SAN JOSE -- Jamie Craighead had to make a tough decision, but is excited about the opportunity to take over as the new women's basketball coach at San Jose State.

Craighead left her perch at Sacramento State on Monday to take over the vacancy at SJSU created by the resignation of Tim La Kose. Her hiring comes less than two weeks before the start of practice.

"Obviously it was really difficult, just like I'm sure it was difficult for the previous coach here," Craighead said Wednesday of leaving Sac State. "You invest in your players lives if you're good at what you do. It's not a business when it comes to them. But there are times when you have to make decisions and put yourself forward. I think as coaches, we tend to be selfless and put our kids in front of our own needs. But this decision was the right one for me."

Craighead praised the vision of the athletic department. She got good feedback about the program from Boise State coach Gordy Presnell, who she coached under at Seattle Pacific and worked with Bleymaier in Boise.

"He thinks this program has a chance to be great," Craighead said of Presnell "It didn't take much convincing. I believe it's a great opportunity. I could see that right away."

Craighead's next step is to meet the team and begin filling her staff. She wouldn't say if any of the current SJSU assistants are expected to stay on or if any of her Sacramento State staff would join her in San Jose.

"It's open at this point and we'll see who joins me," Craighead said.


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Craighead counts Presnell as one of the major influences in her coaching career, along with Loyola Marymount coach Charity Elliott and Dan Muscatell, who was an assistant during Craighead's playing days at Oregon, was her predecessor at Sacramento State and is again an assistant at Oregon.

"I've always wanted to be a coach at this level," Craighead said. "I feel like my playing experience gave me a lot of great tools as well as I've had a lot of great mentors along my path. I've really enjoyed this profession and it's a long-term life for me."

Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.