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Thread: Is Coach Lisa Fortier the best coach in the WCC?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Default Is Coach Lisa Fortier the best coach in the WCC?

    Here is a topic for some off-season "Zag" discussion.

    Is Coach Lisa Fortier (CLF) the best coach in the WCC?

    CLF has won four (4) coach of the year awards, as selected by the other head coaches in the WCC, in her five (5) years as the head coach of the Lady Zags . So by this measure, the answer is obviously yes.

    However, since this award is traditionally (although not always) given to the head coach of the best team in the WCC, if your the head coach of the best "team" as predicted at the start of the year (by a poll of the coaches) and/or the head coach of the team that has the best player (overall) in the WCC or most all-conference player(s) as predicted at the start of the season (by a poll of the coaches), is really simply coaching the best team (and/or players) to their predicted order of finish, an adequate measure of worthiness to be "Coach of the Year?"

    For example, If GU was predicted to win the conference and have 3 players on the all-conference team(s), is CLF more worthy to be "Coach of the Year" by leading her team to the league championship (doing what was expected of her) than the head coach of a team predicted to finish 9th or 10th at the start of the season when they actually finish 3rd or 4th?

    Is the "Coach of the Year" award a real measurement of the "best" coach in the conference?

    Personally, I think the "Coach of the Year" award is a poor measurement tool for "best" coach of the conference.

    Gonzaga has some inherent advantages over the other WCC teams, some advantages that have been hard earned and others not so much. GU flies charter, I think almost, if not everybody else, flies commercial. GU has by far the most and best fans of Wbb in the conference (home court advantage). They average more fans per home game then the rest of the league combined. GU has some of, if not the best, BB facilities in the WCC. All of these advantages do help in recruiting and maintaining your basketball staff and players.

    I think that CLF and her staff are one of, if not the best , at pre-game prep. Rarely does GU come out un-prepared. They may come out flat, but typically the pre-game, game plan is fairly solid. I think that CLF and staff are one of the best in the WCC in recruiting. While GU may not have the best single player in the game, it is rare that GU does not have the best starting 5 or the best top-7 players of any WCC game. My biggest complaints with CLF and her staff are the lack of or speed of making in-game/half time adjustments. I think that Paul Thomas (St. Mary's) and Jeff Judkins (BYU), more often than not, out-coach CLF and her staff during the game and/or at halftime.

    To be fair, CLF has all of 5 years head coaching experience compared to Paul Thomas who has 26 years overall of head coaching experience with 13 years at St. Mary's. Coach Thomas also has won two (2) D-2 National Championships and reached four (4) sweet 16s as the head coach of Cal Poly Pomona. Jeff Judkins has 17 years experience as he WBB head coach at BYU, one year at BYU Wbb as an assistant coach and 10 years experience as a Mbb Assistant coach at the University of Utah. Being occasionally outcoached by either of these coaches is nothing to be ashamed of.

    I personally think CLF is a head coach on the rise and as she gathers the bumps and bruises of experience down the road, will reduce the number of times she is out-coached by other coaches in the league. IMO, she is one of, if not the best, overall coach in the WCC.

    What say you?

    Kemo & CG3Dad want to make a pitch for your head coach as the best in the WCC?

    Last edited by ZagDad84; 05-24-2019 at 10:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    I think that CLF has similar qualities with our former coach that shine........they know how to run a program.....recruiting/ promotion/money flow.....CLF additionally seems to know how to keep her players happy and loyal and in turn, is loyal to her players....CLF presents an upbeat presence and she recruits likable players with good academics and easy to follow the Lady Zags.....CLF is an excellent representative for Gonzaga.

    but I consider neither our former coach, kg, nor CLF "great" game coaches.....

    I will say this about Judkins.....who just gives me a creepy feeling overall.....but he knows how to get the best out of his players......he knows how to play to his teams strength which is something that CLF has not always done... Judkins doesn't mind having a star and infact, I think its his practice to make stars, or big scorers.......Jill B put up pretty good numbers but that is probably due mostly to JB's scorers' mentality........

    I for once would like CLF to run full tilt with her team's strengths rather than trying to play a game of strategy with the other doesn't often work,IMO.

    so best coach of the WCC?.....she's up there.....she 's better than many NCAA Div 1 coaches....I know she studies the game......she just needs to seal the deal more often...(oregon state was soooo winnable).

    so YES we are lucky to have her, no question..I was happy she got to be head coach.....but like M Few, there is always a learning curve....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016


    Well ZD, I think your discussion above laid out the current state of affairs on "Coach of the Year". I have to agree with your conclusion, as you stated it. As far as Coach Davis @ the UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC, he will be starting his 5th year as Pacific's head coach. He definitely has the smarts to be one of the best. He has collected a very good staff. (One Coach a former member of CLF's staff and ZAG player) This will be his most athletic team and deepest bench wise. Has Promise, we'll see how they fare in the up-coming season.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2017



    I'd have to go with CLF. She doesn't make very many mistakes at all - she's very consistent. Even with the extremely unfortunate and devastating season end injuries - no one can ever take away what your coach, and more importantly, what your ladies accomplished this past season. Congrats again!

    Other coaches - I like Pepperdine's coach! She did a tremendous job with her squad and I don't think anyone expected Pep to do as good as they did.
    I watched her call plays from the sidelines, absolutely exquisite command of the game play. Brilliant substitutions.

    I also was extremely impressed obviously by Judkins. What a strategist! He's a GAME coach.

    As far as Coach Elliot - she impressed me this year with her improved consistency and I like the fact that she kept the pace up for our Lions, because we like to RUN.
    I think our speed shocked UCLA and caught them off guard.

    Coach also had to overcome a ton of adversity with our injuries. Gabby, our star player out for most of the year and then Chels - first with the concussion (which was very scary!)
    and then her shoulder, knee and ankle. I'm pretty happy with what we accomplished this year given what we had to overcome.

    There's a TON of parity in the WCC now. But I'm pulling for nothing less than a top three finish for us next season and at least a WNIT appearance but maybe even NCAA??!!

    We've got a highly ranked (WCC) recruiting class (ASGR) coming in

    with Ciera Ellington, OR 6'-0"PG, 6'-4" Romanian center Laura Vaida and sharp shooter Aspyn Adams, WA
    which we're pretty excited about! Redshirt PG Naomi (Yim) is all healed up from her shoulder surgery and ready to show what she can do.

    Looking forward to another exciting season in the WCC!

    Best wishes


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014


    Thanks Kemo and Keith.

    Your outside observations and willingness to post your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.


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