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First-year women’s basketball coach Jalie Mitchell aims to change culture of program

First-year women’s basketball coach Jalie Mitchell aims to change culture of program

North Texas women's basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell talks down the bench during the game against San Fransisco on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Stafff Photographer

First-year women’s basketball coach Jalie Mitchell aims to change culture of program
November 16
19:38 2015

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

After a 2014-15 season for the North Texas women’s basketball team that ended with a 5-24 record, North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal decided it was time for a change. The entire coaching staff from last season has left the University of North Texas, and former Mean Green women’s basketball standout Jalie Mitchell was called to lead her alma mater.

Mitchell was also tasked with finding people to fill the remaining positions that were left vacant by the house cleaning. She called upon those that she met and knew from her time of being an assistant at North Texas, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and at the University of Texas.

“My coaching staff are all people that I knew before, people that I trusted,” Mitchell said. “People that I knew had a great work ethic in this profession, and had a history of winning. It was mainly familiarity and trust. Mentality was really key.”

From left to right, Joshua Franklin, Aisha Stewart, Kasondra Foreman, and Jalie Mitchell, stand before the national anthem is played on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny |Staff Phtographer

From left to right, Joshua Franklin, Aisha Stewart, Kasondra Foreman, and Jalie Mitchell, stand before the national anthem is played on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny |Staff Phtographer

One person Mitchell especially wanted to hire was associate head coach Bobby Brasel. He was most recently an assistant with the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and before then was part of the University of South Alabama’s coaching staff. Mitchell got to know Brasel by coaching against him when she was an assistant at North Texas during Brasel’s time with South Alabama.

Brasel, the oldest coach on the staff, is the only person on the staff with head coaching experience, something Mitchell has found very helpful.

North Texas women's basketball assistant coach Aisha Stewart introduces her self to a San Fransisco coach on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

North Texas women’s basketball assistant coach Aisha Stewart introduces her self to a San Fransisco coach on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“Coach Brasel had previous head coach experience, which was critical to me as a first-year head coach,” Mitchell said. “He’s been awesome like I knew he would. He always has some great feedback. We think alike, which is good, but he has that other side with the head coaching experience. He’s been great in me getting my feet wet.”

The staff also includes assistant coach Aisha Stewart, assistant Kasondra Foreman and director of basketball operations John Franklin. While they are all in their first year with North Texas, the staff seems to be on the same page when it comes to changing the culture of the program.

According to Brasel, they have all meshed well together and have no problem bouncing ideas off each other.

The North Texas women's basketball coaching staff watches the team in the first quarter of Thursday's game against San Fransisco. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

The North Texas women’s basketball coaching staff watches the team in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against San Fransisco. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“You never know what you’re going to get until you get there,” Benson said. “There have been very few surprises between us. I think I’ve learned from [Mitchell], and I hope she’s learned a little bit from me. We understand that her vision and passion for this university is at an epic proportion.”

While the new coaching staff is hoping to introduce a new era of North Texas basketball, the timing of the shift is untimely for the seniors. After having the same coaching staff for three of their four years, making such a drastic change can be risky.

However, senior forward Acheil Tac said it was time for a change.

North Texas women's basketball assistant head coach Bobby Brassel stands at midcourt on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

North Texas women’s basketball assistant head coach Bobby Brassel stands at midcourt on November 12, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“At first it’s hard,” Tac said. “You’ve been used to one system for a really long time, then you unexpectedly get a new one. This one I believe is for the best. We got a lot of good things out of this change.”

Featured Image: North Texas women’s basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell talks down the bench during the game against San Francisco. Dylan Nadwodny | Stafff Photographer

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