During her introductory press conference Monday, women’s basketball coach Andrea Gorski had an early apology to make.
Not for anything basketball related, but for her former teammates instead.
“I’m just apologizing for them now,” Gorski said. “We’re creating an unofficial alumni group that they’re going to be in charge of … I really want to connect the past with the present.”
Gorski talked about some of her old Bradley teammates, saying they were ready to come back and support their old teammate as Bradley’s next coach.
One of those teammates, Sonya Beeler, who is now the head coach of Division III Cincinnati State, said she was just glad Bradley women’s basketball has an alum at the helm.
“Andrea’s coaching success speaks for itself, on all levels. She’s been very successful at every level she’s ever coached,” Beeler said. “Everybody knew that you could depend on Andrea, and she was there for her teammates and her friends.”
Beeler, who was a fellow senior with Gorski in 1992 and scored 131 points in her Bradley career, raved about Gorski’s hiring and what she’ll bring to Bradley as a coach.
“I think the most important thing that she’ll bring to Bradley is the passion she has for Bradley,” Beeler said. “It’s going to be more personal to her because she’s been through it. She graduated from Bradley.”
Bradley junior forward Leti Lerma said, based on their first meeting, Gorski won’t have any mixed feelings about returning to Peoria from Carbondale, where Gorski left behind a winning program.
“When you graduate, the one thing you always hear is ‘you’re always a Bradley Brave,’” Lerma said. “She may have been in maroon last year, [but] deep down she’s always worn the Bradley red.”
She also said it was evident in her first meeting with the next coach that Gorski has an overhaul in store for the team.
“Change isn’t always a bad thing,” Lerma said. “I really think she’d going to take us in a new direction and overall help make the program more successful.”
According to Lerma, Gorski “wants to play exciting basketball.”
“That’s fast paced, getting down the court,” she said. “That’s what you see the special teams doing, and I think that’s kind of what her mindset is.”
An overhaul may certainly be needed, considering the Braves win-loss record over the past few season. Beeler said Gorski’s work ethic will help speed up the process of change.
“Her work ethic was just outstanding,” Beeler said. “Maybe I could have been a little bit better player if I had her work ethic.”
Lerma said a jolt to the system may be just what the Braves need.
“I think we’ve been kind of stagnant for the past few years as far as winning,” Lerma said. “I think a change isn’t going to hurt anything, but I think the most important thing is for us to win.”