Is It Tonya’s Time to Shine?

By Richard Kent
Updated: June 2, 2008

CONNECTICUT — Dawn Staley has left Temple to become the head coach at South Carolina. She is said to be supporting someone to become the head coach of the Owls. So are a lot of others including UConn’s Geno Auriemma.

The name of one of the leading candidates is Tonya Cardoza and she has been an assistant at UConn for 14 years. Talk about loyalty, she’s also a former teammate of Staley at Virginia.

Temple is a good job because Staley made it a good job. She has taken Temple to the NCAA’s and her team was a always a power in the Atlantic 10. They are expected to compete with Xavier next year for an NCAA bid.

Cardoza has been very careful over the years in pursuing job opportunities. She has turned down may opportunities to interview. This one clearly intrigues her. She has acknowledged that.

Cardoza has been in charge of the guards at UConn. She helped make Sue Bird an All-American and has clearly had an impact on many others. Her low key style is very deceiving.

She is very competitive and knows how to win. UConn has a record of 429-39 since she arrived and has won five National Championships.

Temple apparently recognizes the importance of women’s basketball and has become a decent paying job on a national level. Many are surprised that Staley left to take over at South Carolina from Sue Walvius.

They thought that she was waiting for Virginia to open up, but she still may be since they are not in the same conference. Those close to the Temple search say that it is down to Cardoza and one other person.

Virginia could not make a better choice than Cardoza. Just ask Auriemma and the rest of the UConn staff. She will be a winner there just like Staley was. Few doubt that.