By: Edward Perez – Staff Writer
Now at the helm of the University of Dayton’s women’s basketball program, head coach Shauna Green is thrilled to have her first Division I head coaching opportunity. Flyer News sat down with Green recently to discuss her journey to this point.
Basketball has been the focus of Green’s life for as long as she can can remember. She grew up with the sport she so dearly loved as a kid in her neighborhood in Clinton, Iowa.
“I played when I was a little kid, just out in the yard with all the guys in the neighborhood,” said Green. “And continued to play [in] high school.”
Green was an all-around athlete; she played volleyball and ran track when she wasn’t on the basketball court. Her commitment to sports resulted in being a recruit for basketball and volleyball programs, but says her involvement in track was merely to prepare her for basketball season.
“There was no question in my mind that I was a basketball player,” she said. “I just did track just to stay in shape.”
Green’s work ethic and determination was noticed and she landed a scholarship offer to play basketball for Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. According to an article published by the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while at Canisius, Green, “ was a four-year All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection and three-time team MVP, scoring over 2,000 points and pulling down over 900 rebounds.” Her work rate continued to show and Green was offered a contract to play overseas. But months before Green was set to play abroad, she suffered a foot injury and was unable to run, and she was deemed ineligible to continue playing basketball.
Green’s goals for her career in basketball shifted and she knew she wanted to partake in coaching.
“I was scrambling and was very fortunate to get an assistant job at a Division III school, Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa,” Green said.
Green’s coaching career launched and she became an assistant coach for the Loras women’s basketball program and remained in the role for three years.
Things took a twist in Green’s favor and she took over the Loras program as head coach until 2007. Then, she was offered a role as an assistant coach at Providence College, which plays in the Big East conference.
“We were going to be really good [at Loras College] and I loved being a head coach but my goal was to be a head coach at Division I,” Green said, “So when Providence called… I knew I had to get into the Big East conference, I knew I had to do it.”
Although it was a tough decision to make, she said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take part in the Big East and face the likes of Connecticut, Louisville and Notre Dame.
Green served as an assistant coach for the Providence women’s basketball program for five seasons before she joined the Flyers in 2012 as an assistant. She remained here through the 2015 season when UD advanced to the Elite Eight–their farthest run in team history.
Green then received an offer to join the Northwestern University women’s team as an assistant coach.
2016 was Green’s year. After a year of assisting the Wildcats, she was called back by the Flyers, only this time to take charge as head coach, replacing the legendary Jim Jabir, UD’s most successful women’s coach in team history.
Jabir took his team to six consecutive NCAA tournaments and carried them to the Elite Eight in 2015. In order to continue the recent success of the program, Green knows she must instill high expectations in her team.
“When I just got here, [the Flyers] had just won the conference tournament, and made the NCAA tournament, but we were still on that upward [rise],” said Green. “Now people expect Dayton to be in the mix to get top players recruiting-wise, be in the mix in the NCAA tournament, and always contend for conference championships. I think now the expectation is just so much higher… the bar has been raised.”
Touching on the recruitment for the Flyers, Green was the recruiting coordinator for UD for two years. As head coach, Green still plays a role in recruitment process because she wants to ensure they are targeting the best-fit players for the program.
Building to that, Green acknowledged that local talent is what got UD basketball to where it stands today.
“I keep going back to…who got Dayton basketball to where it was, it was local,” Green said. “You know, just a Dayton kid, a hardworking, fundamental kid that’s going to come in and get better. They may not be as highly ranked but they fit what we do… you want to go after the best, but they have to fit our style and you have to be realistic too…We have to focus in on Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana where it’s close and there is top talent.”
A top focus for Green as head coach is getting the student body, the fans, more involved during the games. There is an obvious big disparity in attendance between men’s and women’s basketball at the UD Arena.
“I met with Red Scare a couple weeks ago and they have a lot of ideas and I want to bounce ideas off of them because we do have to do something,” said Green. “I have seen the attendance [at men’s games] and the students go up and it’s awesome, but we (the women’s team) still don’t have a presence of the student body.”
Green is confident that if more students were to attend the games, they would enjoy what they will witness. Green demands high energy from her side, it’s in her coaching philosophy. Green demands a high intensity level of work but wants her players to have fun. The Green Era is definitely one to look forward to, Flyer Nation.
The Flyers lost their season opening game against Quinnipiac University on Sunday, 63-60. They travel to the University of Wisconsin on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The Flyers next play at UD Arena on Dec. 2 against Morgan State.