- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Kim Barnes Arico appeared for the first time in front of the media as the ninth women’s basketball coach in Michigan history on Monday afternoon.
In the Jack Roth Stadium Club overlooking Michigan Stadium, she imitated another coach's famous introductory speech.
When asked about why she left St. John's now for the Wolverines' head coaching job, she quoted Michigan football coach Brady Hoke.
"Well, I don't want to steal from somebody else," Barnes Arico said. "But it's the University of Michigan, fergodsakes."
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said Barnes Arico was in the discussion for the job from day one of the search, which was led by Lisa Savoury, sports administrator for women’s basketball at Michigan.
Both Brandon and Savoury were impressed with Barnes Arico's success in the Big East. She led the Red Storm to four NCAA Tournaments in the last decade and most recently, advanced St. John's to the Sweet 16 before falling to Duke.
"We were so impressed with Kim before she came to campus," Brandon said. "We spent an inordinate amount of time checking her out and looking at her results and her ability to win, to compete at the highest level, to recruit terrific student athletes and to bring her experience and track record to our program."
Brandon said he will give Barnes Arico -- as he does every coach at Michigan -- full power in choosing her staff.
"My philosophy is: leaders get to pick their teams," Brandon said. "The last thing I want is someone to feel like they're working with someone on their staff who’s not their choice."
Barnes Arico has not yet announced any of her staff, though she said she's currently speaking with a number of candidates. She hopes to have someone from around the area, or possibly, someone currently at Michigan, to be on her staff.
However, Brandon did mention that he believes several of former coach Kevin Borseth's assistants are looking into other options.
Brandon would not discuss Barnes Arico's contract, as they haven’t made a contract yet, only a terms sheet. Brandon specified that it is a multiple-year commitment on behalf of both Michigan and Barnes Arico.
The women's basketball program is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, though it had an early exit after a first-round loss to Oklahoma. The team returns 11 players, including a solid trio of juniors in Rachel Scheffer, Jenny Ryan and Kate Thompson, but loses senior leaders Carmen Reynolds and Courtney Boylan.
Even with that significant loss, Barnes Arico remains positive that she will be able to build a winning tradition at Michigan.
"I think there’s something special about Michigan,” Barnes Arico said. "I think there's something special, I don't want to say about me, but I've just been able to accomplish things in the past that probably people before me thought could never be done. I’m confident enough that what you have here and the people you have here and the resources and university you have here, along with me, can [win]."
6dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
7dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy