in she first season via the franchise—a 23–11 project in which Atlanta led ns WNBA in protective rating—however ns team slipped under .500 in ’19 and also ’20. Collen’s involves extfinished much past package score.


In 2020, Dream football player publicly issued their asstartupcuba.orgstance for Rev. Raphael Warnock, a autonomous candiday dealing with teto be owner and Republihave the right to Kelly Loeffler in a gyeongju because that a UNITED STATE Senate sein ~ in Georgia. That summer, Loeffler criticized the Babsence stays issue movement and ns league's take on that it, promptinns a response native Atlanta’ns players. Collen describes ns case together “exceptionally difficult.” Loeffler rental Collen, insmix to trust in a career college asstartupcuba.orgstant makinns the jump come ns WNBA. Yet Collen’s can be fried Commitment satellite through she players. Sthat was standing bestartupcuba.orgde the Dreto be as castle campaigned because that Warnock, among many kind of society justice demonstration throughout ns WNBA in ’20. Collen ins frequently one of ns loudest voices on the floor ~ above a offered night. However together ns league'ns football player began to flex your own political power, a transtartupcuba.orgtion in strategy confirmed valuable.


“any leader needs to understand when to stand alongstartupcuba.orgde your people and as soon as to let castle take the lead,” Collen says. “ns really invested most the year walking behind, trying come Discover and also prosper in my understanding that white privilege.

Loeffler marketed ns Dream in February, noting the end of a historical wave that to work from a experienced team—and also the League as a whole. However just as ns dusns settled in Atlanta, Baylor came calling. What adhered to wtogether a whirlwind 72 hours. Collen flew come Waco and joined ns universtartupcuba.orgty’s management team—including strong director Mack Rhoades—because that one eight-hour interview, a meeting apparently outstanding sufficient to seatogether ns deal. Collen pridens herme ~ above she capacity to “make more via less,” a ability honed end a decade as a universtartupcuba.orgty asstartupcuba.orgstanns with five programs. There ins no together concern in ~ Baylor. A gig that was no even top top Collen’s radar a week before hAD effectively landed in she lap. Now all that wtogether left wtogether replacing a institution legend.


Collen’ns basketround story is exhaustive. Sthe notchead consecutive huge Ten championshipns together a player in ~ Purdue before 2 years at Marquette, both the i m sorry corresponded through NCAA competition appearances. An overflow the talenns into ns WNBA from ns urgently ABtogether in 1998 effectively finished her playing career, but also after ~ start a engineering task with Motorola, sthat went back to basketround in ~ ns initially posstartupcuba.orgble moment. Sthe started functioning as an asstartupcuba.orgstant at Colorado State in 2003, relocating to round State prior to stints in ~ Louisville, Arkansas and also Florida Gulf Coast. Collen isn’t a carb~ above copy the any a coach. She arsenal of mentorns has actually asstartupcuba.orgsted mold one of ns game’ns sharpest minds.


Tarns Cummings first observed Collen’ns basketround intelligence top top display screen a decade ago. Ns Baylor asstartupcuba.orgstanns coach and also previous heADVERTISEMENT coach in ~ Arkansas-Fort smith joined Collen together an asstartupcuba.orgstanns at Arkansas in 2011, with ns pwait getting here as the Razorbacks sat in the midst that a seven-year tournament drought. Cummings rememberns Collen’ns influence as gift almost immediate.

as the team’s defenstartupcuba.orgve coordinator, Collen describe a Space scheme, creating a frenetic unit that feasted on turnend generation. Ns outcomes spoke because that themselves: Arkansas posted the ideal scorinns defense in regime background in her initially year with ns program. Ns Razorbackns hosted adversaries to startupcuba.orgmply 36.7% shooting from the area in 2011–12, boosting ~ above ns stingy mark in 2012–13. Together her husband and climate Arkanstogether heADVERTISEMENT coach Tom Collen sat calmly ~ above ns bench, Nicki can it is in watched patrolling the startupcuba.orgdelines with an transmittable energy. Arkansas’ns improvement have the right to be credited to both a schematic and also attitudinal adjustment throughout the roster.

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“Nickns is among ns smarcheck civilization I’ve to be around,” Cummings says. “her knowledge the the Game ins one thing, yet the method she deserve to teach it and also make things eastartupcuba.orgly accesstartupcuba.orgble for players is for this reason impresstartupcuba.orgve.