Archive for Friday, November 6, 1998

S BASKETBALL BENCH ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

November 6, 1998

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A Kansas University legend is considering a career change.

Lynette Woodard, the all-time leading scorer in women's college basketball and current member of the WNBA's Detroit Shock, returned to KU's bench on Wednesday as Kansas defeated Myjava Slovakia, 76-64, in the Jayhawks' exhibition opener.

Woodard, a four-time All-American for KU from 1978-81, is now the special assistant for external relations and women's basketball.

Translation: She's considering becoming a coach.

"For the first time I've been really thinking about it quite a bit," Woodard said Wednesday. "I said earlier in my career that I did not want to coach. I guess I'm sort of like the prodigal daughter -- I've done other things and then returned."

In fact, the list of other things she's done is mind-boggling. Since leaving Kansas, Woodard has played for the U.S. Olympic team twice, was the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters, played professionally in Japan and Italy, was athletics director for the Kansas City, Mo., school district and has been vice president of marketing for Magna Securities Corp. in New York.

Then there's her current stint in the WNBA.

"Personally, I would like to play for one more (year)," said Woodard, who was a WNBA elite draft selection in 1997. "It's been fun. It's always great to play."

Although Woodard was on the bench with the Jayhawks on Wednesday, she really isn't allowed to do any coaching.

"I'm like everybody else. I just have to cheer them on," she explained.

So what exactly does the special assistant for external relations and women's basketball do?

"She's doing some nice things for the players," KU coach Marian Washington said. "She's been out speaking, representing us and the university. And then she's sort of an administrative assistant for me in the office. She's just trying to get her feet wet because she thinks this is what she wants to do."

Woodard also is working on building community and alumni relations and helps with various KU and women's basketball projects and events.

"I'm learning the behind-the-scenes stuff, the real coaching," Woodard said with a smile. "I'm beginning to pick up points in the huddle, see the whole picture versus getting caught up in the little things. It's great training."

The players certainly appreciate Woodard and her experience.

"Having her around the program is great," KU junior Lynn Pride said. "Just to have her as a model, someone who's been through this and beyond. It's great to have that type of person around."

Woodard, the basketball player, seemed to have no trouble learning how to play the game as she holds KU's career marks for scoring, rebounds, field goals, free throws, steals and games played.

Woodard, the potential coach, also seems to know what she's doing.

"I thought it was an excellent game," Woodard said after Wednesday's win. "I saw some areas where we certainly would like to improve. I thought they responded well to the things that coach Washington wanted them to do."

Spoken like a true coach.

-- Robert Sinclair's phone message number is 832-7185. His e-mail address is rsinclair@ljworld.com.

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