Denise Schilte-Brown is entering her first season as the women’s soccer coach. Previously, Schilte-Brown coached at Virginia Commonwealth and led them to the NCAA Women’s College Cup in 2004 and 2005.
Schilite-Brown is the second women’s soccer coach in USF’s 11-year history, replacing Logan Fleck. The Bulls finished last season with an overall record of 6-10-1 and 3-7-1 in Big East play. USF has failed to qualify for the Big East Tournament both seasons since moving to the conference.
Athletic Director Doug Woolard brought in Schilite-Brown in hopes to turn around the program. In her first interview with the Oracle since being hired, the coach opens up about everything from motherhood to her favorite movies.
Oracle: What kind of changes are you going to make in the women’s soccer program?
Coach Schilite-Brown: Hopefully all positive ones. I think that there is a lot of growth to be done in the program and hope to strive for excellence with the girls and set the bar really high. We’re kind of in the bottom of the Big East right now, so we need to work harder than everybody else. That’s going to be our goal - have higher standards for ourselves and be the fittest, hardest working team on the field for every game and try to improve ourselves each game, taking one game at a time.
O: How have your experiences as a player made you a better coach?
S.B.: I just think the opportunity – being a player to work with the different coaches, you know, in my youth and then in college and after college – has prepared me to pick and choose what I like in each coach and what I didn’t like and use those styles within my personality to be the coach that I am today.
O: What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?
S.B.: I’m most excited about the progress we made in the spring. We have a bunch of hard-working girls here with good attitudes and a good outlook on what the future will bring. They took to the change very well. I think they’re excited about the upcoming season. It’s not often to walk on to a team with good leadership, and I believe there are some good existing leaders on this team that we can move forward with.
O: What do you look for in a player? S.B. What everybody looks for. You know, the all-around best student-athlete you can find – someone who is great in the classroom, great on the field and has that positive personality that everyone likes to work with and work for. O: You recently became a mother. How has that changed your coaching? S.B: That’s probably had the greatest impact, obviously, on my whole life and on my coaching style. It’s brought a lot of balance to me as a person and a coach. You realize that there’s more to life than just your team. It allows your team to have the space that they need to grow and make their own decisions. I guess I’ve become less of a micromanager due to a lack of time.
O: Who will make the most challenging opponent in the Big East? S.B.: I’m not really sure. I’ve never competed in the Big East before. I think each team will bring a different challenge to us mentally and physically. Like I said, you can only prepare for one game at a time, so I really haven’t looked at the schedule that way. I think it’s getting ahead of yourself to do that. Again, I want to keep the focus on us. Can we get better and how can we improve and not worry about who we’re playing. O: If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
S.B.: Well, I’m a Christian, so it would probably have to be Jesus.
O: What is your favorite book? S.B.: That’s not an easy question. The book that’s had the most impact on me as a person would be Celestine Prophecy.
O: What is your favorite movie? S.B.: Rocky I, II, III and IV, but not V and VI.