UA women's basketball: 'A-Team' having fun with new nickname

2013-10-23T00:00:00Z 2013-10-23T00:01:49Z UA women's basketball: 'A-Team' having fun with new nicknameBy Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

They weren’t a crack commando unit, sent to prison in 1972 for a crime they didn’t commit.

They didn’t escape a maximum security prison to the Los Angeles underground, and they certainly aren’t wanted by the government.

If you have a problem … if no one else can help … and you can’t find them … you probably shouldn’t hire this “A-Team.”

Unless you want a “crack coaching unit,” that is.

“Well, you know, its something I started saying, the A-Team,” said UA women’s basketball coach Niya Butts, drawing from the 1980s TV series. “It’s the crew, it’s a special one, and we get out and we do whatever we have to do.”

And boy, does Butts love it when a plan comes together.

“We’re somewhat similar to the original A-Team, if you will,” she said.

Butts and her assistants E.C. Hill, Calamity McEntire and Sean LeBeauf know it’s corny — it doesn’t get much cornier than referencing an ’80s action show — but they embrace it.

It all started on Twitter over the summer. While the staff was out recruiting, they would attach “#ATeam” to the end of every tweet they sent out. LeBeauf, the newest addition to the staff, thinks he started the idea. Not even thinking about the TV show.

“To shorten up Arizona I put the A on something and it made sense,” he said. “I created that. I’m the originator. It just stands out. The A. People love it.”

Butts and McEntire beg to differ — they say Butts came up with the idea — but nonetheless it seems like a fitting namesake for Arizona’s tight-knit coaching staff. They come from different places — Butts from Georgia, McEntire from Oklahoma, Hill from Chicago and LeBeauf from Louisiana — and have different personalities, but they still all fit together.

“We have the moments where we get on each other’s nerves, but that’s part of it,” Hill said. “We just try to work hard, then play hard so we do a great job. Everyone has their niche that they bring to the table.”

They weren’t exactly keen on picking who from the four-person staff could play which character from the TV show — “I’m not gonna assign characters; we’re just the A-Team,” Butts said — so we’ll do it for them. Here’s a look at Arizona’s “A-Team”:

John “Hannibal” Smith

Niya Butts, head coach (6th year at UA).

Background: From Americus, Ga. Played for Pat Summitt at Tennessee from 1997-2000.

“A-Team:” “Hannibal” is the team’s leader, a top-notch tactician and a master of disguise. He’s often smoking a cigar, and loves it when a plan comes together.

A(rizona)-Team: Butts is the head honcho, and the team’s lead tactician. She wears a wide variety of suits, often with matching sneakers, and knows how to get her team going.

They said it: “She could be (him). She’s laid back. That could be her, I’m not as laid back at her.” — LeBeauf

Templeton “Faceman” Peck

E.C. Hill, assistant coach (3rd season at UA)

Background: From Chicago. Former WNBA player and in the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Northern Illinois assistant coach.

“A-Team”: Peck is smooth-talking and Hannibal’s second-in-command. Specializes in scamming, hustling for equipment and sensitive information.

A(rizona)-Team: Fun-

loving, and Butts’ longest tenured assistant on staff. Like Butts, is well-dressed. Specializes in the backcourt — point guards, shooting guards.

They said it: “We really believe we’re all like the A-Team.” — Hill

B.A. Baracus

Sean LeBeauf, assistant coach (1st season at UA)

Background: From Boutte, La. Former athletic director and head coach at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas.

“A-Team”: A skilled mechanic, Baracus (Mr. T) is easily angered. He pities the fool.

A(rizona)-Team: LeBeauf is nice, easy-going — until he gets mad.

They said it: “Only time I’d be B.A. would be if they did something crazy on the court and I lost my mind.” — LeBeauf

“Howling Mad” Murdock

Calamity McEntyre, assistant coach (2nd season at UA)

Background: From Kiowa, Okla. Was an equipment manager for Pat Summitt at Tennessee from 2001-2003. Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Boise State for four years before coming to UA.

“A-Team”: Might be insane, might be pretending. Murdock is a talented chopper pilot, and loves to fly them. At one point, saves B.A.’s life by donating blood.

A(rizona)-Team: This one’s a bit of a stretch, but there’s only four characters. McEntyre is caring, happy and wants everyone else to be happy, too.

They said it: “I personally didn’t watch it. I’m the youngest on the staff, but since the whole A-Team thing has arrived, they (the other coaches) showed me the intro video to the A-Team and what it looks like. As cheesy as it is, I’m running with it.”

Contact reporter Zack Rosenblatt at or 573-4145. On Twitter @ZackBlatt

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Arizona 14 2 0 0.875 26 3 0 0.897
Utah 12 4 0 0.750 22 6 0 0.786
Oregon 11 5 0 0.688 21 8 0 0.724
UCLA 10 7 0 0.588 18 12 0 0.600
Stanford 9 7 0 0.563 18 10 0 0.643
Oregon State 8 9 0 0.471 16 12 0 0.571
Arizona State 7 9 0 0.438 16 14 0 0.533
California 6 9 0 0.400 16 12 0 0.571
Colorado 6 9 0 0.400 13 13 0 0.500
Washington State 6 10 0 0.375 12 16 0 0.429
Washington 4 12 0 0.250 15 13 0 0.536
USC 3 13 0 0.188 11 17 0 0.393

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
USC at
3/4 7:00 pm
Oregon at
Oregon State
3/4 9:00 pm
Colorado at
3/5 7:00 pm
California at
3/5 7:00 pm
Utah at
Washington State
3/5 9:00 pm
Stanford at
Arizona State
3/5 9:00 pm
California at
Arizona State
3/7 12:30 pm
Stanford at
3/7 2:00 pm
Utah at
3/7 2:30 pm
Colorado at
Washington State
3/7 4:30 pm
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