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Anderson brings Division I experience to A&M-Commerce

By Adam Troxtell
On March 3, 2010

When Nicole Anderson was named the women's basketball head coach for Texas A&M University-Commerce in October of 2009, she arrived with plenty of experience. Not only was she named one of UCLA's 15 greatest players in program history, but she coached Division I basketball at the University of San Diego as well as at Long Beach State University.
"I do believe my experience at the Division I level has helped me tremendously, but that's all my coaching experiences," Anderson said. "I've done this for 16 years, and now, being at this point, I believe all of those experiences, both good and bad, contribute to what is my coaching philosophy now."

She admitted to not really knowing much about the town of Commerce but liked what she saw when researching the university.

"I knew nothing about Commerce, had no idea about exactly where it was," she said. "One thing in particular was the fact that a lot of the students who attend school here were first generation college students, and that's me. So, that really attracted me immediately when I was doing my online research of the university."

When she arrived on campus for an interview, Anderson said she was shocked by the look and feel of the campus.

"When I arrived for my interview, I was pleasantly surprised, first off, by the size of the campus," she said. "I didn't expect it to be as large as it is, I didn't expect the facilities to be what they were, and I was really impressed actually."

Anderson also said Athletic Director Carlton Cooper's plans for the athletic department contributed to her joining the Lions' basketball program.

"I could see the vision of what Mr. Cooper had for the program," she said. "I really trust that he's doing the right thing, and he has a huge vision for this university and a huge vision for athletics as well. That was very instrumental in my decision to come out to Commerce."

One aspect of basketball Anderson enjoys the most is using the game to impact the community. This is another reason she came to A&M-Commerce.
"We are not only one of the faces of the university, but people read about our program," Anderson said. "They listen to our program on the radio constantly, so I like to have our kids and our players immersed into the community. If you do that, they come out and support you as well."

Anderson emphasized the importance of her team contributing to the community. She said it was always a big deal when anyone involved in basketball spoke to her while she was in elementary school, and she wants her team to have the same impact.

"We constantly talk about not just being takers, but givers in this program, givers to this community, and givers to young people especially," she said. "I know how important it was and how excited I was when anybody came into my classroom when I was in elementary school and definitely a basketball player. So, to have that chance, to have our young ladies giving back to the community, and just to give is really special."

Her first season, statistically speaking, was not one to remember. The team finished 4-22 overall, and 1-13 in the Lone Star Conference. Anderson said, despite the end of season record, she can take positives from her team's play.

"We got better, as I expected," she said. "Of course, we struggled with winning ball games, but one thing in particular is I know that we did the things that I told the community we would do. We would play an up-tempo style of basketball, we would play a pressure defense which would cause a lot of havoc for our opponents, and we put an exciting product on the floor."

As she served as a recruiting coordinator during her time with Long Beach State, and was involved with recruiting at other universities, Anderson is looking forward to using the post-season to build toward, what she sees as, a bright future.

"I absolutely love Commerce, and I have no intentions of going anywhere," she said. "I want to see this thing explode, and I really feel like the athletic department as a whole is about to go into another level of extreme success very soon. I feel very confident and very comfortable in my position here. I'm pleased with our recruiting, I'm pleased with the foundation that is being made, and I am also very pleased with the young ladies who will be returning to this team."

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