Coach of the Month

The Coach of the Month honors a coach who has been successful on or off the field, and exemplifies the characteristics of a strong female role model:
resilient, innovative, passionate, authentic, selfless and inspiring.

Do you know a coach deserving of Coach of the Month honors?
Current WeCOACH Members may make nominations for consideration.

Must be logged into your membership account to complete a nomination form

May 2024 Coach of the Month
Asami Morita

Join us in celebrating WCA #39 Grad, Asami Morita, our Coach of the Month for May!
As the first Japanese-born head coach in college basketball, Morita is breaking barriers for Japanese and Asian women in sports. Her historic hiring sets a new standard, making her the first of full Japanese nationality to lead an NCAA basketball program. 👏


April 2024 Coach of the Month
Amber Williams

Join us in congratulating Amber, the trailblazing coach who’s recently been named the Men’s National Coach of the Year for Division III and secured a National Championship! 🏆
Congratulations on your remarkable accomplishments!


March 2024 Coach of the Month
Charmin Smith

Congrats on making the 2024 Most Impactful People in Women’s College Basketball list by Silver Wave Media. Your efforts to address underrepresentation in women’s basketball is inspiring to us all.


February 2024 Coach of the Month
Cursty Le Roux

This month we are celebrating excellence!

For the month of February we are honoring Cursty Le Roux and her National Championship run this year!


January 2024 Coach of the Month
Donna Ricks

For the month of January, we honor Donna Ricks for winning her first National Championship and being this month’s Coach Of The Month!


December 2023 Coach of the Month
Erin Matson

For the month of December the youngest coach in Division 1 History
to win a National Championship, Erin Matson.



November 2023 Coach of the Month
Sue Burmester, Kelsey Howard, and Kateri Linville

This month we are celebrating excellence!

For the month of November, we honor three exceptional coaches who were each recently recognized as a recipient of the 2023 IWLCA Outstanding Assistant Coaches.

Congratulations to Sue Burmester, Kelsey Howard, and Kateri Linville on this remarkable achievement.

October 2023 Coach of the Month
Stephanie White

Stephanie became only the fourth former WNBA player to win the coveted WNBA Coach of the Year Award this season!

September 2023 Coach of the Month
Sam Mullet

At Bear Lake High School, Sam commands the football field as head coach, but her influence reaches far beyond.  She’s shaping more than athletes; she’s crafting future leaders by instilling vital life lessons through the game.
We applaud Sam for her remarkable commitment to holistic coaching! 

August 2023 Coach of the Month
Lindsey Harding

Congrats to Coach Lindsey Harding, our August Coach of the Month!
She was appointed Head Coach of the Stockton Kings & is the First Black Woman to serve as a Head Coach of a pro men’s basketball team in the U.S.

July 2023 Coach of the Month
Patty Gasso

We’re elated to congratulate Coach Gasso on her 3rd straight National Championship and 6th Natty in 10 years at Oklahoma Softball! Gasso’s leadership and dedication to the program have helped shape it into a national powerhouse.

June 2023 Coaches of the Month
NCAA WCA Class #52 &
NCAA Academy 2.0 Class #6

This month, we recognize the over 120 participants in the 2023 NCAA Women Coaches Academy and NCAA Academy 2.0 as our combined Coach of the Month!
Congratulations again to all of those who participated. We are so proud of the work you put in and growth that can be seen in EACH of you!

May 2023 Co-Coaches of the Month
Shontrese Comeaux
Texas Southern Cheer Coach

Comeaux led her program to a National Championship and was the FIRST HBCU cheer program EVER to WIN a National Title. 

Mariah Stewart & Angela Williams
Norview High School (Virginia) Baseball Team Coaches

Norview baseball gained a season thanks in large part to this new baseball dynamic duo at the school. 

April 2023 Coach of the Month
Courtney Boyd
Head Women’s Basketball Coach
Clarke University

WeCOACH is proud to honor Courtney Boyd as our April Coach of the Month!

2023 National Coach of the Year 🏆
2023 NAIA National Champions 🏆
& she’s just warming up.
Thank you for inspiring girls and women everywhere to pursue their dreams! 

March 2023 Coach of the Month

Our March Coach of the Month belongs to each and every one of YOU!
Thank you WeCOACH members for cultivating an inclusive community where the voice of women coaches is stronger together.
If you can see her, you can be her!

February 2023 Co-Coaches of the Month
Channing Kimball Hurst
High Performance Manager, USA Diving

WCA CLASS #35 (2014)
Coach Kimball Hurst joined fellow WCA Grad, Adams, on the USA Diving staff as the High Performance Manager in November 2022.


Leslie Hasselback Adams, Arcadia University
High Performance Director, USA Diving

WCA CLASS #29 (2013)

Coach Adams has been a key asset in the success of USA Diving and was promoted from High Performance Manager to High Performance Director at the end of August 2022.

January 2023 Coach of the Month
Margueritte Aozasa, UCLA
Head Women’s Soccer Coach

Coach Aozasa became the first coach in NCAA women’s soccer history to win a National Championship in their first year as a head coach. They were also the first team in College Cup history to come back from two goals down to win the National Championship. She became the fourth female head coach and second Asian American head coach to win a National Championship.
Congrats, Coach Aozasa!

December 2022 Coach of the Month
Donika Sutton, Tennessee State University
Head Women’s Volleyball Coach

Coach Sutton, a graduate of the Women Coaches Academy – Class #51, is now an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Champion! Her team brought home the title for the first time since 2007 which earned them a berth in the NCAA tournament. 

 Congrats to WCA Class #51, Coach Sutton!

November 2022 Co-Coaches of the Month
Julianne Sitch, University of Chicago
Head Men’s Soccer Coach

Julianne became the second woman of a men’s soccer team in the UAA in April 2022. Since 2020, Sitch has served as Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach for the Chicago Red Stars, who compete in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). At the same time, Sitch was the Head Women’s Soccer Coach of the Chicago Red Stars Reserves.
The 2021 reserves won the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Great Lakes Conference championship.


Kim Wyant, New York University
Head Men’s Soccer Coach

The first female head coach of a men’s soccer team in the UAA. Also a member of the Region I U.S. National Team’s goalkeeping staff, Wyant served as a FIFA staff coach and as head coach for the Long Island Girls’ Select Program. 




Kim & Julianne
Both of these women competed in a Historic First on October 28, 2022 as it was the first time two NCAA men’s soccer programs were led by two female coaches. They both compete in the University Athletic Association.


Congrats, Julianne and Kim!

October 2022 Coach of the Month
Kelsey Koelzer, Arcadia University
Head Women’s Ice Hockey Coach

Arcadia University women’s ice hockey coach Kelsey Koelzer relies on experience from her trailblazing career. The 27-year-old is preparing for her second season at the helm of Arcadia’s women’s ice hockey team, a program she launched at the Division III school outside Philadelphia. Coach Koelzer is the NCAA’s first black woman coach in the sport. 

Congratulations Kelsey!

September 2022 Coach of the Month
Mesha Levister, Lincoln University of Missouri
Director of Golf
2021 WCA #50; 2022 Academy 2.0 #5

Coach Levister is the first-ever African American woman to lead both golf programs in MIAA history and is currently the only African American woman leading a golf program in the conference.

She has spent the last 17 years teaching, mentoring, and developing golfers, and in 2021-22, she was selected as a Tara VanDerveer Fellow by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Congratulations Mesha!

August 2022 Coach of the Month
June Villers, Waxahachie High School (TX)
Head Coach, Track & Field

After winning eight team state titles as the girls head track coach at DeSoto High School in Texas, June Villers left the legendary program to become the girls head track & field coach at Waxahachie High School.

Villers has been inducted into the Texas Track and Field Hall of Fame (2018) & the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame (June 2022).

In February 2022 she was named the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) girls coach of the year—the very first and only female coach ever to receive the award!

Congratulations June!

July 2022 Coach of the Month
WeCOACH Community

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, we are honoring our entire WeCOACH community. Our community of women coaches continues to show strength, resiliency and passion for one another. Thank you for being strong, selfless leaders, and for the influential impact you have on your student-athletes and future women coaches! Together we will MOVE the NUMBERS to support and increase women in coaching.

June 2022 Co-Coaches of the Month
Dr. Ashley Johnson, Clark Atlanta University, Head Coach, Volleyball
Dawn Barnes, South Carolina State University, Head Coach, Volleyball
2022 WCA #51Graduates | 2022 WCA Impact Award Recipients


Valerie Lohr, St. Mary’s Upper Hall School, Head Coach, Field Hockey
2022 Academy 2.0 #5 Graduate | 2019 WCA #47 Graduate | 2022 Cecile Reynaud Coaching Mastery Award Recipient


Congratulations, Ashley, Dawn and Valerie!

May 2022 Co-Coaches of the Month
Felecia Mulkey, Baylor University
Head Coach, Acrobatics & Tumbling

Coach Mulkey led Baylor University to their seventh straight NCATA national championship, making it her 11th consecutive title in her coaching career.


Alyssa Nakken, San Francisco Giants
Assistant Coach 

As the first woman to have a full-time coaching role in Major League Baseball, Coach Nakken blazed another trail by becoming the first woman to coach on the field in an MLB game.


Congratulations, Felecia and Alyssa!

April 2022 Coach of the Month
Meg Barber, New York University
Head Coach, Women’s Basketball

In her 4th season, Coach Barber led her team to their first outright UAA title since 1997 and the program’s sixth Elite Eight appearance, while garnering WBCA Division III National Coach of the Year honors. Congratulations, Meg!


