Bill Speltz: Lady Griz interim coach embraces enormous challenge, including COVID-19 obstacles

Petrino has to hit the ground running this winter. He needs to prove he’s a winner so that athletic director Kent Haslam removes the interim tag from his job title. It makes for a whole lot of intrigue if you’re a Lady Griz fan.

“We’re not focusing on what we don’t have, we’re focusing on what’s in front of us,” he said. “Honestly the best part of our day right now is those two hours when we’re in the gym practicing. All the stress of 2020 is gone for a while. Then when practice is over, it’s out there waiting for us.”

Give Petrino credit. He jumped into the fire with both feet back in April when he landed a transfer from Missouri and he’s shown that he has a little Frank Sinatra in him, doing things his way.

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“It’s crazy,” he confided. “My mentors, they’re telling me that I cannot believe a first-year head coach, dealing with COVID, dealing with a recruiting dead period, all these issues … It’s definitely a challenge every day.”

We can talk ad nauseam about the Xs and O’s of Lady Griz hoops. Maybe lament the fact the team hasn’t placed higher than fourth in the Big Sky Conference or won the league — that’s the expectation here — in five years.

But for championships to happen, for goodness sake the team first needs to have more reliable shooters. That’s the part that frustrates the heck out of the fans: Too many “bricks,” as former play-by-play announcer Tom Stage used to say.

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