Head Coach Allison Guth, in addition to leading the Loyola women’s basketball team on the court, is responsible for ensuring the future success of the program through recruitment.
‘The Lifeline To Your Program’: Head Coach Allison Guth On Navigating Through Recruitment
Head Coach Allison Guth, who is in her first year at the helm of Loyola Women’s Basketball, is continuing to navigate the transition from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Atlantic 10 (A-10). She’s not only looking for current, on-court results, but ahead to the program’s possible future success through recruitment.
Recruiting is possibly the most important factor in the building of a team and a subsequent winning culture, according to Guth.
“Recruiting is the lifeline to your program,” Guth said. “I think there’s three things required for building a successful championship culture, and I think that’s hiring the right staff, a morale-boosting type of schedule and recruiting. When I say it’s the lifeline to your program, it absolutely is.”
For Guth, the recruitment process began after being hired April 8. Immediately after assembling her coaching staff in July, the recruiting began with the simple evaluation of potential players at non-scholastic basketball tournaments. By the time July rolled around, Guth and her team were prioritizing evaluating on the road, but were unable to have face-to-face communication.
After securing recruits from the class of 2022, Guth confirmed recruiting for this year’s graduating class is well underway. She also mentioned the construction of the team’s recruiting database, which currently consists of recruits from the classes of ‘24, ‘25 and ‘26.
Guth made a note of her role consisting of both engaging with recruits and serving as a school representative.
“When we’re talking, we’re building relationships,” Guth said. “We’re engaging in relationships where we’re trying to understand who these young women are, who their families are, what they’re looking for out of their collegiate experience.”
In addition to ensuring the staff sticks to the official NCAA recruitment schedule, the transition to the A-10 has also provided the Ramblers with the obstacle to start evaluating certain talent that can acclimate to the new conference and the physicality required.
Guth said when recruiting, she’s looking for “strength up the middle” — in the head, heart and guts. She said this means players should value their academics, develop their basketball IQ and consistently contribute on the court and in the community.
Guth runs what she calls a positionless offense but said the main recruiting priority is to make the team more creative and distributional, as well as additions to the post.
Guth said the team needs good skill sets that consist of great passing and footwork, as well as a slasher that can create opportunities for themselves and others. She also mentioned that the current post game is lacking, which she attributed to the current injury report, stressing the need for more size and physicality.
With recruiting focused on future classes, the previously mentioned additions to the squad, composed of first-year guards Kira Chivers, Mallory Ramage and Whitney Dunn, represent the efforts the new coaching staff has taken in recruitment.
Chivers, who committed in early June, spoke to how open and welcoming the culture was in her first experience with Guth and the rest of the team, as well as Loyola itself.
“When I first walked in to watch them practice, I walked in, and Coach Guth came up and she’s like, ‘I’m a hugger,’” Chivers said. “That was kind of the start of everything. It really felt like home and the family atmosphere, and I felt really cared about.”
Although initially in contact with former head coach Kate Atcher, Ramage echoed similar thoughts about how appealing the community factor of the university was.
“Loyola has always been my top option,” Ramage said. “The facilities, the area — everything’s just really amazing. The coaching staff here and just the community is really great. That’s what made me make my choice.”
Guth said she was proud of the young team they’ve been gifted with, but is looking forward to developing the roster.
“We just know this league hit us,” Guth said. “We knew it would with the competition and different style of play. We’re going to have to find that talent to respond to it.”
The Loyola women’s basketball team will take on George Mason University in Gentile Arena on Feb. 15. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.
Featured image courtesy of Steve Woltmann of Loyola Athletics