March 2022 Co-Coaches of the Month
Carol Hutchins, University of Michigan
Head Coach, Softball

In her 38th season at the helm, Coach Hutchins is back on top as the winningest softball coach in NCAA history.


Courtney Ward, Park Crossing High School (AL)
Head Coach, Boys Basketball 

In only her second season, Coach Ward led her team to its first-ever state tournament appearance, while becoming the first woman coach to lead a boys basketball team to the Alabama State Final Four.


Get to know Coach Ward:

You’re now in your seventh season coaching, and your second season coaching the Park Crossing High School Boys Basketball team. Your team recently made it to the Alabama State High School Basketball Final Four making you the first woman to lead a boys team that far in the tournament. Tell us how this has impacted you as a coach, your program and the future women coaches that will lead male teams.
Being a female coaching a group of guys was never something that I ever envisioned. When I was asked to coach this team I saw it as another opportunity to coach a group of kids and give them the opportunities I had as a basketball player. I admit coaching boys has helped me to discover more coaching techniques within myself in coaching at a higher pace. I have become more strategic in my approach as a boys coach than with coaching girls. Coaching this game will always be about how bad you want it not only for yourself but for those you teach. As for future woman coaches, leading male teams, I think the approach is the same as leading females – Fearless. Trusting. Loyal. Remember, a man will always need a mother to be there every step of the way. Besides my boys mothers, I’m their next go to.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I first started coaching girls at Sidney Lanier High School where the girls program only won 3 games in 5 years. The boys coach (Brian Williams, former University of Alabama basketball player) asked me to coach. My first response was, “oh nooooooo”. “These kids don’t want it”. He kept asking and I finally gave in. I bought Gatorade for the kids and they literally started crying, saying no one has ever did something like that for them. From there, even if they had 0 wins in the season I still treated and coached them like they were a championship team. This group gave it their all. Whatever I asked they did. They fought hard, they had my back as their coach. Although, they were not my most talented girls team, I’ll choose them any day because of their work ethic. I consider all of my transitions my greatest accomplishments. Every year we did better as a team. Lanier had only won 3 games in 5 years, before I came, ended the season winning the area, and then playing in the regional championship game. Pike Road: my first year with NO SENIOR CLASS: runner up in area championship as well as runner up in regional championship first year. Following year area champs, regional champs, first pike road final four appearance with first senior class. Park Crossing: in 2 years area champs, regional champs, first time in school history making it to the final four.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I think the hardest thing I’ve overcame is being on bed rest with my daughter my last year at pike road. I wasn’t able to go to any games because of my restrictions. I had a great coaching staff especially Quawon Baldwin, who has been with me since my first year coaching at Lanier. He led the team to secure our titles, by the Grace of God I was allowed to go to the final four with the team, with restrictions that I sat down the entire time. Being at home while my team was playing games was devastating for me. I had to wait until the game was over to hear outcomes, couldn’t see for myself. It was awful!

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Definitely my mom. There has never been a day in my life that my mom has not showed me the ways of being successful, working hard, putting yourself in positions to better yourself, and balancing being a parent while building success. She leads by example in many ways, first as a woman of great faith. She’s constantly giving it her all in all that she does and making her family a priority. She supports everything I do and is always there to cheer me on and even call me out when necessary. She has just been a positive influence in my life.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
My advice is to believe in yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. If this is your passion go for it. I realized that just because I am a woman coaching guys doesn’t mean I don’t know the game. I know the game, therefore, I can teach it. Never be afraid to go after your dreams and your goals.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I must admit I have been blessed with a lot of amazing mentors who are absolutely awesome at what they do. My former high school coach (Tim Miller, Hazel Green Girls Basketball Coach) has won eight state championships. I can call him whenever about whatever. Most of all, Coach Sue, there’s never a moment that I’m not learning from her. She is constantly imparting her wisdom on me. Every year I learn from myself and try my best to capture from my mistakes. What could I have done better in certain situations. Growing and getting better is a priority to me so I try.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I have two of the best kids in the world! My oldest Kyrie (9 yrs old) is very athletic so he keeps me going playing football basketball and baseball. His football team (Montgomery Gators is currently ranked #8 in the nation). My youngest Kali (1 yr old) is the boss lady doing mommy and me dance classes and keeping me busy and entertained. Being able to enjoy life with them is everything to me.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t get comfortable, shoot for the stars. Never limit yourself in what I can actually be for myself but as well as others.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
If I did anything different, I probably wouldn’t be answering these questions. I’m in a position where there’s always opportunities to grow. I’m just thankful to be put in a position to live up to something I admire and love doing.

Anything else you want to share?
I am just really grateful for this opportunity to share a little bit of story. My journey has not been easy, it has taken a lot of commitment and hard work. There has been some bumps in the road but I have enjoyed the journey and I absolutely love coaching!

Congratulations, Carol and Courtney!

February 2022 Coach of the Month
Colleen Murphy, Air Force Academy
Head Coach, Swimming

Now in her 5th season as head coach at the Air Force Academy, and recently honored as one of the 100 greatest swimming & diving coaches in the past 100 years, Coach Murphy shares with us her keys to success, advice for up-and-coming women coaches, and the woman who greatly influenced her coaching career.

Get to know Coach Murphy:

Now in your 5th season as head coach and 10th overall, you were recently honored as one of the 100 greatest swimming & diving coaches in the past 100 years. How has that honor impacted you and your program?
It was a great honor to be included with so many amazing coaches. I think the best part was sharing the honor with Casey Converse who was my mentor and boss here at Air Force during my first 5 years at the Academy. To be able to have two coaches from the Air Force Academy on that list was quite an accomplishment for our school. In addition, my mentors from Oakland University were honored on that list as well; I was lucky to be considered along with so many great coaches.

You were the first woman swimming coach to win a National Championship and one of only a few to win a championship as a coach and student-athlete. At Air Force, your teams have experienced a lot of success in the pool, from breaking school records to having the first-ever Division I All-American. Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?  Coaching at the Air Force Academy is such a great honor. At Air Force, athletics are an integral part of developing our nation’s next officers; it is about the whole person and not just about their sport. Swimming is part of their development into a leader and the qualities of dedication, teamwork, time management, grit, and overcoming adversity are all essential qualities as they graduate and become officers in the Air Force. Thus, the success they have in the pool both as individuals and as a team directly correlates to their Air Force careers and helps them lead airmen right out of college. We are successful in the pool because we see the big picture and know that their four years at the Academy develop them for their futures. I honestly believe my greatest accomplishment is watching every swimmer develop over their four year experience at Air Force and seeing them flourish as leaders in the Air Force.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I think I have had two great challenges during my career. The first would be juggling my role as a working mom and a coach. I have been very lucky to have a husband who understands college swimming and supports me in my career goals. My children have grown up around pools and each has found their passion away from the pool, they understand my career and they understand that women have the ability to be good at multiple things. I make every effort to always be present for my children and to attend their events and support them in their individual pursuits. The other challenge I had was taking some time away from coaching in my early 30s and returning to the college ranks; it was very hard to get my foot back in the door and I am so thankful to Casey Converse for giving me that chance to return to the sport I love,

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I have had a lot of amazing mentors throughout my career. Anne Goodman-James has been such an amazing part of my life throughout my career and has become a mentor and confidant now that we both live in Colorado Springs. She is a working mom and has coached at every level of college swimming. Her advice, counsel, wisdom and friendship have been invaluable in my life. As a fellow female coach, it is so important to have female mentors in our life and Anne has been that mentor to me.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Always ask questions, never assume you know it all, keep learning, and seek out mentors. Most swimming coaches are excited to share their knowledge with others and are happy to help you. Women can do both, they can have families and coach; learn balance and realize that you are modeling for the next generation. Flexibility, communication, and loyalty are so important in college coaching; college athletes are very good at reading a room and will feed off your enthusiasm and energy.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I am an avid reader and enjoy reading books about teamwork, communication, sports psychology etc. I always ask other coaches what they are doing. I have been part of mentor groups through the CSCAA and as the “older” mentor I have learned so much from the younger coaches and enjoy their excitement and enthusiasm for the sport and their plethora of new ideas. I reach out to my mentors all the time to hear what’s working for them or their favorite practices etc. Plain and simple, never stop learning!

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love to run for exercise, it gives me great clarity. After every run I walk my dogs and I enjoy slowing down and seeing the beauty of Colorado. My son is a theater kid, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the theater world and watching him on stage. I love going to Broadway shows with my kids and having them enjoy the arts. My daughter has recently decided hockey is her sport, so I am getting a crash course in ice hockey and enjoying that too.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
As a young coach I lived and breathed everything swimming, my whole life centered around my sport. I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy the journey a little more; it’s ok to take the vacation and get some rest. My kids have helped so much in allowing me to learn and grow in other areas of my life.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I am very happy with where I am at now, yes there were always challenges; but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing, each and every challenge has helped me grow into a better person and coach.

Anything else you want to share?
WeCOACH is such a great community of coaches. Being able to connect with other female coaches across all sports has honestly been an amazing experience. Every coach should have the opportunity to do a coaches academy and connect with others.

Congratulations, Colleen!

January 2022 Coach of the Month
Molly Marrin, Regis University
Head Coach, Basketball

In the seventh year of leading her alma mater, Coach Marrin recently earned her 100th career win. She shares with us what that milestone has meant to her and the program, her keys to success, and who has been her greatest coaching influence.

