photo by Cliff GrassmickCU Press conf, Ceal Barry, Linda Lappe, Sabrina Scott and Tera Bjorklund.
photo by Cliff Grassmick CU Press conf, Ceal Barry, Linda Lappe, Sabrina Scott and Tera Bjorklund. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )
Linda Lappe has tapped into Ceal Barry`s knowledge on plenty of occasions as she`s developed in her coaching career.

That connection figures only to strengthen now that Lappe is working for her mentor.

Lappe, who played for Barry at Colorado from 1998-2003, was hired to replace Kathy McConnell-Miller as the Buffaloes` women`s basketball coach on Monday.

Barry, who coached at CU from 1983-2005, is associate athletic director for academics and student services at CU. And, as of Monday, she has full administrative oversight of the women`s basketball program.

"Ceal is a great resource to have," said Lappe, 30, who spent the last three seasons as head coach at Division-II Metro State. "She understands how Colorado works. She understands how the coaching profession works. She understands how to deal with players. She understands how to manage a staff, all of those things. So I will use her probably more than she wants to be used."

Barry already oversaw volleyball, soccer and track and field at CU before women`s hoops was added to her duties Monday.

"We didn`t do that initially when Ceal retired because we just didn`t think that was fair," CU athletic director Mike Bohn said. "But it`s a different time."

Lappe said her coaching style was similar to Barry`s but certainly not the same.

"But the basic philosophies, the basic values ... those are all the same," Lappe said.


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Barry headed the search committee to find McConnell-Miller`s replacement and said she is excited to begin her new duties working with someone she said she knows as well as anyone on campus.

"I`m really excited for her and I`m excited for our fan base," Barry said. "I think our fan base will re-energize. I think they will be thrilled with the product (Lappe) puts on the floor."

Party like it`s 1998

Speaking of fans, the CU athletic department is making a 13-day push to bring more back to the Coors Events Center for women`s basketball.

Thirteen because that`s the number Lappe wore when she played for the Buffs and 1998 prices because that`s when Lappe first arrived on campus.

Until April 24, CU fans -- including current season ticket holders -- can purchase any season ticket except for courtside seats for $98 apiece.

Bohn said the program has seen the number of women`s basketball season ticket holders drop from roughly 2,000 at the beginning of this decade to fewer than 300 last season.

"So we are going to work hard to help our fans and former fans (who helped) Ceal be successful to come back and help make a difference with this," Bohn said.

On the recruiting trail

Lappe said she didn`t expect that the Buffs would sign any recruits for next year`s freshman class on Wednesday when the signing period begins, though she didn`t rule out adding to the class sometime before the window closes next month.

McConnell-Miller signed three recruits during November`s early signing period, and it`s unclear yet how many spots the Buffs might have open.

Lappe said she would need to see the current Buffs work out before she could assess what areas she wanted to address with recruiting.

She also said it was too early to tell if there would be current players transferring out of the program.

"I don`t want to sign players just to sign players so that we have the numbers," she said. "I want to sign players that fit in with what we`re doing. If we only have nine next year that really want to be here and are totally committed, then that`s fine. I want to sign the right people, the right fit, the right basketball players for what we`re trying to do."

Building a staff

Lappe said she hopes to have the rest of her coaching staff hired by early next month.

She said she is close to hiring a couple of assistants.

She said she couldn`t say whether any of McConnell-Miller`s assistants would be retained but that she would be meeting with them today.