Bozeman takes over women’s basketball

Tuesday, June 24, 4:00 p.m.

GW women’s basketball assistant coach Mike Bozeman was introduced as the new head coach of the program Tuesday afternoon. He replaces former coach Joe McKeown, who announced on June 9 that he had accepted the same title at Northwestern University.

“This is a big moment for myself and my family,” Bozeman said at a press conference in the Smith Center. “The commitment that (Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz) has given me is going to be rewarded by my efforts, by my dedication, by my passion.”

Bozeman spent three years on McKeown’s staff. During the 2006-2007 season, he served as interim head coach for four games after McKeown suffered a knee injury. The Colonials won three of the four contests, including an upset over then-No. 11/10 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) University of Georgia.

“(Getting the chance to be a head coach) was important because it showed both myself and the team that I’m capable,” Bozeman said.

A District native, Bozeman was the head coach at Bishop McNamara High School in Prince George’s County from 1999-2005 before joining McKeown’s staff. There, he guided the program to three WCAC Conference championships.

One of Bozeman’s players at Bishop McNamara was current GW senior Antelia Parrish. Parrish, who lived with Bozeman’s family during part of her high school career, called him a father figure and said the announcement is very special to her. She cheered and stomped her feet when the announcement was made official on Tuesday.

Her teammates share her enthusiasm. Seniors Lisa Steele and Jazmine and Jessica Adair were also enthusiastic about Bozeman’s capabilities and the comfort of having a head coach who has been around the program.

“He knows the ropes,” Steele said in an interview. “There will be a transition period but we know what to expect. It should be pretty smooth.”

“We have that chemistry with him,” Jazmine Adair added. “We played under him. We confided in him. We know him.”

The news of McKeown’s departure came somewhat suddenly earlier this month. Last July, on the verge of his 19th season with the Colonials, McKeown signed a contract extension to 2013. Jazmine said the team had heard rumors of his departure before it was officially announced but didn’t think it would come that soon.

Bozeman now has a busy summer ahead of him, as he must find at least two if not three assistant coaches and a director of basketball operations. Former GW assistant Tajama Ngongba Abraham left last month for the head coaching position at Radford University and former director of basketball operations Liz Dancause is also on the outs.

Bozeman said he has already begun the process of putting together his staff. Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz said he will give Bozeman the opportunity to select his own assistants and that his primary concern is that “the person fits the image of the University.”

Kvancz said he had Bozeman in mind as soon as McKeown announced his resignation. He would not hint at the other candidates for the position, only that he is “confident that Mike is the absolute best person for the job.”

“If we stay where we are, that’s good. If we get better, that’s even better,” Kvancz said in reference to the team’s success in the past, which has included 78 victories in Bozeman’s three years with the program and back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances the last two seasons. “I don’t want to go backwards, but I don’t see that happening.”

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