Get to know Coach Marrin:

You’re in your seventh season as head coach at your alma mater and recently notched your 100th career win. What does that milestone mean to you and your program?
It’s rewarding and humbling at the same time. Former and current players, staff, administrators, and supporters have made huge commitments to make every win possible. While it occurred seven years ago, it’s still surreal that I got the opportunity to serve as the head coach at my alma mater. I replaced my former head coach, Linda Raunig, who has over 400 wins and is the winningest women’s basketball coach in the RMAC. She set the bar so high that I still approach this job with humility.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

It’s my job to invest in the future of players and staff. I believe it’s important to put the person before the player and to let your team and staff know that you care more about their progress and growth than the results. Through some tough-Iove coaching and conversations, I want our players and staff to be prepared with lessons that help them be successful after their time at Regis. Just as I was encouraged as a student and young assistant, I think my greatest accomplishment at Regis is helping elevate people for their careers and life. When I hear about former players succeeding in graduate school and working in careers they love, I am overjoyed. In seven years, three former players have landed positions in college coaching. Two of my former assistants are now coaching in D1, and two are head coaches in the RMAC.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?

We lost an incoming player named Mackenzie Forrest in a car accident my first year as a Head Coach. We have honored Lil Mac since her death with a locker and by putting her number with a ribbon on our shooting shirts. I often wear her #33 orange wristband during games. The loss of Lil Mac has made me more grateful that I get to do what I love every day, and I hope that gratitude is evident to all the players.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?

Amy Ruley at North Dakota State University (NDSU) was very influential in my coaching career. Her success included Five National Championships and over 600 wins as a WBCA Hall of Famer. She helped prepare me to coach with character, put the person before the player, and have a winning mindset in everything I do. She trusted me to do my job as Recruiting Coordinator. We have had a great relationship since leaving NDSU in 2008, and I work to emulate professionalism and character.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Be willing and excited to do whatever is asked of you in your role to support the program and the head coach. Be transparent with your boss about your goals, especially when you are seeking another job. Grow where your feet are planted and ask to learn about areas outside of your current role so that your head coach can help prepare you for future opportunities. Find someone you respect to mentor you and reach out to more women to empower them. Support women with their goals and challenges to help grow the game.

How do you continue learning and growing?

I lean on mentors, administrators, and coaching peers, especially when faced with demanding situations or something I haven’t faced before. I read books, listen to podcasts, and coaching platforms on leadership, team culture, and team building. I also use tools to evaluate past seasons and watch films on the cooperative efforts of teams that are the most successful to improve on our X’s and O’s. I watch NCAA college WBB and WBNA games to see what innovative ideas might apply to our system and personnel.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?

I love to cook for the team and friends. I enjoy anything outside including gardening, kayaking, fishing, golfing, camping, and exploring the beautiful landscape of Colorado. I love spending quality time with family and friends.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
To stay focused on the controllable things and live more in the present moment.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I would have allowed myself to be more vulnerable in my younger years. I am learning that it helps build more open communication.

Congratulations, Molly!

December 2021 Coach of the Month
Bianca Smith, Boston Red Sox
Minor League Coach

Hired in January 2021 by the Boston Red Sox organization, the first Black woman to serve as a coach in the history of professional baseball, Coach Smith talks about how this opportunity changed her life, her keys to success and the importance of having the right people in your corner.

Get to know Coach Smith:

You were hired by the Boston Red Sox as a Minor League coach, making you the first Black woman to serve as a coach in the history of professional baseball. Almost a year has passed since you began that journey, how has this coaching opportunity changed your life?
Besides the complete media craziness that came with the announcement, this coaching opportunity allowed me to focus solely on coaching for the first time. It’s crazy what you can accomplish when you don’t have to prioritize your time doing something else besides your passion. I feel like I can be a better coach when I don’t have to worry about other jobs on the side because I have more time not only to dedicate to my players, but I also have more time to dedicate to becoming the best coach I can be.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I think my biggest key is viewing coaching as a discussion and not just instructing. I try to make sure that my players have developed the trust and relationship with me so that coaching becomes a conversation, allowing the players to truly be invested in their own development, but also showing that I’m in it for them, not for my career. You can’t call yourself a coach without your players, so it should always be about your players. I consider my greatest accomplishment to be any time I build the type of relationship with a player that they come to me about non-baseball things. I always feel like I’m doing the right thing.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Getting that first paid coaching position. Paid positions require experience but it’s hard to gain unpaid experience when you need to pay the bills. It’s even harder when you didn’t have an established career or extended network from playing to fall back on that many new male coaches have.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
My mom for sure. She started law school while I was a high school senior because her dream had always been to go to law school, not even to be a lawyer, just to go to school (she did become a lawyer after). She always emphasized following your dreams and making sure you do something for a living that you truly enjoy.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Either ignore the critics because their words don’t matter, or use their criticism as fuel to get better. Also, surround yourself with supporters, even if that means cutting out negative people from your life. This isn’t an easy life so it’s important to have the right people in your corner.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I pursue certifications, read baseball books, follow other coaches on social media, and attend baseball clinics and conventions. Pretty much I try to gather as much information as I can from every area that I can.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
A lot, haha – reading, writing, drawing, playing piano, baking, singing, dancing, traveling, bowling, roller blading, karaoke, throwing, hitting in the cages etc. When I’m out of the house I love to stay active and move around and when I’m at home I love to relax with a book or a movie.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Ignore everyone’s expectations for you and just do what you love, even if it might disappoint people.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Not really. I think everything I’ve done was essential to getting me to where I am today, even the difficult or frustrating moments.

Anything else you want to share?
Thanks WeCOACH for being such a strong support network!

Congratulations, Bianca!

November 2021 Coach of the Month
Lisa Cellucci, University of Iowa
Head Coach, Field Hockey

Having been part of Iowa Field Hockey for over two decades as a player, assistant coach and now in her eighth year as head  coach, Lisa has coached multiple player of the years, won multiple coaching honors, guided her team this past Spring to its 12th NCAA Final Four and just recently led her team to the outright Big Ten regular season title, its first since 1999. She shares with us who has been her greatest influence, her keys to success and advice for up-and-coming women coaches.

Get to know Coach Cellucci:

You were a 3x all-american while playing at Iowa and have been coaching at your alma mater for 22 seasons, eight of those as the head coach. What has it meant to you to be able to continue the tradition you have been a part of for over two decades?
The words that come to my mind right away are pride, privilege and responsibility. My time as a student athlete at Iowa was unbelievable. I cherished every moment of it. I had the opportunity to be a part of something very special and be surrounded by amazing women and at the same time win Big Ten championships, advance to Final Fours and get a fantastic education.  I had outstanding coaches who were unbelievable mentors and teammates who pushed me to better each and every day. It was always my dream to be able to coach at my alma mater.

The Iowa Field Hockey tradition speaks for itself and I have gone to work everyday for the past 22 years to uphold and build on that tradition. To me it’s not pressure but rather a privilege. And with privilege comes great responsibility. Responsibility to be a keeper of this legacy, to represent all of the women that came before me, and the responsibility to develop selfless, accountable, strong and powerful women that will thrive after graduation and will forever represent Iowa field hockey.

Coming off the 2021 spring season where you were named Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year and guided your team to the Final Four for the first time since 2008, talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach.
I think consistency in my preparation and a process orientated approach each and every day have been some keys to my success as a coach. My communication and decisions are always formulated with the values and standards of our program at the forefront and we place the utmost importance of communicating the “why” behind everything we do. I take personal responsibility to ensure that myself, my staff, and my team are consistently behaving and living the values of the program. One of those values is ownership. We put exercises and concepts into daily training and meeting situations that allow and challenge the athletes to take ownership in all that we are trying to achieve.

Lastly, from an early age my parents always instilled in me the importance of building meaningful relationships. I prioritize getting to know my athletes and building trust. It is impossible to communicate to all of them individually each day so throughout the course of a season I make a point to reach out to them in different ways, at different times, and in different manners. Either through calls, texts, handwritten notes, or face to face contact, I make sure they know I am with them on this journey and I care about them and are paying attention to all that is going on.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment is seeing the young women I have coached grow and develop into independent, poised, strong women who are phenomenal leaders, professionals, moms, wives, etc. Knowing they are making an impact on the world is so rewarding. I am also really proud of helping to lead Iowa field hockey back to consistent national prominence.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The circumstances that led to me stepping into my current role as head coach in August of 2014. My boss and best friend, Tracey Griesbaum was unjustly terminated out of the blue due to an anonymous athlete complaint only a week before preseason was set to begin. As the associate head coach at the time and an alumnus, I was asked to take over as head coach. I was unbelievably conflicted because I knew first hand how we operated as a staff and that was with the greatest care for the athletes and I believed 100% in all we were doing. I felt an extreme responsibility to this program, the alumni, to the athletes and to Tracey. I found myself 8 days before preseason as a coach needing to try and focus, motivate and, keep together a team that was devastated when I was unbelievably conflicted and in the midst of my own mourning. The ensuing months and several years were very difficult personally and professionally and I was challenged and tested in ways that I could never have imagined.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Yes. Tracey Griesbaum. She was my assistant coach in college and then I worked for her as an assistant coach at Iowa for 14 years. I was lucky to be led by one of the best in the business and it was an honor to work for her. Tracey was one of the best technical and tactical coaches in the country and was unbelievably creative, forward thinking and a great problem solver so of course I learned those pieces from her but what I always was amazed at and what I know made her such a successful leader was her consistency and her integrity. She was consistent in her preparation, she was always prepared with every detail, consistent in her communication, and most important, she was consistent in her emotion and demeanor, she never got too high or too low, and that was calming to the team and staff in those intense moments that you so often find yourself. Anyone who knows Tracey knows her character and her integrity to consistently exceed the highest standards of behavior. She was a model of professionalism, preparedness, and poise. Everyday, Tracey modeled her leadership just as she wanted her teams to play, act, and carry themselves- it was so impressive and it is something I try to emulate every day.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Surround yourself with people who compliment your weakness and share your passions. Work to become a more intentional communicator. Listen to respond instead of react. Delivering an effective message can make all the difference.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I read, listen to podcasts, and rely on a handful of great colleagues that I know I can bounce ideas off and who will tell it to me straight. I attend professional development events within our sport. I have hired and worked with other professionals who can help me and my team improve (Communication specialist, psychologists, etc).

