If a bachelor’s degree in basketball existed, what course would you teach? Why?
I would teach a leadership course. I think that especially for our female athletes it is imperative that they “find their voice”. Being confident and having the ability to communicate under distress and in uncomfortable situations is so important to success on the basketball court, but even more important to their success off the court. Sports teaches us so many life lessons and if we can pass those lessons on and help our athletes become strong leaders, examples and mentors on the floor, they will continue to do that in their daily lives, which to me, is most important.
What’s an item left on your basketball bucket list?
Winning a conference championship and winning a national championship are always the ultimate goals. I have had the privilege to coach some great players. I have been on a staff that has won conference titles, I coached in an NCAA and NAIA national tourney and it’s an amazing experience. Not all coaches have had those experiences, so I am truly blessed to have been a part of those, but with that being said, I would love to win it all. I would love for our players to cut down nets and experience that; few have. We have a couple that have won a high school championship but winning at this level, with the grind that they go through daily, would be special.
Who are your biggest mentors?:
As a coach, I have quite a few, but personally, I probably have even more. I am not sure I could narrow my list to one. Obviously, professionally, my former Weber State head coach and boss, Carla Taylor is a huge part of the person I am today and I owe her a lot. She believed in me as a Class C point guard and helped me become an all-conference Division I player, and then she believed in me again and gave me the opportunity to become a Division I college coach. So, I owe her a tremendous amount. I look up to so many people in this profession. Coach Turcott definitely is on that list. He has done so much here at Carroll and has done so much for me to help me grow in my first head coaching job. My best friend, Shannon Schweyen is definitely someone who I look up to and am always looking for advice and suggestions on how I can be better. Coach (Mike) Van Diest has been a huge mentor for me since I arrived at Carroll and obviously, my family is at the top of that list. They are the biggest factor in what I have been able to do and continue to do.
Which other coaches do you study?:
I study many. I love watching basketball, I love picking the brain of my college ages. I am very fortunate for the years I have spent around college basketball and the network I have been able to establish. Probably daily I am calling an old D-I friend for a drill, a play or just to talk through a strategy that I know they more knowledge on that I do. I watch a ton of film. Of course, I watch us, I watch our opponents but I also watch a lot of what other people are doing and why they are successful and can sustain success with what they do. I never want to stop learning; I never want to feel like this game or the athletes in general have passed me by.
Proudest moment as a coach?:
That is a tough one. There are so many. I mean every time one of my players crosses that stage and receives their diploma or walks out to me on senior night, or comes in my office to tell me about getting into grad school or the big moments in their life that have nothing to do with their successes on the court… it’s those moments when I am the proudest. I am always proud of our players. They do so much in the community, they are rock stars in the classroom, they work their tails off on the court, but it’s the other things that are the most memorable to me. Watching them from 17-18 year old in high school come here, work through everything that life throws at them and to see them struggle, to watch them fail and then keep getting up time after time until they reach the end of their careers, those are the moments that make me the proudest and why I love what I do. I love watching kids believe in something, as much as I do, and fight so hard to reach their goals and then when they get to the end, to know that in some small way I helped them see in themselves what maybe at times they couldn’t.
Favorite basketball memory?:
Boy there have been a lot. I have spent the last like 30 years falling in love with this sport over and over, from playing high school alongside my sister, to being able to compete against and with some of the best basketball players in the country in college, then coaching… it’s a long list. I think your first big wins are always the best. I remember a police escort back for our bus from Pocatello when we won our first Big Sky Championship, to our first NCAA game versus Stanford. Our first NAIA win vs The Masters in Kentucky was a ton of fun; I’d have to say we really enjoyed our first Division I win vs Boise State this year. There are so many good memories, I hope that they just keep coming, I think it’s a good thing if you can’t name just one. I hope that continues.