The Rainbow Wahine basketball team’s revamped coaching staff is taking shape.
After the departures of last year’s associate and assistant coaches, UH head coach Laura Beeman announced the additions of Courtney Locke and Berry Randle to the program on Friday. Beeman said she hopes to have the third position filled by the end of the month.
Locke, who spent the last three years as the associate coach at Lipscomb, has already been working the phones in her role as recruiting coordinator. Randle officially started on Thursday and will focus on player development in his first collegiate coaching job.
“They’re very easy to work with, they’re professional, they get it,” Beeman said. “They both want to work so having them in the office right now and getting used to each others personalities, going to lunches and dinners, it’s been a lot of fun. We’re going continue to work on our chemistry.”
— Wahine Basketball (@WahineBBall) June 16, 2017
Alex Delanian, UH’s associate coach last season, accepted the same position at UC Santa Barbara after four years with the Wahine. Assistants Calamity McEntire and Brad Langston both spent one year in Manoa before taking jobs at Dayton and Grand Canyon, respectively.
Prior to her stint at Lipscomb, Locke worked at Central Florida, UC Santa Barbara and Texas-San Antonio in a 10-year collegiate coaching career. Originally from Texas, Locke played for Vivian Stringer at Rutgers and was a member of the Scarlet Knights’ Sweet 16 team as a senior in 2006.
“(Stringer) every day set out to empower us as women and when we leave the university to be able to achieve any dream that we have and that’s what I want to do with our girls,” Locke said in a phone interview on Friday.
“I have teammates who are lawyers, that have been playing professionally overseas, that are in the WNBA, that are coaches. You name it, we’re doing it and that’s because of that she instilled in us.”
Beeman said she knew of Locke through their coaching travels.
“Just saw her out on the road and was already impressed with her professionalism and her intensity while she was doing her job,” Beeman said. “When this process came up her name was dropped in my lap by a couple of people who I have the utmost respect for and it was just a no brainer at that point.”
Locke spent her first week in the office organizing the summer recruiting push and taking the first steps in getting to know the current members of the roster. Most of the team is already in town with a few more scheduled to arrive for the start of summer workouts.
“I think we’ll have an opportunity to learn them and see where they want to be developed and see where they can grow. It’s good because it’s a fresh pair of eyes on them,” Locke said.
“I’ve watched a little bit of film, but I want to take them for who they are and where they are and help them be who they want to be.”
Randle coached at La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) High School for the last eight years and with the Waves Basketball Club. Beeman watched Randle coach in practices while scouting some of his players and was “unbelievably impressed by him and what he does and, more than that, how he treats the kids.”
“He’s just a class guy and I am shocked that this is his first (collegiate) opportunity,” she said.
Randle said his move to Division I coaching is an extension of the work he’s done “in helping players develop more tools, work on their weaknesses, just be more confident on the floor.”
Among the players he coached was Kelsey Plum, who set the NCAA’s all-time scoring record at Washington and was the top pick in the WNBA draft.
“She played last night and she texted me right after the game,” Randle said. “We have chalk talks about games and strategies and how to get better and her approach. We spent a lot of time in the gym together so we still talk pretty often.”
Randle played at San Diego State in the mid-1990s and remembers facing against Phil Handy and Tes Whitlock in the Aztecs’ duels with UH in the Western Athletic Conference.
While she stil has one vacancy to fill, Beeman targeted getting the new coaches on campus prior to the start of summer workouts. The players can work with the strength and conditioning staff for six hours per week and with the team’s coaches for two hours. “Anything above and beyond that is completely voluntary on their part,” Beeman said.
The Wahine return nine of 11 players who saw action in a 12-18 season, led by first-team All-Big West pick Sarah Toeaina, and add junior guards Tia Kanoa and Rachel Odumu to the active roster after redshirt years along with incoming freshman class.
“This is a good, tight group,” Beeman said. “They really respect and like each other. They’re not happy about the way last year ended so they’ve got a little bit of a chip on their shoulder moving forward.”
Along with guard Briana Harris, last season’s lone senior, Beeman said center Adrienne Darden will not return this season. Darden appeared in 19 games, starting two, and averaged 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per game as a freshman.