Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

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High Praise, Hard Work, & Long Term Goals: RMU Announces McCabe in Introductory Press Conference

Photo+credit%3A+Malena+Kaniuff
Photo credit: Malena Kaniuff

MOON TOWNSHIP– “It’s an exciting day.” New women’s basketball Head Coach Chandler McCabe used those words to close out her opening press conference at the UPMC Events Center.

Robert Morris announced the hiring of McCabe yesterday afternoon and scheduled the press conference for this morning. In it, McCabe paid homage to her past and delivered her vision for the team, now and for the future.

After thanking her family and friends, McCabe gave a special shoutout to her former employer and current George Mason women’s basketball Head Coach, Vanessa Blair-Lewis.

“Vanessa Blair-Lewis is not only a mentor to me, but she’s a giant in this industry, and she’s a trailblazer,” McCabe said.

McCabe spent seven years with George Mason as associate head coach to Blair-Lewis. Last season, McCabe was with UCF in Orlando but attributes her career to Blair-Lewis.

“I would not be here without you, and I stand on your shoulders today,” McCabe said.

A firm commitment McCabe made during her presser was recruiting local talent, which has been rather rare for the program. Hattie McGraw is currently the only local WPIAL player on the team, something that seems destined to change for the team.

“Starting today, we’re going to develop stronger bonds with the Pennsylvania AAU and high school programs and players,” McCabe said. “We’re gonna lock down the best talent in Pittsburgh and keep home talent home.”

The players met their new coach this morning before the conference, and while McCabe recognized the talent on her team, she admitted she would look to attack the portal and recruit.

“We’re going to do a roster assessment once the roster is set, which will take a little bit of time,” McCabe said. “We’ll talk about our roles once we know the roster is going forward.”

When asked how hard she’ll attack that market, McCabe answered and firmly, “Extremely.” McCabe also will look to bring her staff locally, too.

As for who McCabe wants on the team, she said, “I enjoy players who are really versatile and can kind of play a lot of different positions. Defense will be first; I learned that from Vanessa [Blair-Lewis]. Three-level scorers, efficient players; our percentages really need to go up significantly.”

The Orlando native added, “We want the players that want to be at Robert Morris first and foremost, and that’s how we win championships.”

McCabe may be new, and while she is not planning too ahead, the new coach definitely has her goals for the future.

“I want to be a perennial, mid-major powerhouse in ten years,” McCabe said. “I am really focused on tomorrow, let alone a year. But in ten years, I would like to be a household name.”

McCabe is also excited to start her challenge in the Horizon League.

“You know, there’s been a couple of teams who are really, really high in the Horizon League lately and we just want to be like they are,” McCabe added. “It looks like there are two really top teams, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for more. That middle of the pack is tough, the bottom of the pack is tough, but I’m really looking forward to being in the conversation for one of the top teams in the league here soon.”

But something that McCabe wants to see in Hoop Township are the fans, students, and a combined community.

“It seems like people who are here are bought in, and we want a lot more people who are bought in,” McCabe said. “We want you coming to our games. We want that personal relationship with people. I think that’s really important, especially in women’s basketball.”

McCabe finally delivered a direct message to the students, “We won’t play till November, but my office is open. Students, you guys come to games. I’ll be in the dorms, I’ll pass out pizza, I’ll help you move in, and I’ll be around, I promise. We want you guys at our games. We’ll love it.”

Like the first-year head coach said, women’s basketball will not play until November, but the team has a long offseason ahead of it before taking the court again for the first time during Mo Madness in October.

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