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 NIU Head Women's Basketball Coach Kathi Bennett will be answering your questions, Tuesday, June 22 at noon.

Huskie fans had the chance to chat with new Northern Illinois head women's basketball coach Kathi Bennett. The transcript of the chat is below.

Bennett comes to NIU after two seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, where she coached the Badgers' defense and was instrumental in UW making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in eight years in 2010. Wisconsin finished tied for third in the league and led the Big Ten in scoring defense in 2010 after ranking 10th in the league in that category prior to her arrival.

Bennett brings 17 years of experience as a collegiate head coach at Marycrest College (1988-89), Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1989-96), Evansville (1996-2000) and Indiana (2000-05). Her career record of 296-177 includes 12 winning campaigns and nine postseason appearances.

A native of Stevens Point, Wisc. Bennett is the sister of University of Virginia head men's basketball coach Tony Bennett; her father, Dick, won 316 games as a collegiate coach at Washington State, Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay and UW-Stevens Point.

Moderator: Hello everyone and welcome to today's Huskie Chat with Kathi Bennett. Kathi is here and ready to take your questions.

Huskie Fan (Chicago): Considering you have had success at the highest level's previously, I'd think it's safe to assume this wasn't your only head coaching opportunity. Was there any one thing that separated NIU from other schools that may have contacted you? Facilities, location, athletic department, roster, etc...
Coach Bennett: Yes. People. I felt so comfortable with the people. Jeff, President Peters, and of course, I feel all the things you listed, the facilities the location, academic reputation, the ability to recruit are important. I feel that people make things tick, and that really excites me.

Dave (Clarendon Hills): Hello Coach and welcome to NIU! Will you be recruiting hard in States like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa?
Coach Bennett: And Indiana, but we really want to recruit Illinois, the city and the suburbs. The midwest is where we are going to concentrate, mainly Illinois.

Tim (Naperville): Great to have you here Coach! Are you for the Women's MAC conference tournament being held at a seperate site from the Men's tournament?
Coach Bennett: What matters to me is that it doesn't get chopped up. That every team gets the opportunity to be together at one site. I don't want separate sites where rounds one or two happen, then come together for the championship. It's important that we have a classy tournament at a nice arena together, and that's it promoted.

johnsburg illinois: Are you going to have a girls basketball camp this summer?
Coach Bennett: We got in so late that we could not do a good enough job to have a girls camp this summer. Next summer we are going to work very hard to do quality camps, and we are going to do a good job promoting those and running those. We are going to put on a free clinic in the fall for non-recruiting age once we start official practice, and we are really looking forward to that.

A. Young, Toledo,ohio: Recruiting questions here. What is NIU's reputation on the recruiting trail? Knowing that player ratings are semi-arbitrary, how do we convince the higher rated players to come here? Is NIU's proximity to Chicago and the suburbs a benefit or liablility (meaning its too close to home for some players)
Coach Bennett: I don't know the prior reputation. I know our reputation is going to be one of hard-working, relentless and integrity. We are going to do our homework on players. I feel our location is definitely a benefit because we have the best of both worlds. I think our location is going to fit a broad range of student-athletes. There's an opportunity, number one, because of our roster, to contribute right away. We have the best facilities in the MAC, we have a great academic institution, and there is a chance to come in and be responsible, as the first recruiting class, to build something special here. I think a lot of student-athletes want that opportunity to build that tradition back.

Jean - Oak Park: Hi Coach! How do you see the Challenge at NIU compared to your previous head coaching positions?
Coach Bennett: I see this sas imilar, but what differentiates this is I feel that at some of the other places I've been there hasn't been as much enthusiasm in the community. I feel we have great potential to get fans in the stands, to get people here, and build a home court advantage. That's real. Some of the others places I've been we struggled, but it's real here.

