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Originally published March 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 12, 2007 at 9:01 PM

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Marciniak aims to be UW women's basketball coach

Michelle Marciniak is 33, has been in coaching for four years, and has never been a head coach at any level. All of which would seem to...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Michelle Marciniak is 33, has been in coaching for four years, and has never been a head coach at any level.

All of which would seem to make her a longshot to become the next women's basketball coach at Washington.

But should she have a chance to speak with UW athletic director Todd Turner at the Final Four this weekend in Cleveland, Marciniak — who just completed her fourth year as an assistant at South Carolina — is prepared to go after the job with the same fervor she displayed as a popular member of the Storm from 2000 to 2002.

"It would be a dream job of mine," said Marciniak, who earned her place in Storm lore with scrappy play typified by the time she got in a tussle with Latasha Byears of the Los Angeles Sparks — who outweighed her by 50 pounds — during a nationally televised game in 2002.

"I was feisty as a player," Marciniak said. "And I'm the same way now."

During her seasons with the Storm, Marciniak said she fell in love with Seattle and became enamored with the potential of UW women's basketball.

"There's just an excitement in Seattle that I love," said Marciniak, who was a standout player at Tennessee. "And I would love to bring that excitement to the UW program. I have a lot of energy and passion for the game of basketball, and I know that the city is just waiting to put its arms around Husky women's basketball again."

Marciniak said she has sent in an application for the job, adding she long ago told South Carolina coach Susan Walvius that Washington is one of the schools that most interests her.

Marciniak, however, said she has yet to hear from Turner or anyone at UW, and it's thought the Huskies might be looking for someone with more experience to take over for June Daugherty, whose contract was not renewed earlier this month after 11 years.

Turner and Marie Tuite, UW senior associate athletic director, will be in Cleveland for the women's Final Four and are expected to interview candidates.

One Web site devoted to women's basketball referred Thursday to Florida State coach Sue Semrau as "truly a front-runner for this job" and her name has previously been bandied about as a potential candidate.

Semrau, who has been the coach at Florida State for 10 years, graduated from Shorecrest High and played two years at Seattle Pacific and has been rumored to be interested in returning home to coach at UW. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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Others mentioned as candidates include Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph, Bowling Green's Curt Miller, Duke assistant Tia Jackson and Julie Plank, an assistant with the WNBA's Indiana Fever who was an assistant at Vanderbilt during Turner's time as AD there.

Another possibility is Shimmy Gray-Miller, now the coach at Saint Louis and an assistant at UW for three seasons.

One rumored candidate, Temple coach Dawn Staley, took herself off the market Thursday when she agreed to a six-year extension.

Turner spent much of the past week meeting with an advisory committee as well as a group of former players. One topic of some of the alumni is the fact that no former player was ever a full-time assistant under Daugherty or predecessor Chris Gobrecht.

Several alumni have reportedly expressed interest in returning to Washington as an assistant under the new coach, including Laure Savasta — who is playing and coaching in France — and Karen Deden Westwater, who has been coaching high-school ball in Montana.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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