The Mentor and the mentee - Tucson News Now

The Mentor and the mentee

Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - After getting her first win as a head coach, Adia Barnes received a congratulatory text from her former college coach Joan Bonvicini - the woman who holds the most wins as a head coach in Arizona women's basketball history. Bonvicini had watched from the crowd as one of her best players led the Wildcats to victory over Alcorn State, Sunday. Shortly after she sent that text, Barnes gave Bonvicini a call. 

Barnes

"Joan and I talked after the game. She's been a friend, a mentor, my coach obviously, I still call her Coach B. She always has great input. She's one of the winningest coaches in women's college basketball. I always take advice from friends like her."

Bonvicini 

"I said, first of all take a step back. You just won your first game which is a big thing. Know that there's going to be some great moments ahead and some hard moments but just stay in the moment. Stay the course. Believe in yourself." 

Barnes

"I think as a competitor, someone who wants to have everything perfect, sometimes you don't keep things in perspective. Talking to her was the calming storm. It was really good and insightful."

Bonvicini

"She can't have too many things in front of her right now. She's got a really good staff. They're experienced. I think she's already done a lot of good things for the team and the program, changing the culture and I think building bridges in the community. To win your first game, that's a big thing. When she looks back on it, it could be a week from now, could be a month or a year from now, she'll look back and see how much she's accomplished."

Barnes

"She had watched us from two months ago. She comes to practice about once a week so she sees the improvement. Some of the stuff I don't see because I'm seeing it every day. Just about spacing, execution of things. Yes, it was a little tough down the stretch but we're getting better. That's the main thing. So it's a process."

Bonvicini

"I think she has a really good demeanor on the bench and so does her staff. I think the team's improved quite a bit. You know, I think they're learning how to win. Are there things they could've done better yesterday? Absolutely. But I think she's got them on the right track."

Barnes 

She made a joke. She said, 'You roll up the paper like me and you're a lot more calm than I would be.' I'm not going to get in someone's face and scream at them. That's just not me. But I can bring intensity when I need to. But celebrating the win was the most important message she gave me.

Bonvicini (on Barnes catching her Arizona win total of 287)

You can't worry about that stuff. You just have to go one win at a time. It's easier said than done. But I have a lot of confidence in Adia. I think she's a really good person, number one, and a good leader, and I definitely think she's doing a good job.

Barnes

Got a ways to go.

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