McCallie tries to make her mark on program

In May, as part of a promotion to boost ticket sales, McCallie agreed to personalize pictures fans who purchased season tickets.

"We typically haven't had season tickets out there to buy this early, so this is uncharted territory," Director of Promotions Bart Smith said. "We put together a month-long campaign to capitalize on the excitement of a new coach.

"It went beyond our expectations and that's all due to her, her excitement and what she brings to the table."

McCallie, who is currently coaching the U-21 U.S. national team in Italy, brings more to the Blue Devils than just a breadth of experience and success. In her 15 years as a collegiate head coach, she has made 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament and one title game appearance. Yet, McCallie's real strength is her passion, for the game, for her players, and most notably, for Duke.

When she speaks of the University, it's as if she's been here forever-not two months, off-and-on.

"It's been crazy and challenging and wonderful," McCallie said about her time at Duke so far. "It's sort of rare in your time. You have these things that mark your life-the birth of your children, for one, or getting married or graduating college. And to be having this opportunity to be's just amazing."

The former Michigan State coach is hoping that her enthusiasm will carry over into the community and draw more fans to Cameron. In her time with the Spartans, McCallie increased average home-game attendance from around 800 fans per contest to near 6000 by augmenting local interest in the program through camps and public appearances, she said.

When McCallie returns to Durham after finishing her obligations with USA Basketball, she will sit down with the Department of Promotions to discuss a more detailed communications plan.

"One of the things we're most excited about with her is that she's really wide open to do just about anything," Smith said. "She's willing to get out there in the community-and developing relationships with people is key to selling tickets."

It is also vital in connecting with a group of girls she has never coached before.

Despite being confined by a tight schedule in the brief time she was in Durham, McCallie always kept her office door open and scheduled individual meetings with each of her players. Several of the Blue Devils are even working in the women's basketball office this summer, getting the chance to know the new staff.

"She's just an incredible person," junior Abby Waner said. "It's very apparent that she takes the time to get to know us as people... and in the end, it will help her coach us better."

Fortunately for the Blue Devils, McCallie seems to be willing to do anything and everything to make her mark on this program.

Even if it means overcoming a hand-cramp or two along the way.


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