On Tuesday, Georgetown women’s basketball announced Tasha Butts as its new head coach. The Voice had a chance to sit down with her one-on-one to discuss her plans for the program.
Head Coach Tasha Butts arrived on the Hilltop yesterday with plenty of experience. She had a dominant collegiate career at Tennessee under Pat Summitt, and has spent the past 16 years coaching. She was an assistant coach for Duquesne, UCLA, LSU, and worked most recently as an associate head coach at Georgia Tech.
For Butts, the decision to come to Georgetown was about the people, beginning with her first conversation with Athletic Director Lee Reed and Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director for Business & Finance Sharon Brummell.
“I felt like it was a conversation, I was extremely comfortable. I wasn’t stressed out as if it was an interview,” she said. “And then when I stepped foot on campus, everything just aligned.”
Although April 11 was just her first day on campus, Butts already has big plans for the Hilltop, starting with recruitment. The DMV is a hotbed of basketball talent, a fact that Butts knows and respects. She named local recruiting as her top priority.
“We want to make sure that we’re able to put that gate around home, and even though there’s a lot of competition of great universities in the DMV, you know, my mindset has always been, ‘why not us?’” she said.
With collegiate women’s basketball powerhouse Maryland just a 30-minute drive away, recruiting competition for local talent will be tough, but Butts’ sixteen years of coaching and recruiting experience have given her the AAU connections she needs to succeed. She’s not interested in using those connections to fill specific positions, though; she wants to find players who will fit in well in the Georgetown program culture that she’s trying to build.
“I want the best player with the best character, the best person from a great family, a great circle, that is competitive,” she said.
Strong recruiting will set Butts up for success in achieving her short-term goals in her first one to three years as Head Coach. The most pressing short-term goal is offensive improvement. The specific areas that she wants to focus on are three-point shooting, turnovers, offensive rebounding, and shot selection.
Given the 2022-23 Hoyas’ dismal 27.6 percent three-point shooting, 14.7 turnovers per game, 11.1 offensive boards per game, and 38.5 percent overall shooting percentage, these are comforting focus points to hear.
Butts believes that making the necessary changes and putting in the work to make these goals possible won’t be comfortable, but that it’s doable. For her, small but consistent improvements are critical.
“We’re putting ourselves in a better position to win games, better position to put more points on the board, which may result in more wins,” she said. “And now, instead of eight out of 11 [in BIG EAST rankings], we may be six out of 11, seven out of 11.”
Looking further into the future, Butts has a vision of building on those small, consistent improvements to achieve long-lasting program dominance.
“When you do those little things, and you constantly knock down the small, little nuggets to get to the big nugget, you’re rewarded,” she said of her vision for the future. “Now, we are a consistent NCAA tournament team. We expect our name to be called in postseason play. When it’s not called, we’re disappointed.”
Considering the women’s basketball team has only been to the NCAA tournament four times in its 53-year history, this vision of excellence should be a welcome one for Georgetown fans, who have had little to cheer for over the past few years. Butts recognizes that there is work to be done in terms of repairing the relationship with fans, and believes that she has the experience necessary.
“One of my mottos is ‘earned, never given,’” she said. “So that means that we’ve got to earn your trust.”
What will this look like? As an assistant coach at other schools, Butts went door to door to different student organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, to make sure her programs were visible on campus. She plans to continue this at Georgetown by speaking with various clubs and student groups to help build a fan base on the Hilltop.
Butts wants the student body to know that she is going to put her all into developing this program, but that she and her staff and her players can’t do it alone.
“Recruits, families, student athletes, all of them, when they come to a university, they want to see the fan support. They want to be supported. They want to understand that they’re going to have people in the stands cheering for them. And so that is where you all come into play. And we got to do it together. And it’s not just about me asking for something,” she said. “I want us to make sure that we develop that partnership, so that I can see y’all in the stands at the games.”
This news pleases me.