This season the athletic department welcomed a familiar face back to the women’s basketball program. Tammy Metcalf-Filzen, who was head coach of the women’s basketball team at Carleton from 1997 to 2010, returned as head coach after serving as interim head coach in 2018-19 and is leading the knights through a successful start to their season. This transition in leadership comes after previous head coach, Cassie Kosiba resigned in 2018.
Coach Metcalf-Filzen brings a new coaching style with her return to Carleton. Taking into account the team’s “personnel and the skills they have,” Metcalf-Filzen carefully tailors her coaching method tofit her players and set them up for success on the court. For this year’s team, Metcalf-Filzen has described her coaching style as “disciplined,” and one that “forces [the team] to play in the half-court.”
Working to put “foundational pieces in first,” Metcalf-Filzen’s team is “built on defense and rebounding.” Metcalf-Filzen also values letting the team play organically, fostering game awareness and flexibility on the court. Both she and guard Anna Hughes ’21 have described this as “the system,” and it has been working incredibly well.
Hughes has noticed “performance differences on not only the individual level, but also the team level,” since the arrival of coach Metcalf-Filzen. Having a “strong system to resort back to is a huge boost to [the team’s] performance,” as playing as a unit was a struggle for the team in previous years. The system described by Hughes is so effective because the players “all know what [they] can expect from not only from Tammy, but from each other as well.”
The transition to a new head coach was hard at first, according to Hughes. However, being a “small, tight-knit team,” of 10 players helped ease the transition, and Metcalf-Filzen took time in July before the start of the season to “call [each player] and talk a little about how [they] felt about the transition and what [they] could expect from her as a coach.”
This proved effective in easing any restless minds about the change, and both “brought [the team] closer together,” and “greatly benefitted the program.” Guard Bailey Harmon ’23 said that Tammy’s leadership harbored a “culture of supporting each other and staying together.”
Carleton can attribute its most wins in the program’s history to Metcalf-Filzen between 2000 and 2009. Under her coaching, Carleton was ranked in the nation’s top twenty and even with these impressive accomplishments, Metcalf-Filzen feels that she is now an “even better teacher of the game,” after spending the last few years coaching high school basketball. While coaching at a different level, Metcalf-Filzen further learned how to “[break] teaching concepts down into smaller bites, and [find] new and creative ways to teach the game.” The team is showing promise for a successful season with already more wins (with a 5-8 record) on the board than last season. Their next game is at home on January 18th at 3 pm against St. Catherine University.