Aug. 10, 1999
Norman, Okla. - Randy Evans, who had spent the past six years as Vanderbilt's full-time assistant women's soccer coach, was hired Jan. 12, 1999, to direct the fourth-year Oklahoma program. In his six years with the women's team at Vanderbilt, Evans, 31, helped the Commodores to an 86-43-1 (.665) overall record and an impressive 31-7 (.816) Southeastern Conference mark. Last year, Oklahoma finished 8-9 overall, the best mark in the program's brief history.
Q: What's the transition from assistant coach to head coach been like? Has it been an easy one? A: "I was fortunate that my working relationship at Vanderbilt was almost a partner situation where the head coach and I shared all the duties. So this transition hasn't been that great of one. It's been relatively easy."
Q: What was your evaluation of the team at the conclusion of spring practice? A: "I was thrilled with the progress that we had made. We were obviously starting all over as far as style of play. The team had played a very direct style and I'm used to playing a very indirect, possession type style. So there were a lot of adjustments that needed to be made. The progress we made from the first game of the spring to the last game of the spring was tremendous. We were like a different team. So the faster we can get back to where we left off in the spring, the better off we'll be in the fall."
Q: What are your goals for this program, both for the short term and long term? A: "If I didn't think that we have the potential to eventually win a national championship, I wouldn't be here. So that is our goal - to win national championships. One of the things that I like about Oklahoma is the athletic tradition. I want to contribute to the list of conference championships, national championships and All-Americans."
Q: Can you describe the style of play you want to employ? A: "We're going to create a style, depending on the players that we have. Hopefully we'll be versatile enough in our defense to adjust to the team that's attacking us, and versatile enough in our offense to adjust to the team that's defending us and how they're defending. To be able to do all of that, you have to be able to possess the ball, to be able to dictate the pace of play. That's the first thing we're going to concentrate on - the techniques and tactical aspects of maintaining possession of the ball. It's more fun, more entertaining for the fans and more conducive to player development. I actually feel a responsibility to the sport to play a style that's entertaining to watch, as well as effective."
Q: What have you enjoyed most about the job so far? A: "A pleasant surprise has been the level of youth play in Oklahoma. My goal is to build a program off of Oklahoma players. I think we can easily do that and I'm really thrilled with the level of play here. I think if we had been able to keep the best players coming out of Oklahoma in state for the last three years, we could already be a top-20 program. So our goal for the next three years is to be able to do that. If we can get the best players in the state to come to OU, then we could progress extremely quickly."
Q: What effect will the Women's World Cup have on the sport of soccer? A: "You can't deny the excitement that it created and you hope it's a springboard to an increased interest in the sport and a springboard to launching a professional league. Having an opportunity to play at a professional level is what will really propel our sport and get the best female athletes playing soccer. Every young athlete's dream is to play professional sports. This would create one more opportunity for women and really benefit our sport."
Q: How are plans for the new soccer complex coming along and what type of facility are you looking to build? A: "What we're trying to do is not create the biggest complex, but one that is unique and conducive to soccer. A lot of facilities are event facilities that can host a lot of different types of events, but they're really not conducive to the close-knit atmosphere that you need for soccer. I think we can create a soccer environment with an intimate complex and I think you need that type of environment for recruiting and to draw fans. We don't want to build the most elaborate or the most expensive complex, but one that is classy. We're still in the talking and negotiating stages, and we need a lot of money to get the project going."