Petersen stays resolute through rough season

Petersen stays resolute through rough season

Petersen stays resolute through rough season
February 16
23:51 2015

Reece Waddell / Staff Writer

Mike Petersen is a coach who is used to winning. Before coming to North Texas, Petersen coached eight years at Wake Forest University and was the school’s all-time winningest women’s basketball coach with a record of 125-123.

Things haven’t been as easy for Petersen at North Texas, especially this year, as the Mean Green is 3-20 and sits in 13th place in Conference USA.

But Petersen said he is doing his best to properly deal with a season like this, and teach his players as well.

“My job isn’t to get upset and frustrated,” Petersen said. “My job is to help our players deal with it. My job is to serve our players the best that I can. I’m a grown up, and I need to have a grown-up approach. And to me, that approach is helping our players and not letting my emotions get the better of me.”

Petersen is calm during practices and games. Sophomore guard Candice Adams said Petersen has continued to emphasize the same thing throughout the season.

“Coach has preached togetherness all year,” Adams said. “Don’t give up, there are still games left to play. He doesn’t want us getting down on ourselves.”

Even though he had success at Wake Forest, Petersen said the reason he wanted to come to North Texas was to build a program from the ground up.

“I still see that opportunity,” Petersen said. “What I will say is that I have had five jobs, and this is the first job where we haven’t seen immediate success. So it’s definitely new to me, not winning this year. But I’m not a second guess guy, and I don’t regret coming here.”

Senior forward Briesha Wynn said Petersen’s poise throughout the season has had an encouraging impact on the team.

“I think Coach Petersen has done a good job maintaining his composure throughout the season while still giving us the coaching we need,” Wynn said. “He still gets on our butts when he needs to, though.”

Even as the season draws to a close, Petersen said the team is practicing hard and has good chemistry.

“Our girls work hard every day in practice because they like each other,” Petersen said. “It makes it easy to come to practice and play for each other because we all like each other.”

In order to make the C-USA tournament, North Texas must finish at least 12th place in conference standings. The team is currently 13th, behind Rice University, with six games left. Like Petersen, junior forward Acheil Tac said the team is still fighting.

“We still have games to play,” Tac said. “Just because we’ve lost half our games doesn’t mean we can just give up. There’s a slight chance we can make it to the tournament if we win the rest of our games, and that’s our mentality.”

Petersen said even through rough seasons like this, he tries to keep good relationships with his players.

“My relationship with every player is different,” Petersen said. “Every year on every team, your relationship with the players are different because what they want out of the player-coach relationship is different. Some want to be really close, and some just want to be coached. I try to treat everyone the very best I can, and be available for the players if they need me.”

Even with the struggles, the Mean Green women see a silver lining. Many of the players believe they can learn from failure and be a stronger team next year.

Petersen said his focuses remain on the games and years that lie ahead at North Texas. He said there’s only one direction in which he and the team can go.

“You have to move forward,” he said. “You have to get better and improve. What else will you do?”

Featured Image: Head coach Mike Peterson and the women’s basketball team flash their eagle claws while the pep band plays the alma mater. Photo by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

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