University of Toledo women's basketball coach Tricia Cullop recently completed her second season at the helm of the Rockets. Cullop, 38, is a native of Bicknell, Ind., and was the head coach at Evansville for eight seasons before coming to Toledo. She was named Mid-American Conference coach of the year in her first year. This season she led the Rockets to their first outright MAC West Division title since 2001 and led them to the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 1998.
What is your earliest basketball memory?
Playing basketball in the backyard with my dad [Ted Cullop].
How did you decide to get into coaching?
Some of the biggest influences in my life were coaches, from my high school coach to my college coach. I knew toward the end of my collegiate career [at Purdue] that I was going to miss the game of basketball, and I thought coaching was the next best thing to playing.
If you weren't coaching, what would you be doing?
My major was communications, and I actually did some internships with a TV station at Purdue before I graduated. So I'd say there's a good chance I'd be working in the TV industry, probably behind the scenes in production and that kind of thing.
What's the best part about living in Toledo?
I think it's the people. The people have been so supportive of our program and even just so helpful — that first year especially helping me find my way around town. The people here are just genuinely helpful and fun to be around and excited about sports. This is a great sports town.
How do you unwind off the court?
I'm a big movie buff. If I'm trying to get my mind off of things and just relax, that's probably something I'll do and something I love to do. I probably don't spend enough time doing that because most of the time I'm watching [game] film, but I love watching movies.
What's your favorite movie?
That's tough. I'd say my favorite newest movie isThe Blind Side. One of my all-time favorite movies is Hoosiers.
What were your favorite sports teams growing up?
I followed the [Indiana] Pacers, the [Indianapolis] Colts and the [St. Louis] Cardinals, so those three. And then one of my sisters went to Indiana and one went to Purdue, and I followed both schools pretty closely until I chose to go to Purdue.
Who was your favorite athlete when you were a kid?
I loved Larry Bird. He was from southern Indiana, so I was very familiar with the fact that he grew up in French Lick, which is about an hour from my hometown. In addition to the Pacers, I also followed the [Boston] Celtics a lot growing up because of him. He was always somebody I enjoyed watching play.
What's your favorite restaurant?
There's a lot of them here, but probably my favorite place that I've eaten at so far has been Mancy's Steakhouse. I always get a regular steak and a potato. I'm an easy steak-and-potato kind of person.
Where's your favorite place to vacation?
Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.
— Zach Silka