The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Head Coach Rhonda Rompola prepares for 24th season as a Mustang

(Courtesy of SMU Athletics)

(Courtesy of SMU Athletics)

By Andrew Hattersley

Longevity on a coaching staff is something that is rarely achieved in this day and age of sports.

Coach Rhonda Rompola has gone against this trend, as she has been the coach of SMU longer than any player on her players have been alive. Despite being associated with the SMU program for 31 years and head coach for 24, the passion Coach Rompola has for her kids is unwavering.

“I love it, they’re the reason I’ve been here so long. I just love coaching the girls and we have a good time,” said Rompola.

During her time at SMU, Rompola has seen a lot of change for the better take place at SMU.

“There is that level of commitment now especially when you look at the new Moody because that place was rocking last year, when we both opened up that night just seeing how the game day itself has changed, the video, what they do. It’s unbelievable,” said Rompola.

Over the past couple of years, Coach Rompola is not the only person to notice a lot of change. There are only a few players that have been around Rompola for a couple of years, but they have noticed a different coach than when they first came to the Hilltop.

“Over the past couple of years, she’s definitely been more involved in team dinners. [She’s been] more personable not only in what’s going on in our everyday lives but we had a barbeque at her house this year. She’s just become a lot more family oriented over the last couple of years,” said Raven Short.

Another upperclassmen on the team, Destynee Hives-McCray has also seen a shift in her coach’s approach to the team.

“She’s definitely way more patient. She tries to put in offenses that she thinks can apply to specific roles and specific players,” said Hives-McCray. ”She wants everything to work for everyone so she is definitely watching more for what players can excel at.”

Given how long Coach Rompola has been at SMU, players admitted when their coach has something to say, they tune in a little more closely.

“I’d say I have a lot of respect for her because she does have so much experience in the game so it does make me listen a little more. It’s always funny to think she’s been here since before I was born,” said Hives-McCray.

As this team gets ready to begin another season under Rompola, change is certainly a big story this year as five players on the Mustangs roster are first-years.

“You know it’s interesting. This has been an interesting start so far because half of our team is freshman. So you’re having to reinvent your patience all over again and you really have to do so much teaching and educating, but it’s refreshing,” said Rompola. “It’s been a long time since we had so many freshman.”

SMU begins their season Friday at 6 p.m. when they host Northern Colorado in Moody Coliseum.

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