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    SEC Women's Coaches Weigh In On Aggies

    By: Sean Cartell
    SEC Digital Network

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference women’s basketball head coaches are in Birmingham on Wednesday for their annual fall meeting. This morning, the SEC Digital Network was able to catch up with a few of the coaches to get their reactions to the addition of Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member.

    Read about what four of the SEC’s women’s basketball coaches had to say:

    Tom Collen, Arkansas Head Coach
    “I think it’s exciting. It’s exciting for me personally because I worked for Coach [Gary] Blair for four years at the University of Arkansas and when he left there, he’s obviously built a powerhouse at Texas A&M. It’s one of the top programs in the country now and the defending national champions. As far as women’s basketball goes, no doubt it’s a move towards strengthening our conference. I think overall for the conference it is good. Texas A&M is a great academic institution. I think it fits what we’re trying to do in the conference and it increases, I think, our recruiting base. I think everybody has gone into Texas a little bit, but now that it’s SEC territory, I think everybody is going to be in there.”

    Sharon Fanning-Otis, Mississippi State Head Coach
    “We play them this year and next year. They’re already on the schedule, so I guess that gives us a little bit of a head start. We’re excited for our league. Commissioner [Mike] Slive knows the direction and he has a great supporting cast around him, so I know that they’re going to make the best decisions that benefit all of us in this league. We’re excited about that addition.”

    Nikki Caldwell, LSU Head Coach
    “You look at the strength of the SEC and it traditionally has been one of the strongest conferences in the history of the game. That’s something that you can never argue. Obviously with what Tennessee and Coach [Pat] Summitt have been able to do not only for her institution but also for the women’s game, there have been so many fabulous players that have been through this conference and there have been great coaches that have coached here and are still here. When you add Coach [Gary] Blair, who originally was in the SEC, I know that he is thrilled to be back in this powerful conference where there is going to be great competition every day you step on the floor. Against any opponent on any given day, that game can go down the wire. With the addition of A&M, it’s going to not only enhance, but solidify what I truly believe is the best conference in the country.”

    Amanda Butler, Florida Head Coach
    “You add a national champion to your league, I think that’s awesome. I think we’re all excited about it. I haven’t had a chance to visit – with it being such new news – with our other coaches, but I know that everyone will feel the same. We know it makes what is already the most competitive league even more competitive. I think that’s also why we’re all in this league: We want to compete with the best and we want to win an SEC Championship which really positions you to be the best in the country and I think Texas A&M just makes the league that much stronger.”