While a new basketball coach is a statement about the future of a team, Terry Nooner emphasized the importance of the present on Thursday at Charles Koch Arena.
During his public introduction as Wichita State University’s women’s basketball coach, he spoke to the current Shockers seated in the front row. That group, he said, is part of what comes next.
“I’m your head coach, and you guys are my team,” he said. “You're my players now. We’re about to be in for a great ride.”
Nooner’s relationship with Shocker basketball started this week. His relationship with the sport in the Midwest is a lifelong project.
Nooner is a product of Kansas City basketball as a coach and a player. He played at Raytown (Missouri) High School on a 1995 team — alongside Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue — on what is remembered as one of the city’s best.
Nooner shaped his coaching career as a young man by coaching prominent boys and girls youth teams and boys high school in the city.
Those roots and connections are part of what made him the Shockers coach.
Wichita State director of athletics Kevin Saal said he believes the relationships developed by Nooner over those years in the gyms around the region are the foundation of a basketball program.
“First and foremost, you’ve got to have great people,” Saal said. “We can recruit well to WSU. We have to have people that are well-connected. We think there’s a measure of a regional flair or flavor to our recruiting that will be helpful in terms of developing community support.”
Nooner played at Kansas from 1997-2000. He worked as an assistant coach Kansas in 2012-13 and again from 2020-2023.
“My biggest focus starting out is that we make sure that the great players that are here, that are homegrown, we want to make sure those kids are staying here and are playing for us,” Nooner said.