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Friday, January 5, 2007
UALR's Foley reaches 500 career wins

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK -- During the 40 minutes that Arkansas-Little Rock played North Texas, Joe Foley wasn't worried about whether his team would give him his 500th career win. He was just a coach.

"You go into coaching and you never wonder if you're going to win 200, 300 games," Foley said Friday, a day after his team beat its Sun Belt Conference rival 87-49. "I'm a day-to-day guy. I worry about getting the next practice in and letting what happens happen."

Thursday's 87-49 win gave Foley a 500-136 record in his 20th season as a head coach. He is 44-55 in his fourth year at UALR after compiling a 456-81 record in 16 years at Arkansas Tech, where he won two NAIA national championships and six teams won 30 games or more in a year.

UALR is 11-4 overall this season and 4-1 in the Sun Belt. The Trojans have never won more than 13 games in a season, a mark Foley's team tied last season.

Foley has already become the winningest head coach in UALR women's basketball history. Also last year, UALR beat instate rival Arkansas State for the first time as a Division I school and won the school's first post-season game, a 50-48 victory over Denver in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

"I think I'm a part of [the success], but naturally I don't feel like I'm the biggest part of it," Foley said. "My role is to show leadership and to get them going in the right direction. I think anybody that's involved, whether it's as an assistant coach or a manager, everybody plays a role."

This year's team, he says, has been fun to coach because its players are younger than many of his players in the past. The growth is more apparent with this team, Foley said.

In Thursday's game, four of his players also were in double digits -- Jocelyn Love with 21 points, Anshel Cooper with 13, plus a game-high nine rebounds; Kim Sitzman with 11 points; and Renee Renz with 10. And that made the win that much sweeter, he said.

"We jumped out on them early, and it let me relax a little bit," Foley said. "We shot 60 something percent. Any time the ball's going in the basket it makes it fun."

Last May, UALR extended Foley's contract through 2011. Though he could see many more wins in the next four seasons, Foley said he isn't thinking about how many wins he'll have then.

"It's good to be at 500," Foley said. "It used to be a lot of pressure, but now the pressure is off and I can have more fun. I'm enjoying coaching more now than I ever have."