Drew - Hinsdale: Great to have you as a Huskie! Did you ever play against NIU when you were playing college ball?
Coach Bennett: Never, but I coached against Northern Illinois when I was at Evansville against Carol Hammerle. We played at the Field House, and we did win. I'm trying to remember a shooter from Indiana (that we played against that game). We recruited her, too. I can see her in the scout... It would've been 1998-99 season. Anyone remember that player's name?

Keith - Chicago: Hi Coach! Welcome to DeKalb! What is the most important thing about basketball that your learned from your father?
Coach Bennett: I don't know if there's one thing, but if I had to pick, he taught me to know who you are. It forms what you believe in as a coach. It will form your identity, what you want your teams to represent. You've got to know what you can handle as a coach and who you are.

Rick ( Barrington): When you look at positions to fill for the next recruiting class, we know we're thin in the front court. Will you bring in some immediate help for the 2011/12 season via a JC player or two, or is the promise of immediate playing time the carrot you would use to bring in some freshmen "bigs"?
Coach Bennett: We're going to do both!!

Bert McCarthy (Rochelle): I'm sure your 2010-11 schedule was almost inherited, but what do you see as the biggest scheduling challenges NIU will face in the future? How much bigger of a challenge is it in the MAC than say in the Big 10?
Coach Bennett: We play more MAC games, so there aren't as many non-conference opportunities.

Marcus McPeterson (Rockford, IL): How many times did you beat your brother Tony one-on-one in the driveway?
Coach Bennett: When he was really young, a lot. When he got around ninth grade, never. I remember a definitive turning point without a doubt. It was Christmas time, and we played and he beat me, and we played probably 10 games and I could never beat him that day. I stayed there at the gym. That was it. It took me a while to come home, and that was it. We never played again. We still worked out together. I made him learn how to work out, not just go to the gym and stay and shoot, but how to really workout. To shoot game shots, and get a good workout shooting the ball.

Rachel (Chicago): When you are not coaching/playing basketball, what is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy spending time doing?
Coach Bennett: A couple, I love to read, and I do like to workout. I do love to listen to my music. I just finished reading this monster book, The Pillars of the Earth, and Crazy Love by Francis Kahn. Music, I just bought Erykah Badu's new disc. I bought, kind of random, but I like a lot of electronic music, so I download random songs from iTunes on the electronic side. I also just got Sade's new one called Soldier of Love.
Coach Bennett: And there's a new Christian CD I've just bought, Beckah Shae. There's a song called "Surrender," it's just great.

Tracy (Dekalb): Have you always known you wanted to coach basketball or was there a moment that helped make your decision?
Coach Bennett: I fought it because everyone told me I was supposed to coach, and I was stubborn. I went to grad school instead. I was broke, I needed money, I was selling my plasma. Carroll College had an opening in the middle of the year. My friends told me quit being stubborn. The coach there never had practices on the weekend, and I asked him and the team if I could coach on Saturday. Everybody showed up and I got to run my own practice, and was like "Oh my gosh! This is awesome, this is what I've got to do." So I quit grad school, applied for an assistant job, got a head job and that was it.

Brian (Bartlett): What do you enjoy most about the coaching profession?
Coach Bennett: The players, just being involved. I've got an opportunity to make such a difference, and that's why I love coaching.

Veronica (Elgin): You look very fit, how do you stay in such great shape?
Coach Bennett: I had both my knees replaced last summer, so I can't run anymore. I elliptical like crazy, and I lift. I work out every day if I can, but usually it's like six days a week. Since I became a head coach it's gone down, but once we get settled it will go back up.

Dustin (DeKalb): What has impressed you most about the DeKalb-Sycamore community?
Coach Bennett: Honestly, the people. The friendliness, the willingness to help. I haven't run into one rude person, every time I've gone into a grocery store or been around it's been midwestern hospitality. It's a community that is really friendly and outgoing. I really fit here. I love it.
Coach Bennett: Thank you for the questions. There were really good. I hope to see you at some games. Thank you for the support! Go Huskies! I'm so happy to be one!
Moderator: That's all the time we have today. Thank you for your questions, and Go Huskies!