Marsha Sharp

The 52-year-old Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer on knowing how to win, the best player she ever coached at Texas Tech (guess who?), and why rabid fans are a recruiter’s secret weapon.

Evan Smith: You’ve racked up more than 540 wins at Texas Tech over 23 years, and the only consistent element in that time has been you. The key to success in college basketball must be the coach.

Marsh Sharp: Recruiting is the single most important thing you do from the standpoint of trying to win games. You have to have a plan, and our plan was to put as many West Texas players in the program as we felt could help us.

ES: Why does that matter? Ability and geography don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

MS: In West Texas, people have been attracted to the chance to watch West Texas kids play. Our fans will go out and watch kids in high school gyms all over West Texas whether they are from that community or not, or whether they know those kids or not, because they want to see the players they think are going to be the next Lady Raiders. On some Saturday afternoons, caravans of cars come from the Amarillo area to see the players we’ve recruited.

ES: Somebody who doesn’t know much about basketball might think that if you have one hundred fans or one thousand fans, you’re still going to be as good as you are.

MS: When you’re trying to recruit great players, one of the things in women’s basketball that can separate you from other teams is a great crowd. We’re able to put close to 13,000 people

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