McEntire jumps into new role as Wahine assistant

A one-way ticket to Hawaii was all Calamity McEntire needed.

After interviewing for a position on the Rainbow Wahine basketball team’s coaching staff, McEntire stayed in town and accepted the job on Aug. 23. Once the paperwork was finalized, she promptly jumped into her new duties as assistant to the head coach “and we’ve been off to the races ever since,” she said.

“With school already being in session and (recruiting) visits already in the works, I wanted to be here,” McEntire said. “Not only be here to work, but also I want to get to know these players and get to know the recruits we have and help in any way I can. So going back to the mainland was not an option.”

The latest, though not the last, addition to the UH coaching staff entering Laura Beeman’s fifth season as head coach, McEntire fills one of the vacancies left by the departures of two assistants in the offseason. Alex Delanian returns for his third year on the coaching staff and picks up the title of associate coach previously held by Mary Wooley. McEntire’s hire fills one of openings with the other expected to be finalized as soon as this week.

McEntire served as an assistant coach at Arizona for the last four years and visited the Stan Sheriff Center while on the coaching staffs at Boise State and Fresno State in a 12-year Division I career that also included a stop at UC Santa Barbara.

Originally from Oklahoma and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, McEntire wasted little time before diving into the transition process in her first week in Manoa.

“We’ve hit the ground running and Coach Beeman has been unbelievable in making this transition as seamless as possible,” McEntire said. “She’s a go-getter to the fullest, but more than that she has a huge heart. … I’m hearing from two or three of the players every single night checking on me, being very thoughtful and welcoming, as well as the people in the community.

“I get the aloha spirit. I understand what that means because everyone has just been so gracious and kind to me. This is the easiest transition I’ve ever had, as crazy as it sounds.”

Given the turnover on the staff, Beeman indicated she plans to shuffle some assignments, taking on some responsibilities she had delegated during her first four years in the program. During the transition, McEntire said the emphasis in the office has been “not so much in defining who does what quite yet, as much as, ‘What needs to be done? OK, let’s do it.’ ”

McEntire played two seasons at Eastern Oklahoma State where she felt drawn to coaching and her mother and aunt — country star Reba McEntire — encouraged her pursuit of the profession.

“They said if I wanted to coach I should go learn from the best,” McEntire said.

She enrolled at Tennessee and was hired as a manager under legendary coach Pat Summitt. McEntire credits her time as a student in the Lady Vols program with setting her on a track to a coaching career.

“Huge blessing for me and obviously with Coach Summitt passing away this year, it’s been very difficult for the whole Lady Vol family but we plan to continue her legacy in every way possible,” McEntire said.

As for her famous aunt, McEntire said she and her mother are “extremely close and Reba has been like a second mom.”

“She is someone I admire and look up to, not so much in her success, but how she went about it and how she treats people,” McEntire said. “She works really, really hard and she treats people really, really well and that’s how McEntires do things.”

McEntire joins a UH program in rebuilding mode after losing eight players who accounted for nearly 70 percent of last season’s point total in a run to the Big West tournament championship and an NCAA tournament berth.

Beeman said the final opening on the staff is close to being filled by a candidate with “a lot of player development experience.”

“And with as young a team as we are that’s really what I’m looking for,” Beeman said.

Beeman said the most of the players attended summer school and have been proactive in forming a bond given the number of newcomers entering the program. She’s also been impressed with their approach to the offseason training regimen.

“They’re hungry to win. They understand the culture that we’ve developed and they don’t want that to go away,” Beeman said. “Probably the hardest working group of young women I’ve had in a very long time. Even though they’re young, they’re not afraid to work hard and I really enjoy the workouts right now.”


  1. tongo September 4, 2016 12:42 pm

    Sounds like a great get! We were there at the Honda Center last year when you the tournament and we will be cheering you and your team on again this year. Wishing you and the team the best Coach Beeman!

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