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love spending time with my family, especially my nieces and nephews. I unfortunately live 15 hours away from family (they all live in PA) so whenever I get the opportunity to be with them I take full advantage of it. I also like to bike and take long walks with good friends. Lastly, I love good movies or TV series, it is one of the few things that helps me turn my mind off at the end of the day.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Brave leaders are never silent around hard things. What we permit we promote.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Make time out of your day to take care of yourself and spend the time with those that matter most to you rather than always prioritizing work. Enjoy the special moments that come along on this coaching journey and be as present as possible in those moments.

Anything else you want to share?
The WeCOACH community has been an incredible resource and I love learning from so many intelligent, strong, powerful women! Thank you WeCOACH.

Congratulations, Lisa!

  October 2021 Coach of the Month
  Paula Kirkland, Dorman High School (SC)
  Head Coach, Volleyball

  In what is now her 41st season at Dorman High School, Coach Kirkland is a legend in South Carolina. Reaching a 1000 wins, a              record 13 state champions and countless coaching honors, she shares with us her keys to success and the women who influenced    her coaching journey.

  Get to know Coach Kirkland:

You have had incredible success in what is now your 41st season at Dorman High School. A record 13 state championships in volleyball, being named to the MaxPreps’ list of the 50 greatest female high school coaches, numerous regional, state and national Coach of the Year honors and were a 2014 inductee into the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame. Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach.
There are so many reasons for success. One is to prepare your teams in practice. IF I wait until game day to try and introduce a new concept then I am way too late. I spend way more time focusing on what my team can do and can do better than I ever do working on a scouting report. We find what we do best, get even better at that and work on getter better at everything else. Value the contribution of each and every player regardless of their role, this includes coaches on your staff. It truly does take a village to be successful. Never ever hesitate to seek out the help of others. There is always more than one way to skin a cat.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is being a part of creating the type culture we have here at Dorman.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I really do not have anything I’ve had to overcome. I’ve had to learn and grow, be willing to adjust and be flexible. Times change and if I don’t adapt then we will be left behind.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Several women have been instrumental in my career in athletics. I would say that my college basketball coach, Frankie Porter probably had the biggest influence on how I coach in addition to Mary Roland Griffin at Winthrop. Coach Griffin was huge on being prepared and taking care of that in practice. Coach Porter was a master at making people feel included and special, everyone had worth regardless of their role on the team. And then there was Bonnie Kenny who was the Head Volleyball Coach at the University of South Carolina in the ‘0’s. She actually taught me how to teach the game.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Never ever be afraid to ask for help. If you do not know how to approach a problem find someone who does. Also, befriend the folks who make things happen behind the scenes (the custodian, etc).

How do you continue learning and growing?
I read, ask, research and attend as many clinics as possible.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I enjoy reading, puzzles, my pets, camping, hiking, disc golf, regular golf, etc.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Never assume anything is taken care of.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Not really.

Congratulations, Paula!

August 2021 Coach of the Month
Marci Robles, George Washington University
Head Coach, Rowing

The CRCA Region 1 Coach of the Year, Marci Robles shares with us what that award meant, her advice to up-and-coming women coaches and how her mentor influenced and motivated her as a coach.

Get to know Coach Robles:

You recently received CCRC Region 1 Coach of the Year honors – tell us what that means to you and the impact it has made on your coaching journey?
I was so humbled. It’s such an honor to be recognized by your peers so I’m incredibly grateful to have even just been nominated. I also think that it’s a recognition that goes beyond me – it’s an award for my team and my staff and support staff. It was a tough year for everyone and we were able to get through it and thrive together.

You have been able to be teammates with and coach male athletes – what have you learned from that experience that helped you develop your coaching skill set that carried forward to your role at George Washington?
I don’t know that there’s a distinction between what I’ve learned in having coached/been teammates with men vs. women. I think of my role as that of an educator – much like a teacher, it’s my job to figure out how to communicate effectively with everyone. On a team of 40-60 athletes, you’re going to have so many different learning and communication styles. I think being committed to strengthening that skill set has certainly helped get me to where I am now.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Anytime I see an athlete progress when it comes to confidence and self-efficacy, that’s a huge win. I think being able to lead with empathy as been crucial in seeing success as a coach.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
This past year and a half has probably been the toughest thing to overcome in my career, as I’m sure it was for so many of us. In rowing, there are so many things that can go wrong and there are so many things out of your control…but you do what can to prepare for them. There was no way to know how to prepare for what we’ve experienced. Everything we were navigating was uncharted territory including how to respond to and process it all.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I spent two summers in Oklahoma City working for Reilly Dampeer, the Head Coach and High Performance Program Manager at the Training Center there. I’m so lucky to have her as a mentor – she had so much faith in me and pushed me outside my comfort zone in a way where she was also building me up both when it came to skill level and confidence. She is so committed to developing coaches and is always striving to learn more and improve herself. That’s been so inspiring for me to watch and it motivates me to strive to do the same

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Make sure you have a solid support system and network, network, network! Put the work in to put yourself out there – I’ve been lucky in that I’ve worked for coaches that really helped me build the network of people I know in our sport and that’s been a big part of why I am where I am today.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I try surround myself with people who are smarter, are better at things than I am, have had different experiences from mine, and are as eager to learn and grow as I am. Some of my favorite moments during the year are sitting in the office with staff and having deep, meaning conversations about our sport. I also try to find opportunities to learn about things outside of my sport – I find that balance keeps me fresh and engaged when I’m spending time on rowing.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Spending time with my dog! I also love reading, photography, catching up on my podcasts, and traveling (when I can make time for it)

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Practice more self-compassion. I think it’s easy to for me to be compassionate towards others. I try to remind myself to work on being more patient with myself.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I think if I had been asked that question a few years ago, I would have said yes. But I don’t think I’d be where I am now if I had done things differently. I’m back home in a city I love, close to family, and at a job that I love. I’ve had some tough experiences but they helped get me to where I am today.

Anything else you want to share?
I really appreciate being a part of WeCOACH! It’s such a wonderful community and a tremendous resource.

Congratulations, Marci!

July 2021 Coach of the Month
Golda Borst, University of Kentucky
Head Coach, Golf

After guiding her team to their first NCAA Golf Championship finals since 1992, Coach Borst shares with us what that berth has meant to the program, her three keys to success, and her advise to up-and-coming women coaches!

Get to know Coach Borst:

Your team broke through and made it to the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship finals this year – the program’s first since 1992. Share with us what that means for your program.
It’s hard to put into words what it means, to reach the finals has been a work in progress for 11 years and to finally make it means the world to me and this program. It means that we broke through the glass ceiling, it means that we put KWG (Kentucky Women’s Golf) on the National stage. It shows the former, current and future players that we Can and Will compete at the highest level within our sport, that we are on our way to competing for the National Championship.

What lessons did you learn about navigating a team through a pandemic that you will use moving forward?
That communication and trust is everything. We couldn’t meet as a team or spend a lot of time together throughout the fall and that was really hard on everyone. I learned a lot that semester and received some great feedback from my team. We used that and worked on our team environment more in the spring. We chose to trust each other more in terms of the decisions that each individual was making around COVID, and I think we communicated better as a group; those are two things that we will continue to work on as we keep moving forward.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Life balance, self-belief and sticking to my coaching philosophy. I think those three things sum up my keys to success pretty good. Family is very important to me, my husband and I wanted to have a family, now we have two beautiful daughters along with successful careers of our own. It’s a tough balance, one that we work on every day, some days we get it right, some days we don’t. But it’s something that I work on a lot, being a good wife, a good mom and a good coach. Showing up each day and dong what is right in my heart for me and for everyone around me. Getting that balance right has been hard work, but I feel pretty good about where I am right now with that.

Self-belief is the next key. I have been a head coach now for 11 years and there has definitely been times where I haven’t had much confidence or self-belief. If you aren’t careful, this profession will knock those two things down in a hurry, if your self-worth is wrapped up in your team’s performance. That’s where I found myself several years ago, and it wasn’t much fun. I started to look at myself and my program more holistically and wrote out my coaching philosophy. I found my voice and coached the team how I wanted to and slowly but surely, things have fallen into place.

I think my greatest accomplishment as a coach, truly, is starting to re-work the culture of this team a few years ago. Staying consistent and getting the team to a spot where we genuinely felt and knew that we could qualify for the national championship. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done as a coach, but it has been extremely rewarding.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I had an administrator that I really struggled with. We communicated and worked very differently and I had to navigate my way through that. That was very hard and I almost didn’t want to coach because of it.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I think there has been, and continues to be, many strong women in my life that have shaped me. My mother is the first one. She is as tough as they come, very successful and a strong, strong woman and leader. She has always told me that I am good enough, just how I am; I don’t have to be something or someone that I’m not.

