“We not Me”, Turning a Motto into a winning tradition
By SAM LEEPER
Few college programs and coaches have better resumes than Western Washington University’s Women’s Basketball team and its head coach, Carmen Dolfo. Their success is based on a team-first, “We not Me” mantra, that Coach Dolfo has lived and taught during her time in Bellingham.
This season, Dolfo’s 24th as the head coach, the Vikings have once again eclipsed the 20 win mark; the 18th time they have done so under Dolfo’s guidance. Without a doubt, Carmen Dolfo is one of the most accomplished people in the history of WWU athletics. She is the first person (and one of just two overall) to represent the school in national tournament competition as a player, assistant coach and head coach. She has been part of 612 victories in those three roles.
The Vikings women’s basketball team achieved a special milestone back on December 19, 2014 at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas hosted by Sport Tours International. On that day, Western Washington beat Southern Indiana giving Coach Dolfo her 500th win as head coach at the University. With that win, Dolfo became the first women's basketball coach in the Pacific Northwest to reach the 500 win plateau at one four-year University. "The 500 wins are about a group of coaches and student-athletes who have worked very hard for a program and university that they believe in," Dolfo commented. Following the win, the team broke out a surprise for their coach - special “500-win t-shirts” commemorating the victory.
The Western Washington women’s teams have continued to play with the "We not Me" mentality, instilled in them by their coach over the years. "Our consistency and success has been built on hard work and dedication to the concept of team, not individuals," said Dolfo. "We have had a lot of great players who have bought into team first."
When asked about the foundation of making a program successful, it didn't take long for Coach Dolfo to answer. "Consistency, no matter what you do, and that's from the team as a whole and as individuals," said Dolfo. "When you look for a certain type of player for your program, that player has to be a hard worker that puts the team first and someone who has a desire to grow as a player and an individual."
Hard work and consistency have certainly paid off for the Vikings program. Dolfo has lead Western to 21 postseason appearances and 2 national championship semifinals while mentoring 13 All-Americans and 50 conference all-stars.
Carmen Dolfo and the Western Washington women’s basketball program continue to leave their mark on the game they love. It’s been a perfect match between players and coach with lots of support from parents, fans and the University.
Behind it all, 3 words on which to build a program – “We not Me” – a motto for success.