Most coaches, after a victory, like to keep it professional. They walk down the sideline and shake the hand of the opposing coach and players. But sometimes, once every so often, a coach shows emotion after a win.
Enter St. John’s coach Kim Barnes Arico. Barnes Arico, in her 10th season running the program, has endured a lot. She began her career has a high school coach and eventually rose through the ranks, coaching at the Division III and II levels for a while.
She won a big one on Tuesday night as the Red Storm topped Oklahoma, 74-70, in a NCAA second-round game. In terms of success, that win became the biggest in program history. St. John’s road win over UConn last month was certainly the highest profile win, but getting to the Sweet 16 trumps that.
And for that reason, Barnes Arico showed some emotion after the buzzer sounded on Tuesday night in Norman, Ok.
“Usually I am super professional,” said Barnes Arico. “After the Creighton game and even after we beat Connecticut I just ran right down the line and shook hands, but tonight I really wanted to celebrate with the team because I am so proud of what they have been able to accomplish and how they have stuck together.”
Barnes Arico spoke of her rise through the coaching ranks and why the win is so special.
“I was speaking to someone yesterday in the media just saying how I came through a different way than most people, starting out as a high school coach and going Division III and Division II,” she said. “I had to work my way up and Sherri Coale was always somebody that I was like ‘wow, she was a high school coach and she made it at Oklahoma.’ Maybe there is hope that I can have an opportunity someday.”
That day was Tuesday and Barnes Arico had every right to show some emotion.
“Never did I dream that I would be the coach at St. John’s and 10 years later have an opportunity to play against her at Oklahoma with a chance to go to the Sweet 16,” Barnes Arico added. “For me personally, it is a dream come true.”
The dream continues next week as St. John’s takes on second-seeded Duke in a NCAA Regional semifinal in Fresno.