The second is my first real boss and head coach, Karen Bahnsen. She took a chance on me as her assistant coach at LSU, she saw something in me, and she gave me an opportunity. She didn’t only teach me how to be a coach, she came into my life at the right time I think, and mentored me in ways that I hadn’t experienced up until that point. I had a lot of things change in my life when I first started at LSU, I had just gotten married, moved and started a new job. She believed in me and trusted me and we haven’t looked back since. .

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Find your voice, trust what you are doing, don’t be afraid to speak up and find a boss that will listen to you and hear you. Coaching is getting tougher and tougher on many different levels. Work on creating the environment you want around you and stick with it.

How do you continue learning and growing?
Mainly podcasts, reading different articles and finding different educational programs or developmental courses that I think will challenge me to grow and get better. You can’t stand still in coaching and the players are always getting better so we, as coaches, have to get better and keep educating ourselves as well.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Spending time with my family and traveling! I love traveling and seeing new places and I’m so excited for this summer as we can start to travel with our kids again.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t be so hard on yourself and genuinely enjoy the great moments when they come; be present in them and enjoy them.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I don’t think so, I wouldn’t be the coach I am today if it wasn’t for all the lessons I have learned along the way, due to the bumps in the road that I have had.

Anything else you want to share?
As coaches, we will face choppy waters at times, stay consistent, have a steady rudder and believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who will support you and be there for you no matter what your team does or doesn’t do. Your self-worth does not revolve around how your team performs on the course (or track, pool, field, court, etc.).

Congratulations, Golda!

June 2021 Coach of the Month
Taylor Bastien, Bentley University
Head Coach, Lacrosse

After guiding her team to their first NE10 conference title & first NCAA Division II Lacrosse Championship berth, Coach Bastien shares with us what this season has meant, her keys to success and lessons learned navigating her team through the pandemic.

Get to know Coach Bastien:

For the first time in program history, your team won the NE10 conference title and will compete in the NCAA Division II Lacrosse Championships – another program first. Share with us what that means for your program.
What an incredible year and season! With so much loss and defeat during the pandemic, the success our team had this season was definitely a bright spot. The 2021 Bentley Women’s Lacrosse team has etched its name in the record books, securing the first NE10 Conference Championship and NCAA bid in program history. It is a massive accomplishment for our program and energizes us to put in the work to get back to this point.

What lessons did you learn about navigating a team through a pandemic that you will use moving forward?
Throughout such a challenging time, there are numerous life lessons and takeaways to carry with us as we move forward. Of course, we learned to appreciate every opportunity given and not take anything for granted, but I have also learned new ways to stay connected. With isolation, quarantine and maintaining distance, I found innovative ways to build connections through Zoom banquets, asynchronous team challenges, and team videos. The pandemic has taught me to be creative in my approach to connectivity, which I will continue to utilize as we return to normalcy.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
A focal point that has led to my success in the coaching world is having a holistic approach. It is important for me to build a connection with my players beyond the field. To learn about their families, their career path, what excites them, etc., allows me to see deeper into how each player functions. Another key to my success is looking at different perspectives. This has taken me some time to implement as I have grown in my career, but it has made a major impact. This can be applied on field (an attacker thinking about the perspective of a goalie), or off field (managing conflict). My greatest accomplishment thus far is seeing the growth of my players as people, from the time they step on campus as high school students, to when they walk across the stage with their diploma.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The disappointment of my players when our 2020 season was cancelled due to the pandemic has been the most difficult challenge in my career. The memories that were stripped away in the blink of an eye that can never be replaced was challenging for my players to bounce back from, but we worked hard to find the positives and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Navigating a new normal on the fly was challenging and draining, but the toughest times make you tougher.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Choosing one woman who has greatly shaped me is impossible since I have been surrounded by strong, determined women my entire life. My mother raised me to be strong, respectful, and smart. With that foundation, I have been fortunate to cross paths with women coaches, teammates, friends, and colleagues that have all made a profound impact on my life so far. They have helped shape me into the person I am today. One coach in particular, Kerry Hausdorf McBrearty, deserves a special shoutout. Kerry helped me see my strengths in a different light, jumpstarted my coaching career, and has continued to be a mentor.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
My advice to young coaches is to learn from people around you. Be a sponge. Soak up every experience; good, bad, or ugly. Lessons can be learned from all of them. Life is going to throw you curve balls, but your response is most important. Use your resources, challenge yourself within your position, go above and beyond and shoot for the stars! Don’t settle for anything less!

How do you continue learning and growing?
Continued learning and growth is one of the most important aspects of my coaching career. Collaborating with coaches from my sport and others, allows me to see different perspectives and how it can be applied to my program. Watching lacrosse played at the highest level is an awesome way to learn and helps me stay motivated to find new ways of teaching skills or concepts. I also like to read leadership books throughout the summer to help me gear up for another season. Lastly, self-reflection is an important tool that I use to evaluate each season and prepare for the next.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Anything outdoors, but mostly golf, tennis, and biking.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Trust your instincts. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy the moment!

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Every experience in my life has shaped me into the person I am today. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If I could change anything, I wish I could apply the knowledge and maturity that I have developed throughout my coaching career to my playing days.

Anything else you want to share?
The coaching community and WeCOACH has been an incredible resource and it is amazing to learn from so many strong, powerful women.

Congratulations, Taylor!

May 2021 Coach of the Month
Kylin Muñoz, Utah Valley University
Associate Head Coach, Volleyball

Coming off the programs most successful campaign in school history, Coach Muñoz shares with us what this season has meant, the lessons learned coaching during a pandemic and her advise to women coaches.

Get to know Coach Muñoz:

Your team won the WAC tournament and earned an automatic bid to its first-ever NCAA tournament. Share with us what that means for your program.
We are extremely grateful for the outcome of our season this year, especially during a pandemic. We always believed the goal of winning our conference and attending the NCAA was achievable and this years success helps others outside our program grasp the vision we have. This season is the product of the player’s commitment and selfless dedication to their teammates

What lessons did you learn about navigating a team through a pandemic that you will use moving forward?
Resilience is a trait you try to instill in your players but this year allowed great opportunity to put that into practice. We established an intentional focus on controlling you can control. The women had to apply that to their life outside of sports during the pandemic and I saw that translate to the court. They played together with composure during the ebbs and flows of the match.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Keys to being successful in coaching or really all aspects of life, is to be curious and willing to learn to learn at all stages of your career and life. It keeps you humble and has helped me evolve and work towards a better version of myself. I consider the relationships I have formed with my players as my greatest accomplishment. My goal is to create an environment where my players can rush towards failure and can trust me enough to step out of their comfort zone. But I also trust my players to provide feedback to push me to be better coach as well.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Empathy burnout. It’s easy because you care so much to take on any poor decision or hardship your players are going through.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I was raised by many strong women but my mom has shaped me more then she will ever know. She sacrificed her own successful collegiate career to raise me. She has an inner strength and work ethic that is unmatched. My mom was also a successful coach but never talked volleyball at home. She modeled what it meant to be a successful coach without speaking a word about it.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Be ok with failing. There are a lot of egos in athletics but know that being perfect is not relatable. If you want your players to be willing to make changes and develop, you as a coach need to be.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I try to surround myself with people who are much smarter then me. Being the least experienced person used to intimidate me, but now I’ve learned it’s the best place to be. Working at a university has its perks and being able to take courses has helped me continue to evolve.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love the outdoors and being active so if I’m not at work I’m probably hiking.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Go out and be ok with failure. Failure is a forward motion working to find solutions.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Be ok with taking more risks.

Congratulations, Kylin!

April 2021 Coach of the Month
Teri McKeever, University of California 
Head Coach, Women’s Swimming & Diving

In her 28th season at Cal, Coach McKeever is known as one of the most successful swimming coaches in the country. Capturing the Pac-12 championship and recently finishing 4th at the NCAA Swimming & Diving championships, Coach McKeever shares her insights on how her teams have maintained a consistent level of excellence – and advice to “strive to be the best version of yourself not the second best version of a coach or woman you admire!”

Get to know Coach McKeever:

In a year with so much uncertainty, how much did winning the Pac-12 Championship and finishing 4th at the NCAA Championships mean to you and your team?
Being able to win the Pac-12 Championship and finish 4th at this season’s NCAA Championships was gratifying and something the team, staff and I are very proud of. Obviously the last year has been challenging for everyone; and my heart is full with gratitude to the women who have stayed together to weather the uncertainty and numerous obstacles. This group will have a special bond for a lifetime.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I think a major contributor to my success has been my personal journey of self awareness. What things do I do well? What areas do I need to improve? What areas do I need to be certain my assistant has skills to compliment mine? I don’t see this as a stagnant journey, this is a lifelong journey and I try to evaluate and adjust a couple of times a year. It’s important to me to be as effective and as efficient as possible. I have been blessed to have a number of meaningful accomplishments during my career and I would say the one I’m most proud of is our program’s consistent level of excellence in the pool and the classroom. We have been in the Top 5 Nationally since 2006 – 15 plus years.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The journey of believing in myself so that I can instill that in the women I work with.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
My mom is the most significant woman to influence and shape me. Not just as a woman, but very much so as a coach. My mom was strong, competitive, fought for what she believed in and at the same time was loving, caring and giving. I strive to show up with those characteristics everyday. My mom was the mother of 10, a school teacher and coached me up through me leaving for college. I love that she didn’t try to be my best friend, she had expectations and was willing to give me the feedback I needed to strive for the things I said I wanted to accomplish. I lost her almost 2 years ago, after her 15 year battle with Parkinson’s, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use something I learned from her.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Strive to be the best version of yourself, not the second best version of a coach or woman you admire!

