Brittany Lange's first practice as UNO's interim women's basketball coach went something like a typical practice, she said.
“The good thing is I think we're a very prepared program to start with,” Lange said.
UNO announced earlier Wednesday that Chance Lindley had resigned as head coach for personal reasons, about a month before the team's first exhibition game and prior to the team's second official practice of the season.
At 26, Lange becomes one of the youngest head coaches in the country.
In a press release, UNO Athletic Director Trev Alberts said he named Lange interim head coach for the 2013-14 season because of the proximity to the start of the season and “in order to maintain continuity for our students.”
“Coach Lange has proven herself an excellent coach and recruiter in her two years here at UNO,” Alberts said. “And we will support the entire staff in every way possible to help our student-athletes succeed on the court and in the classroom.”
Alberts declined to comment further, including discussing a possible timetable for filling the position permanently.
Lindley didn't return telephone messages left Wednesday. UNO's sports information department declined to grant interview requests with any Maverick players until next week.
Reached on campus Wednesday afternoon, Lange said the players were handling the coaching change well after being notified of it by the administration prior to practice Wednesday morning.
“They're actually doing perfectly well. Nothing really changed,” Lange said. “They know the plan. There was a lot of maturity and understanding of why they came here in the first place — they're here to be part of the program.”
Most of UNO's roster is new — only guards Ericka House and Cathleen Cox and center Taijhe Kelly played for the Mavs last season.
UNO's other assistants are Jesyka Burks-Wiley, entering her second season, and Lee Aduddell, who was hired over the summer. Elisha Turek, who played at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln and Oral Roberts, is the director of operations.
Lindley joined UNO shortly after its move to Division I was announced prior to the 2011-12 season and compiled a 32-23 overall record. Last season the Mavs were 17-11 overall and 7-9 to tie for fifth place in the Summit League in their first season playing a full conference schedule.
Lindley hired Lange as director of basketball operations, and she became an assistant coach prior to last season, working primarily with the guards while also coordinating offensive game strategy in addition to her duties scouting and recruiting.
“I appreciate the confidence Trev and the administration have placed in me,” Lange said in UNO's press release. “I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead of us. As a staff, we will focus all of our energy and efforts on our student-athletes. We have a tremendous group of young women and are excited to begin the season.”
UNO opens with an exhibition game against Lincoln University (Mo.) on Nov. 2 at Sapp Fieldhouse.
Former UNO point guard Jamie Nash, now an assistant at Incarnate Word, a transitioning Division I program, said she's excited for Lange. Nash played the final two seasons of her UNO career under Lindley and Lange.
“It's an opportunity for her to grow and learn a lot,” Nash said. “The fastest way to learn is to get thrown into the waters. As difficult as this, it's exciting for Brittany and the program.”
Lange, from Sac City, Iowa, played in 15 games for Creighton in 2005-06 before sitting out the following season after transferring to Iowa State. She played 10 games for the Cyclones' 2007-08 NCAA tournament team before nagging injuries contributed to her serving her final two seasons as a student assistant coach. She was a graduate assistant at Division II St. Edward's (Texas) for one season before joining UNO.
“Coaching is something I've always wanted to do,” she said.
Lindley, a Wichita State graduate, spent his early coaching career in Kansas at the high school and junior college levels before joining Arizona as an assistant coach for three seasons beginning in 2008.
Lindley's Barton County (Kan.) Community College team went 34-4 and finished fourth in the NJCAA national tournament in 2007-08, when he was named the conference and district coach of the year. Previously, he'd been the coach at Wichita Independent High and Wichita Collegiate High.
Lange said she hasn't given any thought to becoming the Mavs' permanent coach.
“That's not a concern of mine right now,” Lange said. “The players are my concern.”