With an easy sense of humor and gift for gab, Bobbie Kelsey charmed the sportswriters, athletic department big shots and players gathered for her debut press conference Monday in the Kohl Center media room. Having been in town just a few days, Wisconsin's new women's basketball coach immediately became the most charismatic personality in the UW's sports sphere.
It's not hard to see why athletic director Barry Alverez - whom Kelsey calls "coach" - chose her over UW-Green Bay's highly regarded Matt Bollant. Green Bay has been impressive under Bollantz, going 117-16 in four years and advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen this year. But Kelsey brings the swagger of having played and coached at Stanford, one of the nation's premier women's programs. She won a national title as a player, in 1992, and has been an assistant coach at the last four Final Fours.
"All I know is success," she said Monday.
Kelsey's apparent first priority is to get the Badgers back to the NCAA tournament, a feat the team managed just once during coach Lisa Stone's eight seasons. Women's college basketball is a haves/have-nots world where the same few teams - Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford - perennially dominate.
Kelsey made clear her high hopes for Wisconsin, saying, "This program can be great. Not just good, great. It can be on the national level. You can win national championships here."
The assembled sportswriters looked sideways at each other while the players in the room grinned.