How do you continue learning and growing?
I have a group of colleagues that I respect and admire and know will give me the straight answers not what they think I want to hear, rather what I need to hear. I try to read, listen to podcasts and stay curious. I’ve hired and worked with other professionals; life coaches, psychologists and non sport professionals. I try to ask myself the “whys” of what I’m doing and not get stuck in “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Being by the ocean, going to sporting events, spending time with my family- I have 9 siblings and 27 nieces and nephews. Going for a walk with my husband and our pup, Cody. Watching TV and reading my People Magazine 🙂

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Coaching is what you do, it’s not who you are. I’d also say, I would have tried to enjoy the special moments more rather than just trying to strive for another accomplishment.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Not really, because I really believe that the “mistakes, setbacks and failures” are where we learn and grow and eventually end up a better version of ourselves. I don’t want to have to go through some of those moments again, but I don’t think I want to change them either.

Anything else you want to share?
I appreciate the honor. I also want to congratulate and acknowledge all coaches working with young people during the past year- there isn’t a coaching manual for doing so through a pandemic 🙂 I’d also say that coaching entails much more than the X’s and O’s and to be successful nowadays I think you need to be willing to coach more than your sport’s technique.

Congratulations, Teri!

March 2021 Coach of the Month
Amy Eagan, Drury University
Head Coach, Women’s Basketball

Fresh off capturing the GLVC regular season title and recently claiming her 200th career win, Coach Eagan talks about taking over a program with National Championship aspirations, her advise of just “being where your feet are” and getting a puppy during season!

Get to know Coach Eagan:

You served as an assistant coach at Drury University for the 2019-2020 season, becoming the head coach in April 2020. The pandemic cut short a season where your team was 32-0 and garnered a #1 ranking. You’re no stranger to being at the helm of a program, but how much of an adjustment was it for you taking the reins in the midst of a pandemic with a team that was poised for a run at the DII national championship?
I think taking over a program is always hard the first year, setting the tone and laying the ground work for what you want your program to look like. This year has been very different from any other year and navigating it has been a day to day roller coaster. I do really believe that being here last year and already knowing Drury and the players along with also having previous head coaching experience made the transition easier for me, my staff and the players. We graduated four super talented kids so I’m not sure anyone outside the program though we would be doing what we are doing this year. The people within the program though, thought differently. We have six seniors that have been and are this program and I think the thought of March last year and having a possible run at a National Championship taken eats at them every day. I told them from the very first day that this year was gonna be very different in a million ways, but the team that can stay positive and stay the course throughout the ups and downs will be the team that is there at the end. They have done an amazing job at that!

You recently hit a milestone with winning your 200th career game. Talk about your journey getting to that significant win and what it has meant to you.
All the credit for 200 goes to the players, coaches and administration that I have been surrounded by throughout the years. Winning doesn’t happen without great people and I’ve been very blessed to have coached and worked with some of the best people I know! I would take the relationships I have made throughout the years over the wins any day! 

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I think two keys that have helped guide me in coaching have been surrounding myself with good people first and foremost and to do things with passion and love. That’s what I try to do every day! I think my greatest accomplishment is seeing the young women I have coached grow into phenomenal leaders, professionals, moms, wives, sisters, etc. it’s about who they become as people first and what they do with their lives impacting others!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I’m been very blessed in my career. Probably the hardest thing I have had to overcome is this pandemic to be honest. It’s been so different and just day to day making sure your players are ok. Along with making sure they are getting what they need to be successful on the court.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
My mom for sure! She is awesome! I am who I am because of her and everything she taught me!

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
You can be and do anything you are willing to work and sacrifice for! I really do believe that! Be where your feet are, work hard, learn, grow, and bring something to the table!

How do you continue learning and growing?
I’m always trying to learn either by conventions, zooms, reading, podcasts. Probably more off season than season. And when I talk about learning, its not just x and o’s. It’s also learning things to help your program – like how to handle adversity on your team or the mental part of coaching. The game changes each year, so you have to be willing to learn and grow with it or you may get left behind.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love the outdoors so anything there! Boating, swimming, etc. I prefer warm for sure! I have a dog/puppy named Luna (I know…who gets a puppy during season… but why not in 2020 🤷🏼‍♀️😂) and she might be the cutest thing ever so I’m spending lots of time training her. I’m also very close with my family and I’m 1 of 5 kids so I spend a lot of time with them and my nieces and nephews. I love the movies, which I’ve been missing a ton this past year and I love to eat at nice places and try new things.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Worry less! It will all work out the way it is suppose too! 

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I hate saying that I would go back and do anything differently because I think God has a plan for everyone, but I do wish I never would have got out of coaching after my two years at Ambrose. I was very lucky to have an opportunity to get back in as a head coach.

Congratulations, Amy!

May 2020 Coach of the Month
WeCOACH Community

Though we are experiencing one of the toughest times our country has ever seen, our community of women coaches continues to show strength, resiliency and passion for one another. Thank you to each and every one of you for displaying the leadership, selflessness and inspiration needed to get through this challenging time – together.




April 2020 Coach of the Month
Molly Miller, Drury University
Head Coach, Women’s Basketball

With another remarkable season going 32-0, a fourth straight GLVC championship, back to back conference and DII National Coach of the Year honors and giving birth to her second child in January, the do-it-all mom & coach shares her insights on how she has kept the cancellations of NCAA championships all in perspective with her team who was primed at making a run at the national championship.

Get to know Coach Miller:

You had another remarkable season going 32-0, winning your 4th straight GLVC tournament title, and a #1 ranking heading into the NCAA tournament. Given what transpired with COVID-19 and the cancelation of NCAA championships, how have you kept this all in perspective with your team who was primed at making a run at the national championship?
First of all, I totally support the decisions made by our community leaders as well as the NCAA. We are realizing every day what a wise and difficult decision this was. Protecting the health of our student-athletes, families, neighbors, and co-workers is of utmost importance. As far as my team and staff are concerned, since they are like family to me it feels very natural to continue the communication we normally enjoy. We normally stay in contact with each Lady Panther player and staff member. My players also reach out to each other frequently. Our Lady Panther program has always valued open communication, trust, and team chemistry, so we are not just suddenly scrambling to find a sense of unity after the sudden end to our season, but we are building on a foundation that was already a cornerstone of our program. One of mutual respect and love.

My team took a gut punch the day we learned our season was over because of COVID19. Our love for one another has helped us navigate that disappointment. I was just thinking this morning how time has helped the process of healing, but that painful conclusion to our season will always leave a scar. There is no resolve or closure on what could have been, what we truly believe what should have been, especially for our seniors. I think giving our team a cushion of time to heal is important. Some of our calls and texts aren’t even about basketball or off season workouts. We might talk about our quarantine nickname, or a funny TikTok one of them is no doubt creating as we speak. Our goal was unchanged from day 1… a National Championship. To maintain the extreme focus that required and then have that dream dashed is disorienting to say the least, so we’re going to take some time to regroup.

In January you gave birth to your second child, Cy, and were back on the bench in less than 48 hours. How has being a mom made you a better coach?
I would like to think motherhood has made me a better coach, a better wife, and a better sister, and daughter. The love that is uncovered when you share it with your own child is contagious! I knew I cared deeply for my players before I became a mom, but after my first born, Crosby, came along 3 years ago, I realized I was just scratching the surface of my ability to give and receive love. Cy has only reinforced that realization. Caring for the needs of a newborn takes the focus off oneself and on to one’s child and subsequently allows moms to realize the deeper connection that is possible with everyone in their lives. I’m a better coach, because I found that deeper sense of caring. As far as coaching X’s and O’s go, I know it’s cliche, but I have learned to work smarter not harder, to become better organized, and to absorb input from my staff and network of fellow coaches in a very transparent way. And then as far as making it to a game in less than 24 hours after we welcomed Cy into this world…well he better just get used to it.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I try to assess the strengths of each individual team as we approach the year, but the central cog to our program is defense, defense, defense. My first coach was my dad. From day 1, as gangly Kindergartners, his teams learned defense. My father would grin when he would see other “dad” coaches trying to teach “plays” to 5-year-olds, just to have our team swoop in and steal the ball before they could even get the ball in-bounded. He was an amazing teacher and therefore taught me how to communicate with the heart of a teacher. I have never played on or coached a team whose full-court defense was not central to our success. Our point guard, senior Daejah Bernard, was awarded Defensive Player of the Year 3 years in a row by the GLVC. Most awards and accolades given to players are largely dependent on their scoring prowess which, don’t get me wrong, is important, but so much of our success started with Daej and her total commitment to our Lady Panther defensive philosophy.

As far as my greatest coaching achievement, I don’t know if I can favor one experience over another, but managing the pressure of 2 undefeated regular seasons in a row, and the expectation and pressure that mounts with each approaching game, has opened my eyes to what other undefeated teams and coaches have experienced. Experiencing the joy of winning instead of the “relief” of not loosing is a strong focus my assistant coaches, my players, our fans and I must always revisit. Because of our competitive region, teams must often have an undefeated season to be able to host the regional tournament, so the consequences of just one loss are far reaching. By the way, a discussion of how Division II organizes it’s tournament is long, long overdue. Too many top 10 teams are knocking each other off in their regional tournaments. I hope the NCAA will consider restructuring our national tournament. Nationally ranked #1 team should not meet the nationally ranked #2, 3,or 4 team in the region, which is the situation we have faced for the past several years. Talk about March Madness! So, hey, if we could achieve more fair tournament “bracketing” in DII, THAT would be my absolute greatest accomplishment!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
My career, as most coaches’ careers, involves lots of change, and sometimes the urge to resist that change can be strong. I’ve had to manage the inevitable change that must happen when players graduate and their path takes them in other directions, and I usually deny it until the bitter end.

