May 28, 2014
WASHINGTON - In the days leading up to Natasha Adair becoming the ninth women's basketball coach in Georgetown history it would have been quite understandable if her nerves somehow found a way to complicate things a bit on her end.
But for Adair that wasn't really an issue.
After becoming the first coach in College of Charleston history to lead the Cougars to back-to-back postseason berths, Adair was able to remain calm while her family waited for the final word with great anticipation and interest.
Did they call?
What did they say?
"I told everybody to take a chill pill," Adair remembered with a laugh and a big smile.
Of course none of the buildup should have been a surprise for Adair, a Washington D.C., area native, who met her husband Aaron while in high school. Every decision for Adair is a family decision and now that she has returned to Georgetown - the school where she began her career as an assistant - her family just got a lot bigger.
"Seventeen years previously, I started here at Georgetown University and to be able to come back and now be the head women's basketball coach, it's a dream come true," Adair said.
Of course one must rewind even further back get the full story on Adair's basketball life.
The youngest of three, Adair was always encouraged by her parents to dream big and take risks while never being afraid of challenges. After a brief high school track career, her coach at Albert Einstein decided that her abilities would be best served on the hardwood courts.
So with a switch to basketball Adair needed to get up to speed in a new sport. Her dad immediately came up with a plan of action that could have been seen as a bit unorthodox but it ended up working like a charm. He brought her to the outdoor courts to play with the rest of the guys in an effort to toughen her up.
"It was fun playing with guys," Adair remembered.
"It was challenging playing with guys and I knew it was never going to get too out of control because my dad was there. I got knocked down and he said get back up and I got knocked down again and he said get back up."
That toughness that her dad was trying to build up was easily noticeable on the court throughout her career as Adair went on to become a high school All-American before eventually becoming one of the best rebounders at the collegiate level at South Florida.
During Adair's six years as an assistant at the Hilltop from 1998 to 2004, she built the foundation for her coaching career. She helped mold future WNBA all-star Rebekkah Brunson and was able to get advice from Hall of Famer John Thompson Jr. But perhaps more importantly she got firsthand experience in managing both academic and athletic excellence.
"John Thompson just set a precedent athletically for Georgetown basketball and what that stood for and there was that pride, that integrity and then the academics that the university stands for," Adair said of her time as an assistant with the Hoyas.
Even though it was early in her career, she kept the idea of one day being in charge in the back of her mind.
"As an assistant you stand at the center court on the "G" and [think] maybe one day this could be me but you're not really sure."
So after leaving Georgetown and then spending some time at Wake Forest, Adair got the head coaching experience she needed at College of Charleston that would prove to be the final piece to the puzzle before returning home.
During her initial interview with Georgetown, Adair immediately began to feel at home especially when men's basketball coach John Thompson III reached out to her and offered support. It meant a lot to Adair to actually see that the entire basketball program is actually a family.
"I sat down with JT3 and we talked and just shared ideas on what it means to be here and the one thing that I was pleased about is that he was there to support me and that was first class."
Of course when the announcement was made, Adair's actual family was front and center, just like you might expect.
"To have both my parents there, seeing their faces at the press conference and the pride in them and knowing that they will be there, they will be in the stands, again it's just a dream come true."
Adair's husband was no different.
"He's so proud. He went deep in the closest and found his blue and grey tie getting ready for the press conference. He knows the journey. He was there at the beginning and for us to journey to different places in the United States and different coaching opportunities to now find ourselves back here, he's just elated."
Now officially on the job, Adair can't wait for the fall practices to transition into her first season in charge of the Hoyas. She plans to field a very disciplined team that plays an aggressive style of basketball at a fast pace. But for her it's more than just on the court. She intends to have a team that can serve as ambassadors to the University as a whole.
"The tradition of Georgetown basketball is very competitive. It's a program that's had success, been to the NCAA's, been to the Sweet 16 and that's the direction that we want to continue. We want to get back on top nationally and locally and in the community and again the bones of the program are there."
Of course after landing the job of her dreams one of the first things she did with her new players was to sit down with them - and just like any good family member - she listened more than she talked.
"What binds us together is Georgetown university women's basketball and we are as strong as our family," Adair explained.
"That's how we are going to portray ourselves and that's how we are going to be very successful because we are going to have each other's back."
If there's one thing that Adair knows about, it's family. The future of Georgetown women's basketball is now in very good hands.
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