HAMILTON – Colgate women's basketball head coach Ganiyat Adeduntan met her Raider family and friends for the first time Wednesday at an afternoon press conference.
Adeduntan was named last week Colgate's ninth head coach in the Division I era. She arrives after three seasons as the top assistant coach and four seasons overall on the staff of Jennifer Rizzotti at George Washington.
In the summer of 2020, the Athens, Georgia, native was named a top-50 Impactful Mid Major Assistant by Silver Waves, and was invited to attend the prestigious TopConnect Virtual Seminar.
Here are a few of the highlights from Wednesday's session:
Dr. Nicki Moore, Colgate Vice President and Director of Athletics
"You've probably already heard a bit about our new coach. You know that she comes to us most recently from George Washington University, where colleagues described her as incredible, an educator, authentic, a hard-worker, a rock, a leader, a lifetime learner and a winner.
"In our search, we sought someone committed to pursuing our vision of being an inclusive community of competitive excellence and committed to living our virtues. We've defined our virtues as cohesive: we were looking for a person who values the team over self; who defines success collectively; and who relishes the success of others. Someone who is driven: someone who is self-motivated; who is a learner, who takes initiative and who is a relentless worker. We sought someone who is thoughtful; a coach who is intuitive; has strong interpersonal skills and demonstrates good judgment and self-awareness. Enthusiastic: a positive coach who brings great energy, optimism and passion to their craft. And bold: a colleague who is committed to the profession, who is creative, fearless and determined to achieve excellence.
"In addition to these virtues, we looked for a strong recruiter. While at George Washington, she was instrumental in the recruitment of two top-100 recruits. We looked for an attentive mentor who cares about the whole development of student-athletes. In her former stops, she's developed all-conference players, she's implemented a leadership development program for student-athletes, and she is known for leading with love as a core value.
"We looked for a coach who could help build a championship mindset and a winning culture for Colgate Women's Basketball. We sought out a coach who fully embraces the academic rigor of Colgate, and a coach who will engage our student-athletes in the game of basketball as the curious learners, hard workers and devoted team members that we know they are.
"We found a coach who was all the things we were looking for and more, and we are so very excited to commence this new era of Colgate Women's Basketball."
"This is an incredible opportunity for me because I am inspired by the privilege to work at an elite institution whose mission is to educate intellectual students and develop them into leaders; an institution whose president wholeheartedly believes in how sport enhances education; and an athletics director who, honestly, blew me away before and then after our very first call.
"Something about me – I'm very cerebral. So I did a lot of homework on Colgate. A lot of homework. I was amazed by the way Dr. Moore thinks and processes things, combined with the expectations she has for everyone in the department. The expectation she sets is love first, listen, and lead. Yes, this is a place I knew I wanted to be.
"I love everything that Colgate stands for. I truly believe it matches who I am to the very core. I know I can attract talented student-athletes who are committed to excellence. I appreciate the athletics department's vision that truly aligns with me.
"Teaching is a clear priority of this institution, and I coach as an educator first. I not only teach, train, instruct and inform, but I look to inspire and to mentor. I do this through relationships first; agape love that isn't conditional. It's unconditional, with the hope to always leave a lasting impression.
"To my new team, it's been a pleasure to get to know you as a group, and individually. You are a talented group with so much potential. I look forward to building strong relationships with each one of you. I love the connection you have with each other, and the excitement you have for what the future holds for us.
"Our No. 1 goal as a staff is to work extremely hard to build trust in such a way that we transfer belief into each and every one of you. I boldly believe that we can build a championship culture here, a culture that will strive for competitive excellence, both on and off the court. My vision for this program is to become league leaders in competition and in the classroom.
"We'll talk about standards and expectations soon, but my absolutes are that:
1. We communicate effectively, both on and off the court. I do believe that communication forms chemistry and creates connection and leads to success.
2. We will work extremely hard, meaning we will compete to be at our very best every day. One percent better, every single day.
3. And last but certainly not least, we will bring energy and enthusiasm every single day, because nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.
"Which brings up a fun fact about me: I love quotes and mantras. None of these I came up with but they all resonate very deeply. On my white boards and in all of my offices you will see things such as, "Don't be good; be great. This is tough; but you're tougher. I am because we are. Growth is birth through discomfort. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. Give light, and people will find the way.
"Today's quote that encompasses how I feel and how I'm thinking is – To whom much is given, much is required. So I promise to give my very best every single day. I promise to create a positive culture where negativity cannot grow, and I promise to serve and love my players and my staff as people first. Caring about you means actually wanting to hear your response when I ask you how you're doing. I will show integrity in everything I do, and I will display unconditional gratitude regardless of the circumstances.
"I understand that to build something, it takes a village. So what better place than the Village of Hamilton. I look forward to connecting and engaging our alumni with our team and our program, with the goal of putting out a product that shows competitiveness, teamwork and players playing with joy for the love of the game, so that all alums, the entire Colgate community, and family and friends can be proud of.
"I am honored to serve as this program's head coach. Thank you, again, Dr. Moore, and Go 'gate!"