MILWAUKEE - After six straight losing seasons, Bart Lundy has UWM fans dreaming big again.
The FOX6 Sports team goes Beyond the Game as the Panthers head coach tries to take the program to the NCAA Tournament.
Tim Van Vooren: "How difficult is it and how much of a challenge is it to change things? UWM had been in kind of a downward slide. Right now you're riding at the top right up there with a couple of other teams in the Horizon League."
Lundy: "It's a program that deserves to win, and it's a city that deserves to have a winner. And so I thought as we built this, it was important that we get traction right away. We've got 13 new guys, so it's been nine months of a lot of grind, the whole new staff, move the family. It's been a lot. But we've got things going in the right direction. We've got some buzz in the city, I think, and we're fun to watch. We've got good kids working really hard."
Brandon Cruz: "You mentioned the buzz in the city. How important is it? I mean, you were talking about this after Thursday night's game a little bit, but how important is it to have your athletes, your school and then the city buy into your program?"
Lundy: "I mean, it's everything. You know, I tell people there's 200,000 Milwaukee graduates and 74 percent live in the state, and we've got 24,000 students. So all those folks want something to be proud of. And, you know, Marquette's got a great team. Obviously, I'm a Marquette fan to this day. But there's plenty of room for our program and plenty of folks out there that want to cheer."
Lily Zhao: "Earlier in the year I think I saw you on media day, you mentioned the chemistry. That's the biggest thing you guys want to work on. A big enough sample size now for this team, how's that chemistry coming along?"
Lundy: "I think very well. You know, I kind of laugh at these guys. We had great chemistry right off the bat off the floor. On the floor, they fight like cats and dogs. I mean, they're like brothers already. And sometimes we've talked about late game they get mad at each other. They want to win. We've got really a huge drive to win on this team. And so it's developing quickly. I'm really proud of those guys that I don't have to do anything with them. They spend time together. They're on and off the floor. They're gym rats. So I feel good about where we are."
Van Vooren: "Bart, how would you describe yourself as a coach? You had to get all these new guys together. You've seen good results so far. How do you describe yourself doing your job?"
Lundy: "Well, I think, you know, I'm kind of a lifer. I was kind of a gym rat growing up. I always wanted to coach. I was a North Carolina fan. I was that kid at nine years old, wrote a letter to Dean Smith and got a letter back saying ask your coach. I can't remember what I was asking him. But, you know, I'm a believer in the process like most coaches. I believe that you wake up, you do the best you can, you hit it the right way, you lay your head on the pillow, you get up, and you do it again, and you stack good days. And I think our guys believe in that. And I live it. Our staff lives it. I think that's who we are."