As our trusted assistant coaches reach developmental goals and move to on to higher opportunities, we must remind ourselves that personnel changes enhance the sport we love, even though that change can be bittersweet. Most coaches will experience changes in everything from University leadership to the retirement of our favorite mentor to the promotion and relocation of a trusted faculty representative. I’ve learned that those changes can result in an even wider network of friends who have truly enriched my life even though I questioned the process.

Our society experiences constant change whether it be the fallout from a pandemic, or managing the explosion of social media dependence, or smiling through the change of something as trivial as the recent trend of tucking basketball shorts and shorter hemlines! 😏
So overcoming resistance to change has been a challenge, but every time I embrace it, change moves me towards a personal growth I hadn’t anticipated.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I enjoy nothing outside of coaching. Just kidding. Of course I enjoy watching my children learn and grow. I have a group of friends who gather during our rare days off and play the game Code Names until the wee hours of the morning. My sister Hannah lives in Kansas City with her husband, and has 8 month old daughter, Kendall. Our Marco Polo sessions are a hoot as we catch up on each others’ lives and our children’s latest milestones. But to a fault, I do thrive on basketball and thrill of competition. It is so much fun for me.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
My husband, Derek and I strictly “timed” my first pregnancy around basketball’s “off season”. Maybe we could have picked better timing for Cy’s birth. But then again, Cy birthday was the day The Good Lord picked, so it turned out great! My days spent with him and Crosby during this COVID quarantine have been an unexpected gift. I’ve gotten to strengthen our bond, strengthen my marriage, and, of course, recharge for another challenging basketball season! Let’s go!!

Congratulations, Molly!

March 2020 Coach of the Month
Lara-Jane “LJ” Que, Bowdoin College
Head Coach, Women’s Track & Field

With less than 20% of track & field head coaches at the DIII level being women, Coach Que talks about her journey from assistant to head coach, being a coach of color and what she likes to do outside of coaching (spoiler alert: she channels her literal “inner rockstar”!).

Get to know Coach Que:

Last summer you were promoted to head women’s track & field coach at Bowdoin College, a significant promotion since less than 20% of track & fielf head coaches at the DIII level are women. Tell us how you’ve been able to transition from an assistant to head coach and what its been like to guide your own program.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be in this new position in the same institution. With all new positions, there are growing pains, but they have been vital to adjusting to being a head coach. I have a great support system with an awesome coaching team, an Athletic Director who cares about coaching development and resources, and a group of incredible student-athletes who are communicative, passionate, and hard working. The transition has been smooth because of the people in my village. It’s been quite empowering for me to guide my own program. My head coach in college was a female. She was vital to my growth as a young woman. I feel so fortunate that I am in the same position as her to mold, guide, and empower our women’s team. I value feedback and constant communication with my team. The first thing we did as a team was collaborating and creating our team values and expectations. By doing that first, that really created the tone for the year.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I believe in listening to hear and not listening to reply. Everyone should be heard and acknowledged whether is something as small as changing reps in their workouts or helping an athlete walk through a more personal problem. Listening, investing daily time, and therefore building trust with your athletes is the foundation to my coaching philosophy.

My greatest accomplishment would be the small and sometimes unrecognizable things that happen everyday. Seeing everyday leadership from all members of the team, moments of confidence and believing in themselves, and seeing how supportive members are to each other- that is what I am most proud of and feel is my great accomplishment.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
What has been a consistent challenge for me is feeling alone and under represented as a former student-athlete of color, coach of color, and immigrant. When I was in graduate school, I was the only graduate assistant coach of color. As an assistant coach, I was one of three assistant coaches of color. Now, as a Head Coach, I am the only head coach of color at my institution. What gets me through this challenge is knowing that my mentors who are coaches of color have overcome this same challenge and thus created a space for younger coaches like me to grow.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I would say there are three women who have greatly shaped me. The first one is my mother who immigrated to the US who had to leave me at three months in the Philippines to establish a better life in America. She later then became a single parent and raised me with minimal help. She instilled hard work, grit, and daily gratitude in my life which I continue to live by day to day. She was and remains to be my number one cheerleader and I channel that cheer leader energy to my athletes every day and in particular meet days.

The second woman is my Head Coach at the University of Rhode Island, Laurie Feit-Melnick. She is a fierce leader, a nurturer, and a wonderful mom to her two kids. I was always in awe in how she managed to lead our team of 45 women and be a rock star mom. I am not a mother yet, but I know her influence will shape me in how I would balance being a mom and a coach.

The third woman in my life is my mentor at Smith College ,Carla Coffey. At Smith I was a graduate student in the Exercise and Sports Studies program as well as being a full time graduate assistant coach. Carla was unapologetically herself. She was always forthcoming, honest, and always stood up for her student-athletes and program. Carla helped me find my voice as a woman of color and a young coach. She taught me to always advocate for myself and do not settle for anything less than what I deserve. I channel these three women every day in the different aspects of my life.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
My advice for up-and-coming women coaches are to always ask questions, reach out, and never be afraid to go up to another coach and shake their hand and introduce yourself. Another advice is to always be yourself. There will times where you might have a boss or institution that make you feel that you need to act differently. Remember, to ALWAYS be yourself.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I try to attend a professional development program every year, whether that is online or in person. Track & Field meets are great ways to get to know fellow coaches. I use track meets as a way to continue to grow my network, learn something new in our sport, and be surrounded by track & field nerds like myself. Lastly, I stay reflective whether it through journaling, chatting with our coaching staff after the season, and reaching out to fellow coaches in the sports throughout the country.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I’m so fortunate to have the ocean and mountains within miles from my house. In the warmer months I am either at the beach or on the lake in my canoe with my partner and dogs. In the colder months, I love to hike in the woods. On occasion I channel my inner rockstar and play guitar and sing 🙂

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
I would say to myself, “You are enough, you are worthy, and you’re giving it your very best” I preach positive self talk within our team and I try to be that example. I love mantras and my go to one is “When it doubt, dance it out” Whatever the day brings, a little mini dance session always lifts me up no matter where I am. (it’s also entertaining and funny for my athletes to watch)

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
The only thing I would go back and do differently is to ask more questions when I was a student-athlete and new coach. I was very much a “yes ma’am, yes sir” type of person. I usually wouldn’t ask any follow up questions. Now, I see how important it is ask questions- it’s how you continue to growth and building a deeper understanding of others and their beliefs

Anything else you want to share?
Attitude of gratitude is everything. It’s a mantra our team lives by everyday.

Congratulations, LJ!

February 2020 Coach of the Month
Bre Haberl-Kellogg, Vision Soccer Academy
Head Coach & Director of Member Services

From the concession stands to the pitch, Coach Habert-Kellogg shares her journey to becoming a soccer coach, how her intuition has served her well in her coaching role and knowing she is exactly where she wants to be!

Get to know Coach Haberl-Kellogg:

Share with us how you got involved with coaching at the club level.
I like to think I have a very non-traditional path to coaching at the club level. While playing college soccer, my coach, who was also conveniently the Executive Director of VSA, was looking for someone to manage the club’s concession stand on the weekends. I had worked at the movie theater throughout high school, so naturally accepted the position. A staff coach at VSA was in a pinch and needed me to coach a group of 4 year olds one evening. They soon noticed I had a knack for coaching youth soccer and I haven’t been back in the concession stand since!

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I have always had a great intuition when it comes to working with children, and that’s really translated to becoming a great coach. I’ve coached at all levels (recreational, Academy, and Select) at VSA, but my heart really lies with the 5U-8U age groups. My ability to relate to them and teach the game at their level is what makes me successful in this area. Accomplishments with this age group aren’t about wins and losses, so it’s difficult for me to pinpoint my greatest accomplishment. I’ve built some great relationships with a lot of the kids, so my greatest accomplishment is being able to pass them along to the next phase of the game. Instilling that same passion that I have for the game in these young children is the most rewarding aspect of my roles.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
One of the biggest obstacles I face is the perception that I’m not as important as the coaches at the elite level. I recently had an encounter with a stranger and a female colleague at a bar. The male asked us both what teams we coach. My female colleague coaches 3 teams at the Select level. I’m the Director or Recreational Soccer so I told the man that I work with all recreational teams from 3-19 years of age. His response was “well, you gotta start somewhere, I guess” as if I wasn’t as experienced or as elite as my colleague. My role is often seen as a “lesser” position because I’m not working with those elite teams. The hardest obstacle that I’m still facing is reminding myself that I’m exactly where I want to be and I have an amazing opportunity to make the biggest impact on the youth at our club. Without my role, the numbers may not be there when it’s time for them to graduate to the more “elite” levels.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
In life, my mother and grandmother have really shaped me. They both have a demeanor about them to never take anything too seriously. This has allowed me to really thrive in my current role. This is exactly the kind of person that I think kids can relate to and allows them to make mistakes without fear. In soccer, my mentor, Ginger, has really pushed me to continue to grow. I have always had a sense of self-motivation, and Ginger has always guided me towards the next challenge.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Don’t compare yourself to your male colleagues. It’s easy to doubt yourself when you aren’t as “fluent” in soccer talk. A lot of my male colleagues like to talk about the Premier League and I don’t follow many male teams, so I often can’t relate. However, instead of getting overwhelmed or doubting yourself, find someone or something you can relate to. For example, I prefer to follow the USWNT over the USMNT, so I try to find colleagues who follow the same team or league as me to chat about. Your knowledge of the game might be different, but it’s just as important to the players. And don’t be afraid to learn from those who have a different opinion or experience than you do.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I recently had the opportunity to attend the USC Convention in Baltimore and learned more than I realized was possible. I also attend the annual symposium that our state association hosts. I realize these both cost money, so I also try to listen to soccer related podcasts in my free time. Having conversations with my colleagues is one of my favorite ways to learn and grow because we have all had different experiences with the game. Outside of soccer, I enjoy listening to “self-help” audio books because I think there is always something I can do better in my personal life that will help me become a better coach.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Outside of coaching, I enjoy trying new foods and getting to learn about other cultures through their food. I enjoy travelling to new places with my husband and would like to visit a new country every couple of years. I also enjoy taking my dog to the park to play fetch and seeing her in pure bliss.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
I’ve recently deemed my personal mantra as “you’re a badass” which is just a constant reminder to myself to keep pushing forward in all aspects of my life. It would be easy to look at the things that haven’t gone my way recently, but I need to keep my eyes on the positive things.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I try my best to not live my life with regrets, because I’m a true believer in every obstacle is in place to make me a better and stronger person. Though, I wish I would have taken a moment to eat more of the cheesecake at my wedding 🙂

