Local News

Duke Fans to Coach G: Just Say No, Don't Go

Posted March 29, 2007 11:29 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2007 11:34 p.m. EDT

— They say everything is bigger in Texas, but Duke basketball fans have a message for women’s coach Gail Goestenkors: bigger doesn't always mean better.

The University of Texas just interviewed Duke’s “Coach G” for the top job there. Goestenkors says she's in no rush to make a decision, however.

Some of the fans known at both men’s and women’s games as the Cameron Crazies held a rally for Coach G Thursday night at their famed basketball hall.

The Blue Devil faithful are mounting an e-mail, letter and telephone campaign to keep Goestenkors at Cameron. They want the university to do what it takes to keep her, making the Texas Longhorns’ attempt to lure her away a long shot.

“It was such an incredible year. She'd done so much to build the program. We just had to show our support. We don't want her to go,” said student Pearce Godwin.

Senior Krystle Merchant says Goestenkors simply must stay.

“I think she should stay. There's no reason to leave. Duke is the best. I'm about to graduate, and I don't even want to leave,” Merchant said.

In her 15 years courtside, Coach G built Duke into a women’s basketball powerhouse. She guided the Blue Devils to four trips to the Final Four and an unbeaten regular season this year.

“I think what the program has accomplished this year and what it’s accomplished the last 15 years is worth the institution paying out if necessary,” said student body President Elliott Wolf.

In a show of solidarity, members of Duke's women team dropped in on the celebration to kick up the momentum to keep Coach G in Durham.

“Keep the e-mails coming, keep the letters coming, go to her office. Do everything you can to keep her here. We love her and want to keep her here. Duke wouldn't be the same without her,” senior guard Lindsay Harding told the gathering.

The show of support also stretches all the way down Tobacco Road—to Chapel Hill.

“She's done a tremendous job at Duke, and Duke being as good as they are has made us better because of the competition. They beat us this year, but the last two years we've beaten them, so we make each other better,” said UNC women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell.

Hatchell concedes, however, that it'll be tough for Coach G to turn down a lucrative offer from Texas—and not just for the money. She says the Lone Star State is loaded with talent.

For her part, Coach G is back home. She says she will take a couple of days to think about Texas' offer before making a decision.