Leathernecks Suffer Big Losses on WBB Staff
The college basketball coaching carousel can be a brutal one, especially at the mid-major level. That carousel has seen two WIU women’s assistant coaches, Sydney Crafton (Grand Canyon) and Seth Minter (Missouri State) leave for greener pastures. I spoke with WIU Athletic Director, Danielle Surprenant, about what these departures meant and what these two coaches meant to the program.
“I think both of them did a tremendous job when they were here at Western,” Surprenant said, “I think for both of them you want to see them take that next step in their career path and I think both did a lot for the program while they were here.”
The two departures leave two huge large holes on the WIU coaching staff, as both Crafton and Minter contributed heavily to recruiting and game planning as two of head Coach J.D. Gravina’s top assistants. The difficult part now will be finding two coaches who fit the role of what Gravina and WIU are looking for in those positions.
“I think you see what you’re looking for and what the responsibilities hold,” Surprenant remarked, “And you see what the fit is both for the University and for the program and you match your needs to that.”
One thing is certain, there will be new faces now on WIU recruiting trips, which may affect how they go about the process. Minter especially played a huge role in recruiting, securing the signatures of several of the program’s top players over the last few years. He will leave big shoes to fill, but the challenge could bring out the best in the new hirees.
“I don’t think so at all, Coach Gravina does a great job with the program and he’s still here” Surprenant responded to a question of whether the losses will impact recruitment, “We’re working together to find that new staff that can come in here and take over.”
The impact of these two departures will be felt not only by players who worked with Crafton and Minter over the past four years, but also by Gravina himself. Gravina spent the better part of these years grooming these two for a jump up to a bigger job, and to see them take those steps has to be a bittersweet (albeit mostly sweet) feeling.
“He’s been very positive about it,” Surprenant said of Gravina’s reaction to the news of Minter’s and Crafton’s departures, “He wants the best for his staff, although those friendships form and you get set and comfortable within your staff, you always want what’s best for your people. He’s very happy for them and excited, and continues to work towards the future here.”
Though there will be two new faces strolling the sidelines next year for the Leathernecks next season, the expectation will still be for this team to continue the winning culture they’ve established over the last few years. A winning culture, which should be a welcome environment for anyone looking to join this program.