Shauna Green thankful for chance to elevate Flyers women’s basketball

Any doubt the University of Dayton made the right move hiring Shauna Green to coach the women’s basketball team was erased by the reaction of her team.

And her nose.

“That smell of the arena — I don’t know if any of you guys would agree with me, but there’s something about the arena,” Green said Wednesday as she described her first night back in town, “and it hit me right away when I walked in.”

In introducing Green during a press conference Wednesday at the Don Donoher Center, UD director of athletics Neil Sullivan said Green left an incredible impression on the program during her stint as a Flyers assistant from 2012-15.

That much was made clear when he and university president Eric Spina saw the way the current Flyers reacted to her return.

The two men had planned to formally introduce Green to the team in the film room, but one of the players spied her through an open door Sunday night.

“From that point on, the entire team rushed to the hallway and tackled her,” Sullivan said. “At one point she said, ‘I think you’re hurting me.’ There were hugs and tears and just a lot of emotion.

“I just think that was fitting rather than something formal. It happened organically, it happened naturally. And Eric Spina and I knew well before that she was the perfect fit, but all that did was erase any doubt anyone could have possibly had in their mind.”

So must have Green’s description of what drew her back to the Gem City after a year as an assistant at Northwestern.

“There’s nothing like walking down that tunnel and into (UD Arena) and looking around and there are thousands of people there to watch us,” she said. “I don’t know if our players start to take it for granted, but being away a year it hit me pretty hard.

“Dayton is a special place, and we have special fans and a special community. You don’t get that everywhere, so I want to thank the entire community, thank our alumni, thank everyone that’s here and involved in our program because this is a unique place. Basketball is so important, and you have my word that I’m going to work hard every day to make sure we don’t disappoint anyone.”

The Iowa native was part of 79 wins and one Elite Eight appearance during three seasons on the staff of Jim Jabir, who announced his resignation last week amid concerns about his health.

She credited him for building the program into a perennial 20-game winner during his 13 seasons and announced her intention to take the Flyers yet higher.

“I’m forever grateful for him for giving me the opportunity four years ago to come and work with him,” Green said. “His impact on me as a coach and as a leader is strong and it will continue to shine through in what I do until I stop coaching.”

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