NKU Coach Whitaker Charts Course for Women’s Division I Tournament

by Pat Moynahan on August 30, 2016

Camryn Whitaker, current NKU Women’s Basketball Coach, and Marilyn Moore, the first NKU Women’s Basketball Coach from 1974 – 1981.

Camryn Whitaker, current NKU Women’s Basketball Coach, and Marilyn Moore, the first NKU Women’s Basketball Coach from 1974 – 1981.

FLORENCE – Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball coach Camryn Whitaker believes a berth in the NCAA Division I postseason tournament is within reach in the Norse’s first year of eligibility.

“We’ve set our goals high, and I have high expectations,” Whitaker said.

“They’re not unrealistic goals. We’re not rebuilding. We have what it takes to get there. And every day we talk about what we have to do to get there.”

Whitaker, a Cynthiana native in her first year at NKU, talked to the Florence Rotary Club at a luncheon on August 21 about how her staff plans to get there. She also spoke about her formulas for recruiting and building a quality program.

The Norse coach knows a bit about how to build a quality program and get to the NCAA tournament. During three years as an assistant at the University of Dayton, the Flyers won two conference championships and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2015. She served as an assistant coach last year at the University of Kentucky, helping the Wildcats to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

“Whitaker said Norse fans can expect to see “an exciting, up-and-down, fast-paced style of play” on the court. They can else expect to see a lot of players from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio on the roster.

“There’s so much talent in this area, so we don’t want to get too far away from that,” Whitaker noted. “We’re going to recruit versatile players who can play a lot of positions. We’re going to recruit blue-collar players … players who will dive-on the floor for the ball.”

NKU also will recruit players who are strong academically. Whitaker said she preaches three things to her players. First, they are student athletes. Second, they must do the right thing on and off the court. And, third, they must strive to be the best team at NKU academically and on the court.

Whitaker believes she inherited a team with those qualities. The Norse return three of the top five scorers and the top two rebounders from a team that went 19-14 in 2015-16 and took NCAA qualifier Wisconsin Green-Bay to double overtime before losing 80-78 in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament.

NKU was invited to the Women’s Basketball Invitational all four years of the NCAA reclassification process to Division I. The Norse have won two national women’s basketball championships in Division II and have posted 33 consecutive winning seasons.

“I’m aware of that,” the new coach said, smiling. “I think about it every morning when I wake up.”