UTAH UTES

Lynne Roberts: When You Have A Vision, You Have To Believe In It Strongly

Feb 27, 2023, 1:23 PM | Updated: Feb 28, 2023, 10:44 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball has been reaching unprecedented program heights in 2023 thanks largely to head coach Lynne Roberts’ vision for the Utes.

After clinching a piece of the Pac-12 Regular Season Title on Saturday against Stanford, earning the two-seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament, and moving up to No. 3 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, Roberts joined DJ and PK to talk about her unwavering dream for the program and why you have to be a little “crazy” to do things that have never been done before.

Roberts and the Utes will be heading to Las Vegas later this week with hopes of pushing their dream and vision a little further when they take the court on Thursday night.

When You Have A Vision, Believe In It Strongly

Roberts came to Salt Lake City in 2015 with a dream and purpose. That dream and purpose was to make the Utah women’s basketball team not only a force in the Pac-12, but nationally too. It may have taken eight years to truly get there, but Roberts says she never stopped believing that this day would come for her program.

“I think to do things that have never been done, you have to be a little crazy,” Roberts said. “To do things that people say you can’t do, you’ve got to have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder. This is the third program I’ve taken over and we’ve done things that have never been done at those programs too. It’s just kind of how I am. When you have a vision and a dream, you’ve got to believe in it so strongly because it’s hard.”

There is no denying Roberts, her staff, and the Utes have had their share of hard knocks building the program up. For several years it seemed like Utah was well on its way only to be ravaged by injuries among other typical problems of a growing program. Naturally all of those hard times get vindicated when the stars align and show you were on the right track the entire time.

“You just keep getting knocked down, or things don’t work how you want them to, but you have to believe in it, or you’ll quit,” Roberts said. “Or you’ll change your goals and settle. That’s just not what I’m about and I know that does sound crazy and little bit ‘rah-rah’, but it’s the honest to goodness truth.”

Creating A Culture Of Buy-In

Building a top-notch program for Roberts is all about knowing what kind of person and player you want to bring into your program and never settling for anything less.

“This is my 21st year as a head coach and I’ve learned by doing things right, and I’ve learned by doing things wrong,” Roberts said. “One thing that am adamant on now is recruiting quality kids that I know through the recruiting process that will not only say ‘yes’ to coming here but would fit our culture. We’ve recruited these kids, to your point, Gianna was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state and scored 67 points in a high school game. Her accolades are unbelievable, but she doesn’t care about that. She cares about winning, being pushed, being challenged and so our charge as a staff is to find kids like that.”

It’s Not Over Yet

While all of the good things seem to be happening for the Utes all at once right now, Roberts and her team are mindful of the fact the season is not over yet. Utah still has to get through the Pac-12 Tournament this week and then set their sights on the NCAA Tournament before truly being able to celebrate everything they have and hopefully will continue to accomplish for 2023.

“It’s challenging and I think it is a fine line of keeping them focused, but letting them enjoy their success,” Roberts said. “This group has done a good job of that. We practiced this morning and you just kind of ease them in. Some shooting, we’ll watch film today, tomorrow we will practice and then tomorrow night head down to Vegas. We’ll watch the game we are supposed to be playing and we’ll play the winner of Wazzu/Cal. We just kind of have to gear up.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Lynne Roberts: When You Have A Vision, You Have To Believe In It Strongly