“I don’t want to change again.” Several players shared Kirksey’s point of view and would like to see interim coach Michelle Fortier return. Longtime coach Paul Thomas left the school to coach NCAA Division I Saint Mary’s in August. He led the Gaels to a 14-14 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the West Coast Conference this season. Initially, after four finalists were brought to campus to meet with the team and administrators, high school coach Kevin Kiernan was selected as Thomas’ successor. But mere days after arriving on campus, Kiernan had a change of heart, sending Cal Poly into Plan B in early October. POMONA – Six months ago, the Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball program was in search of a coach. The team hoped by now it would have finished up a successful season, the first of many under a new coach. Instead, uncertainty continues as Cal Poly will undergo its second head coaching search in the last year. “I’m not looking forward to going through this,” said Cal Poly junior Porsche’ Kirksey. “But it’s something you have to do. Because of time considerations, Fortier, one of the other finalists, was named interim coach. She arrived on campus in October less than a week before the first day of practice, knowing the position would be opened again at the end of the season. Britt Sumida, a former Cal Poly player who was an assistant for Thomas last year, managed the program in the absence of a head coach and remained on Fortier’s staff. Adam Rotar joined the staff shortly after Fortier’s arrival, and helped with on-court coaching and handled many of the video duties. “I think they did an outstanding job,” said Rachel Gatdula, the only senior on the team. “Britt made it a lot smoother transition. I tried to help, and coach (Fortier) asked for my opinion. I think it took a little while to get used to the style of play. “If they get a new coach, it would be a lot more to get used to. We did improve, and if we keep the same coach, we’ll be a lot better next year.” Cal Poly finished 9-18 overall, 8-14 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, finishing in eighth place in the 12-team conference. The Broncos were hampered by two major injuries: junior guard Unique Anderson sustained a stress fracture in her leg and was done for the season after playing in the team’s first six games, averaging 6.0 points per game. Junior transfer forward Danah Smith was forced to redshirt to rehabilitate an ailing knee. “We were without a lot of time to prepare, and we did a good job with the hand we were dealt,” Fortier said. Cal Poly athletic director Brian Swanson agreed that Fortier did a good job considering the situation, but made it clear a national search for a coach would continue. The position already has been posted on the NCAA Web site, and a review of applications will begin March 15. The targeted start date for a coach is April16. Fortier will be considered among other candidates. “They competed well against some good teams beating Sonoma State and (Cal State) San Bernardino. I thought the team played very hard, and they were also very young,” Swanson said. “This coaching job is more difficult to evaluate because these are players the coach didn’t recruit and they didn’t have an offseason.” What they don’t want to occur is a repeat of last year’s plight. “A couple of my teammates said they know the exact questions they will ask (the candidates),” Kirksey said. Like they did six months ago, the finalists will go to Cal Poly to meet with administrators and the team before a final decision is made. “I think it’s a good chance to meet the coaches,” junior forward Vanessa Dominguez said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!