HAMPTON — Dennis Wolff described the past month as a whirlwind. Multiply "whirlwind" by a factor of two or three, and that approximates Joanne Boyle's past week.
The new women's basketball coaches at the state's flagship universities finally had a chance to stand still this weekend — if standing still was shuttling between courts at the Boo Williams SportsPlex during one of the nation's premier spring events: Boo's annual Nike Invitational tournament.
"The daily grind of what you're trying to get done in your first 100 days," said Boyle, introduced as Virginia's head coach last Monday following six seasons at Cal-Berkeley.
"I've been trying to educate myself about some of the nuances pertaining to the women's game," said Wolff, Virginia Tech's off-the-radar hire.
Boyle and Wolff's priorities have included getting to know players on their present rosters, staff considerations, recruiting, and familiarizing themselves with procedure and protocol within their new positions.
Wolff has the steeper learning curve, since his entire career was spent coaching in the men's game. But he was a head coach for 15 years at Boston University before he was fired in 2009. He has more than a passing knowledge of high-level women's hoops, since daughter Nicole was a national recruit who attended Connecticut.
"It wasn't quite as daunting as a lot of people made it out, as far as me being on an island and not knowing what I was going to do," said Wolff, who was the extremely overqualified Director of Basketball Operations for the Hokies' men last season. "I still think, like I said at the (introductory) press conference, basketball's basketball and recruiting's recruiting."
"Virginia Tech is a heck of a place, with a lot to offer student-athletes in every sport. My hope is that we can get enough folks to come take a look at the practice facility and see what Tech has to offer."
Similarly, Boyle believes that she isn't starting at square one. She's familiar with the ACC and the state from her time as an assistant at Duke and head coach at Richmond. She inherits a strong foundation that predecessor and program architect Debbie Ryan built at Virginia. Her entire career has been at schools with stellar academic reputations.
There was no apprehension, she said, about replacing Ryan and her mountainous legacy.
"I think you have to be comfortable in your own skin," Boyle said. "If you're going to take this journey with life, when opportunity presents itself, you have to put your fears aside and run with it. … I look at it more as an opportunity than a fear. I just don't think you can go through life in fear, or in the shadows, because you're going to miss the boat.
"The way I approach life is: be smart; if doors open, evaluate them; and once you make a decision, go wholeheartedly into it. That's where I'm at."
Wolff's staff is nearly complete, with former Vanderbilt All-American and WNBA player Shantelle Anderson, ex-UMBC assistant Billi Godsey, and Tom Joyce, who worked with Wolff at Boston U.
Boyle hired Georgia assistant Kim Hairston, who worked with her at Richmond and at Berkeley. She also brought along her director of basketball operations at Cal, Sarah Holsinger.
Wolff and Anderson were visible at Boo's tournament all weekend, as were Boyle and Hairston. All looked to establish or re-establish ties with some of the nation's better AAU travel teams.
"I think they'll do a good job," said Boo, who annually fields top-shelf boys' and girls' teams. He has known Wolff since his days as a men's assistant at Virginia in the 1990s and Boyle since she mined the area as a Duke assistant under Gail Goestenkors.
Boo thinks that Wolff will handle the transition from coaching men to women better than many observers.
"I think coaching is coaching, and he's good with that," Boo said. "The biggest thing is he's got to build relationships. He's got to get to know the high school coaches, the travel team coaches, the assistant coaches. His thing is going to have to be relationships, but I think coaching, he ain't going to have a problem with that. He's been a head coach."
As for Boyle, Boo said, "She had some relationships from Richmond. Her biggest thing is trying to keep kids in-state, with everybody else in here (recruiting)."