Longtime assistant Andrew Calder on Sylvia Hatchell, his new role, and the team's mood
Andrew Calder spent the past 27 years as Sylvia Hatchell’s assistant at UNC. Now he's taking over temporarily for the Hall of Fame coach, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Calder spoke with the media before practice today. Here is a partial transcript:
I want everyone to know that we’re going to continue to uphold the high standards that Coach Hatchell has set for this program.
Hatchell’s current role:
Coach Hatchell as we know is a great motivator; she will be missed. However each year she evaluates the talent that she has coming in, and with her philosophy she puts together a master gameplan. We’re just implementing that gameplan. When she returns we will be on schedule
How players are holding up:
Obviously it’s very tough, they love Coach Hatchell, she’s a mother to all of the them. But I will say they were very enthusiastic in practice yesterday and very motivated. Not only for themselves but for Coach Hatchell.
They were very enthusiastic yesterday and very focused on being the best they can be. Every day in practice Coach Hatchell wants our team to get better, and they got better yesterday.
His role as head coach:
We both have the same philosophy in how the game should be played. We’re going to continue to play the game the way she wants the game to be played. We’re going to fast-break and we’re going to continue to pressure. It’s going to be fun. I’ve learned a lot from her, and we’ll just implement that.
How Hatchell’s doing:
I did go to her room yesterday, she was in very high spirits, we did discuss practice yesterday and what we’re going to do today, tomorrow (after that the team is off for Fall break until Sunday night). But she is very excited for this basketball team.
When he found out:
I got a call from Coach Hatchell on Friday night, and met with her on Saturday, and she told me at that time the situation. She’s very confident in us, and hopefully she’ll be back very soon to coach this basketball team.
Coach Hatchell is a coach that’s hands-on, so she’s had a lot of communication and worked with the freshman already and has talked to them about their game and exactly how they’re going to fit in to or system.
His role as a longtime assistant:
I have not looked to go anywhere. I have a very close relationship with Coach Hatchell and I love this university, this athletic department, everyone associated with this university. I’m very comfortable in my position. I know Coach Guthridge was in the position (for 30 years) under Coach Dean Smith and I’m very happy.
Coach Hatchell’s a fighter and she will conquer this disease.