SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Elaine Elliott, who took a leave-of-absence this season while considering retirement, is assisting the athletic department with the NCAA Tournament games in the Huntsman Center.
Some say she's an ambassador. Others consider her a liaison, of sorts.
Elliott, though, has given herself a different title: "The face of Utah." It's an apt description for the legendary coach.
"I'm just here to talk to people. I know the coaches that are here. I'm here to spend time with the NCAA rep," Elliott said. "I've just been around this program a long time and it just kind of felt right to be here at this event because this stuff is great for Utah and I'm still a huge part of that."
Elliott said it's been interesting to be away from the game. She's enjoyed not having the stress related with the job, but still likes seeing the tournament teams and thinking about Utah being in the mix.
Elliott watched the Utes clinch an NCAA berth on TV by defeating TCU in the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game.
"I was just screaming. I was high-fiving and whooping it like I would have been embarrassed to be seen in public doing it," she said. "I was so happy for them because it was something they did. They so owned that."
Elliott added that she was happy for the entire staff and players.
As for her future, Elliott didn't offer an answer.
"We always knew at the end of the season we had to make something happen, one way or the other, because it's time," Elliott explained. "When it's over then we'll act."
Elliott is the winningest coach in Utah history, with a career record of 582-234. Assistant coach Anthony Levrets has taken her place on an interim basis and is 18-16.
HAPPY HOSTS: Utah athletics director Chris Hill is pleased to host the tournament. He's even more pleased the Utes were able to secure an invitation.
"We've had such a wonderful women's basketball program over the many, many years and we thought whenever we get a chance to host it would be great," Hill said. "We were hoping our team would be able to participate and now they are. So that makes it a real bonus."
WELCOME COMMITTEE: Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne had kind things to say about Utah's upcoming membership in the Pac-12.
"It's a great addition to our conference. What a tremendous school to add," she said. "Utah and ASU is a great fit especially in terms of the caliber of their athletic department. It's an outstanding addition to our conference."Comment on this story
FAST BREAKS: Between the participating schools and the NCAA media portal, 90 press credentials have been issued for the Salt Lake City sub-regional. ... Tickets are still available. Adults can attend all three games (two on Saturday and one on Monday) for $25. Fans under 18 can do so for $10. Single-game sessions are $15 for adults and $5 for youth. ... ESPN2 will televised all three games in Salt Lake City. Holly Rowe will handle the play-by-play duties. Sean Farnham is the analyst.
NCAA women's tournament
Salt Lake City: First and second rounds
Arizona State vs. Temple, 2:05 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Utah, 4:05 p.m.
Winners, 7:30 p.m.ncaa notebook