New USC women’s basketball coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has been challenged.
Trojans athletic director Pat Haden said he wants the program back to being relevant nationally.
“Cynthia is a proven coach and there’s no reason she can’t help us get back to the level it was when she played here in the 1980s,” Haden said.
Cooper-Dyke said she is eager to face that challenge. “If you were to ask what my dream job was,” Cooper-Dyke said during a conference call Friday, “it was to come back home and be head coach at USC.
“My dream for my program at USC is to win, to develop a culture of winning, to put a product on the floor that the fans, players, administration, alumni can be proud of.”
Cooper-Dyke played on USC’s national championship teams in 1983 and 1984 and was part of the USA’s gold-medal-winning team at the 1988 Olympics. She is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
When Cooper-Dyke was coach at Prairie View in 2008, the school was penalized for violations that came during her first coaching season at the school in 2005-2006.
“I now have a mentality of compliance,” Cooper-Dyke said. “When it [the NCAA violations] happened, I had been away from the college rules and I didn’t have the mentality of compliance. Now I’m surrounded by an administration that has it.”
Haden said USC had “fully vetted” Cooper-Dyke and said he feels confident that Cooper-Dyke will not make any NCAA rules mistakes.
“We talked about what happened,” Haden said. “She’ll be surrounded at USC with resources she didn’t have at prior stops.”
Cooper-Dyke is married to sports agent Brian Dyke and she has 10-year-old twins, Brian and Cyan. Cooper-Dyke said the twins are straight-A students but neither is focused on basketball.
“They’re pretty good tennis players,” Cooper-Dyke said.
Cooper-Dyke said her vision of USC basketball includes a fast-paced game played in front of large, noisy crowds.
“I like the fast tempo,” she said, “up and down the court, get it done. You also need to be efficient in the half court. It’s a balancing act.”