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Wake Forest Women's Basketball HC Megan Gebbia Interview (11-4-22)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
November 4, 2022 5:08 pm

Wake Forest Women's Basketball HC Megan Gebbia Interview (11-4-22)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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November 4, 2022 5:08 pm

New Wake head coach, Megan Gebbia, joins the show to discuss what she's feeling ahead of her first game with the Deacs, Monday night, her Maryland roots, and how special it is to her to be coaching in the ACC.

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Usually when we do these things on Friday, and by these things, I mean a radio show, we call it a football Friday, but we're approaching that ever so fun time of year where it's crossover college football and college basketball, and we welcome in now the new women's basketball coach of Wake Forest University, Megan Jebbia, who gets set to make her debut Monday, but we need to start in an important place coach, perhaps by finding some common ground between us. You're from Maryland, as am I. You're a Towson Tiger alum, as is my father. Does that mean that you're also a Baltimore Orioles fan? Oh, man. Well, I don't know that I could say I'm a Baltimore Orioles fan, but I do pay attention to the Nationals.

Sorry. I haven't really been a baseball fan my entire life, but I do catch games here and there, and it's always fun to attend them. The other reason I wanted to start with your Maryland roots is because when you were growing up there, the state school over there was in the Atlantic Coast Conference. What was your level of interest following the ACC?

Oh, my gosh. I mean, I think that was something that growing up, we always watched as a family. I remember the Maryland Duke rivalries, obviously. They do quite as much as the rivalry, but Maryland chances. I just remember those games and how much fun it was to watch.

As a family, we never really got to the Maryland to see it live, but we certainly always watched on television. It's just so much fun to think that now I'm able to coach in the ACC, and what that means is just amazing. It's a terrific experience so far and trying to do my best and our staff is trying to do our best to prepare this group heading into a conference that we've never gone through. They know more about the conference than we do to a degree, at least the personnel and how things go. It's funny that we rely on them as much as they're relying on us to help us through this year. In what ways do you rely on them? I think it's just more or less like, as we're trying to motivate them to start the year and practice when things aren't going well, things are said, obviously, like, is this good enough to play in the ACC?

Things like that. It brings them back to what it felt like playing in the league last year for the group that's back and those that have been here for longer. They know that it's a rough road, and I keep hearing about how it's physical and people beat up on you, and it takes a toll on your body. Relying on them to tell us how they're feeling, because I think, ideally, you want everyone in the games as much as possible so you have options as a coach. Trying to make sure that the wear and tear on their bodies is where we need to be heading into the conference. What you're hitting on reminds me of something that Nick Saban said once upon a time that when he was coaching at Michigan State 20 years ago, even at LSU after that, it was, I'm the coach, and the relationship between players was, I do this, you don't ask why, and that's just kind of what the dynamic is. He says the biggest difference between that and what he's dealt with at BAM of the last 10 years now is players, part of the coaching job is explaining to them why something is, and there's more of a cooperative, collaborative relationship that exists between college coach and college player now, and certainly that's existed in pro sports for a long time now. You've been in coaching for a while. Have you seen a similar progression in the relationship between player and coach? I have to say, I love what you just said. You said it better than I could actually say it.

Yes, I've seen that. I feel even more so at this level that how these athletes prepare themselves and how they treat their bodies and how they go about treating themselves like professional athletes, even though they're not, you got to give them that grace of, all right, well, let me hear your side of it. That doesn't always mean that the athlete is right, but at the same time, I'm way more willing to listen to them as to how they feel and what works for them, because ideally you want to set them up for success. If your warmups are way too long or practices are three and a half hours, that's hard on anyone.

It doesn't matter what level you're at. I'm way more willing to listen and have that collaborative approach. I actually really enjoyed it. You get to see results because they work harder for you. They know they have a voice. Technically, it's their program. Yeah, I mean, I understand that it's my, I'm the figurehead.

I'm the person that has to make the decisions, but at the same time, if they take ownership of the program and how they want things run and how they want things done, then I think we're going to have a lot more positive experiences moving forward. It's Wake women's basketball coach, Megan Jevia, that's with us here on WSJS. Her team opens up Monday against Elon at five o'clock. The men's team plays Fairfield after that should be a great night at the drill.

If you can't make it out there, maybe give our guy Darren Vaught a watch on Monday. One thing you and Steve Forbes have in common that's a bit unique is that you both were hired in the month of May. I don't see a lot of that when coaching jobs come up and things happen and you're having to transition. What was the most bizarre part about your off season and transitioning given that you took the job a lot later than most coaches normally do? Yeah, it's always hard to take a job late for sure. I don't know if there's a bizarre experience, but I think it was just how fast things happened through the interview process when we started to interview till the time that was offered maybe a week and a half.

The AD John Curry told me it was going to happen fast, whoever he chose. I believe him, but then when you're actually going through it and having to basically move your life in a very short span of time because the players are here for summer school, so you don't want to waste time not working out with them. You want to get them in the gym as fast as possible was really hard. I just think the recruiting aspect is probably the hardest thing about starting late because you're getting in late with players who maybe other schools have gotten in earlier with them and have built relationships. That's probably the hardest part coming in this late. I'm really thankful though for the summer months I had with them because that was really our time to get to know them as people and not as basketball players as much. I think that was helpful. I'm glad my job at American I took in August.

So this is actually early for me. So yeah, I was easier than that. I can tell you that. Always looking at the bright side, at least you also in Steve's case, he couldn't even be around his players during COVID and figuring that out.

So yeah, always looking at the glass half full. Megan Jebbia is with us here. New Wake women's basketball coach.

You mentioned American. You've coached it two places essentially the last 20 years, Marist and American. Now that you're the head coach here at Wake Forest at a new place, do you get the butterflies when you start to think about the first game at a job on Monday? Sure.

I think I do. I really don't allow myself to get there though until the day of the game. I feel very focused on preparing the team.

So on my mind's more or less there right now, I would say, but I'm sure on game day, I'm going to be like kid in a candy store. Really excited. Just, I'm sure as the players will be that it's finally game day. We've been going at it all summer, right?

And all preseason. So now it's time to kind of showcase what we've been able to put together over the last four or five months. I know they're excited about it. I'm kind of excited just to see the community come out and support us. I'm excited for different players to get minutes and see how they use them and utilize our system and everything and how that looks.

I'm sure it's not going to look how I want it to look, but I mean, you got to start somewhere and being able to reevaluate at the end of the game, how we did, what needs to change. That's the fun. I mean, the game part is great. And I, I'm a big part.

I'm a big believer. And when we get the game time, I'm pretty much obsolete at that point to a degree, right? They should have learned what they need to learn over the last couple of days. And it's, it's kind of like, all right, it's now time to perform and us, you know, saying things here and there to them to kind of get them moving in the right direction. Coach Jebbia, we'll be visiting throughout the season. I'm sure Monday, five o'clock it's Elon going to wake forest first game of a double header. And it's the first game of a new era of wake forest women's hoops. Coach Jebbia, thanks for making the time for us today. Thank you so much.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 05:15:51 / 2022-11-07 05:18:13 / 2

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