The first-floor media room was filled to capacity on Wednesday morning at the Athletics-Recreation Center as the campus community showed up in mass to welcome the newest member of the Valparaiso University family.
It was the warmest of welcomes for Valpo’s eighth head women’s basketball coach as attendees opened their collective arms to show Mary Evans what the Valpo experience is all about.
But the 15-year Division I veteran already knew about the Valpo experience before she stepped foot in the room for Wednesday’s welcome. After all, that’s why she chose Valpo and that’s why Valpo chose her. Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said as much when he shared a powerful story leading into his official introduction of Evans.
“In our conversations during the interview process, I asked Coach Evans what she was most proud of as a coach,” LaBarbera said. “She told a story of two young women who were considered academically at-risk as freshmen. During their four years of college, she invested time with them on and off the court. They both graduated with 3.0+ GPAs. Those are the types of experiences and values that we look for in all of our staff in the athletics department.”
Evans talked a great deal about her family – including her husband, her two young children and her parents. That topic is a fitting one within this program, this department and this University.
“I want to make a promise to my new team that I will always work hard for them,” Evans said. “When I left campus on the drive to the airport after the interview process, I knew that Valparaiso is a special place. I’m excited to become part of the Valparaiso experience, and my family and I are looking forward to not only joining, but giving back to this community for many years.”