The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Holder out; Schulz new women’s basketball coach

After an extensive search to find a new CSUN women’s head basketball coach, Staci Schulz, the top assistant under former head coach Tammy Holder, was given the reigns to the improving team.

Her promotion came shortly after the former Athletic Director Dick Dull broke the news of Holder’s resignation.

“I was very excited and a bit relieved because it was kind of a lengthy process,” said Schulz regarding her hiring as the new head coach. “Overall it is very exciting, (my) first opportunity to be a head coach. I have put a lot of energy already into this program and (now) I will get to continue to work with the program I think is at its best so far.”

Holder leaves having led the women’s basketball team to their best season in years, achieving an overall 18-11 record and 11-7 in league play.

Holder will continue her coaching career, accepting the top assistant position for the women’s basketball team at the University of South Carolina.

“I resigned from CSUN because I was offered a position close to home that would allow me to see my family on a regular basis,” Holder said. “I felt like we accomplished some great things at CSUN and I am confident that Coach Schulz can continue on that journey to a championship.”

When she first heard of Holder’s resignation, Schulz said she was taken back by the news.

“We were a little shocked, but I understand that she wanted to get closer to her family, and she’s an east coast person,” said Schulz after first hearing of Holder’s resignation.

Holder’s former players were also surprised to hear the news of her resignation.

“I was a little upset at first, said LaJoyce King, junior guard/forward for the women’s Matadors, she explained her reasons, but I was (still) shocked; I had to be mature enough to accept her reasons.”

Prior to being the top assistant to Holder, Schulz applied her coaching prowess to other basketball programs such as the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she was previously an assistant coach, and Western Illinois University, where she was a volunteer assistant coach.

Schulz also played college basketball at her alma mater Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota.

Even though this is Schulz’s first time as a head coach, she said she believes she has what it takes to succeed.

During her time as an assistant coach, Schulz was heavily involved in numerous rebuilding processes, both with UNLV and since day one at CSUN.

Having seen Schulz work under her for three years with the team, Holder considers her the perfect replacement for the job.

“I am 100 percent supporting the hire of Staci as I know she possesses all the qualities to become a great head coach,” Holder said. “I am sure she will bring in her own special touches to the team to make it her own.”

Schulz said she prides herself in having a good work ethic and she plans on stressing its very importance in order for this new team to be victorious

“I will be (at CSUN) burning the midnight oil if I need to,” she said

She is taking over a team that has all five starters from last year returning, headlined by the 2005 first team all-Big West senior Ofa Tulikihihifo, who in each of her previous seasons increased her production in all major categories, spanning from points per game to rebounding.

“Ofa is the type of player that likes the freedom to play. In a sense, it is in her hands and naturally she will continue to get better,” Schulz said.

Regardless, Schulz underlines the fact that this season will concentrate on the unity of the group.

“I would rather win a game where she (Tulikihihifo) scores four points than losing with her scoring 20 points.”

Even though Tulikihihifo was upset to find out that Holder had left the team, she believes that Schulz is a perfect replacement.

“Coach Schulz can fill the missing holes on our team,” Tulikihihifo said. “Her whole attitude is winning. She wants to win. She’s pretty real with us. She tells it to us straight up.”

For the 2005-06 season, Schulz hopes the team will continue their competitive play by making better on-court decisions, which she said should come rather easily considering many of the players have been together for four years.

The same philosophy that Holder taught the team will remain, but Schulz wants to emphasize defense and a more running style of offense, highlighted by fast-break points.

“I hope to have more of a killer instinct-type of philosophy,” Schulz said. “I want high-energy play. It will be different. It will be very exciting basketball.”

Schulz said she believes this type of basketball will create a better awareness of the women’s basketball program among the CSUN community.

“We need a fast pace game,” Schulz said.

In her three years of playing for the team under Holder, Tulikihihifo had played in a setup style offense. She expressed her excitement of the new game plan Schulz plans to implement.

“I’m used to high energy basketball,” Tulikihihifo said. “I’ve always wanted to play that way in college.”

With a new coach and different approaches to the offense and defense, adjusting successfully may be difficult, however the team remains confident in their new leader and hopes that the possible kinks will work themselves out during the months prior to the start of the new season.

“I am hoping and believing that we will get off to a good start because we do not have to change our system too much,” King said. “We can pretty much just pick up where we left off and hopefully progress from there.”

Holder, although coaching on the other side of the United States, believes firmly that this years CSUN team has what it takes to win.

“I hated leaving my favorite team ever, but they are great young ladies, great individuals on and off the court and if any team can continue with reaching their goals, this group can,” Holder said.

“The team is full of upper-class women and that too made my decision to leave a little easier. I wish them the best in the Big West and beyond.” Holder added.

In her first year as head coach, Schulz hopes to improve upon last year’s already incredible season.

“I love this team, they have a never-say-die attitude,” Schulz added. “They make the impossible, possible and I am excited to work with them again.”

John Barundia can be reached at

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