Anything else you want to share?
This is an awesome honor! Thank you to ALL of the coaches I’ve had throughout my soccer career who have helped grow my passion for the game, especially “D” (Coach Dentlinger), Coach Polking, Coach Babb, John Merrick, and Mike Ruhnke. You are all the reason I’ve been inspired to coach the beautiful game!

Congratulations, Bre!

January 2020 Coach of the Month
Beth Ann Wilson, Marymount University
Head Coach, Volleyball

After a historic season winning a second straight conference title and taking her team to their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, Coach Wilson talks about her 27 year coaching career, how she’s balanced being a mom & coach and her greatest influences.

Get to know Coach Wilson:

You had an incredible run this season, winning your second straight Atlantic East Conference title and securing the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory. Tell us what it has meant to you and your program to be able to have the kind of success you had this year, especially in the NCAA tournament?
You would think 27 seasons in, I wouldn’t have too many new experiences as a coach, but this season was new, exciting and so enjoyable for me on a personal and professional level. Most directly, the 2019 season, gave us National exposure. This inspires me to continue to work really hard and learn every day. The expectations are higher and I am excited for the challenge this late in my career. 

On a personal level, seeing my players and staff experience the NCAA tournament past the first round, was so rewarding. We were all walking around the tournament like little kids on Christmas morning! On some level, we just couldn’t believe it was happening but on another, we were so ready for it.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
This is tough. When you have coached for as long as I have, the definition of success and the focus changes drastically. Early on, I would say my commitment to Marymount and bringing consistency to the program was the key to early success. In the middle, it was about learning how to be a better X’s and O’s coach, getting better at recruiting and trying to compete regionally. In the last 5 years, my focus has been on my network, team culture and a focus on relationships. I don’t think it is a coincidence that my last two seasons we have gone to the NCAAs and those are the two that I started to apply all I learned about culture, core values and my “why” after attending the NCAA Women Coaches Academy – SHOUT OUT CLASS OF 44!!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I started at Marymount in 1993 and had my children in ’94, ’96 and ’01. There were definitely years when I felt I wasn’t good enough as a coach, mother or wife. Marymount was great and let me work part time (1995-2007), so my children would be my priority – all the while, my wonderfully supportive husband understood he was #3. The program definitely had some rough seasons during that time and I doubted my ability to ever find a good work life balance. Once all 3 kids were in school full time, things began to balance themselves out. I am so fortunate, neither my family nor my employer asked me to walk away from coaching in those years, because now my kids are grown, I am having some of the greatest successes in my coaching career AND I’m still married to the same great supportive guy!

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
My mom definitely had the greatest influence on me. She was excellent at everything she did and always had very high expectation of herself and those around her. I carry this standard with me now – every day and hope I set that example for my family, my players and my assistant coaches. I also must recognize two amazing head coaches I had – Vicky “Mitch” Eveleth at La Jolla High School and Debbie Hill at the College of William and Mary. While both women were excellent coaches in all areas, as a player it seemed, Mitch was diligent regarding mechanics, training and discipline while Debbie had an amazing talent for building team chemistry and keeping us happy. Both women created strong team cultures before “team culture” was the buzz word it is now. Thanks to these 3 women – Hard work, high expectations, strong mechanics, discipline, team connections and creating a strong culture have all been areas of focus for me.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Realize you don’t know what you are doing…..yet. Look for mentors and organizations like WeCoach to help you grow . Contact a local coach you admire – in any sport, at any level – and ask to attend their practices or meet you for coffee.

How do you continue learning and growing?
There is so much to learn that has little to do with your sport or even athletics. I have grown the most these last 5-10 years by learning more about leadership, studying successful business models, reading books about how we learn – motor science, psychology, etc. I have also been running a travel program and leading coaching clinics. Teaching and mentoring others is a great way to learn and grow while you are giving back to your sport!

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love coaching and watching a lot of volleyball. When I am not at Marymount, I am working with my travel program, East Coast Power DC or watching my daughter‘s college team play – she’s a freshman at Loyola (MD). If it isn’t volleyball related, it’s something embarrassingly unproductive like watching mindless television shows and shopping for a bargain at estate sales, Goodwill, Marshalls or TJ Maxx.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
When I started coaching, we didn’t have email or smart phones so it was much easier to walk away from the work. I need to do a better job of disconnecting…..we all do.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I would do a better job asking for help, finding and relying on mentors and networking earlier in my career.

Anything else you want to share?
As a coach, I try to talk less and let the team play more….I think I have talked plenty. Thank you so much for the picking me as your WeCOACH of the Month – what an honor!

Congratulations, Beth Ann!


December 2019 Coach of the Month
Carolyn King-Robitaille, St. Anselm College
Head Coach, Field Hockey

Fresh off a national championship game appearance, Coach King-Robitaille shares insights relating to her sustained program success, being her authentic self and four simple words of advice.

Get to know Coach King-Robitaille:

You have had tremendous success during your eight year career at St. Anselm. From regular season and tournament titles, to coach of the year honors to winning your 100th career game this season. Tell us what it has meant to you and your program to be able to sustain this level of success?
Our success is a reflection of the sacrifices, dedication, hardwork, belief, and love our staff and players continue to share with each other each and every day, so it means everything.

Talk to us about some keys to your success as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I am always looking for ways to learn and grow. I have an insatiable curiosity about pretty much everything, which has served me well as a coach, because I like to learn, discover, experiment, and ask questions. My greatest accomplishment is knowing that I had an impact, however, short or small, in the lives of so many amazing young women. Their success and our friendship after they have graduated gives me great joy.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
When we started to gain some traction and consistent success, I found myself measuring myself against that success and our wins and losses. I had serious self-doubt year after year as we seemed to always come up short in the “big one.” I have worked hard to overcome this mentality and practice what I preach to my student-athletes about focusing on the progress and effort instead of the outcome. It remains challenging at times.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
In the coaching realm, it was my high school PE teacher who was also my field hockey and basketball coach, Judy Schneider. She just retired as the field hockey coach at our high school this year after more than 50 years. She taught me discipline, humility, perspective, sportsmanship, selflessness, and so many other life lessons. Off the field, hands down it has been my wife. We have been together since we were 21 years old. She challenges me to be the best version of myself each and every day. She lifts me up.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Be your authentic self. Have a growth mindset, but have conviction in your abilities. You can do this and it will be worth it.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I attend a lot of seminars, workshops, and other opportunities that present themselves regarding field hockey, leadership, women in athletics, health and wellness, and many other things outside of the realm of collegiate athletics. I also listen to a lot of podcasts each week and read a lot of books both non-fiction and fiction. The wheels are always spinning!

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I love to spend time with my family and my dog. I really enjoy the outdoors and love camping, hiking, traveling, and exploring new places and meeting new people.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
You are good enough.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
As a coach, I know I have done the best I can in the moment. I always think about if I could have done more for a student-athlete to make their experience the best it could be, but they are always at the forefront of my decision making process. In life, I wish I embraced and shared my authentic self sooner.

Anything else you want to share?
This career has given me so much. It’s demanding and rewarding. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. If you feel like you are suffering from more of the difficult symptoms of the career, take time for yourself, take a step back or lean in, whichever move is right for you, but don’t give up. We need you in the game.

Congratulations, Carolyn!


November 2019 Coach of the Month
Vicki Brown, University of Iowa
Head Coach, Volleyball

The Hawkeyes head volleyball coach, Vicki Brown is our November Coach of the Month! Coach Brown shares her insights, successes, advice – and what she loves to do outside of coaching! 


Get to know Coach Brown:

You were officially named head coach at Iowa recently. Describe how your transition has been from associate head coach to interim head coach to head coach? Coach Bond had called me on a Sunday morning and asked if I wanted to move to Iowa. At the time I was head coach at San Francisco. I have always wanted to get back to the B1G as a coach. As hard as it was to leave my team I had to take the opportunity. After a couple years and a little adversity I was named interim head coach this summer. I have always had full support from my Deputy Director of Athletics Barbara Burke and the other female coaches in the department. For that I am so appreciative. Then it happened, in the middle of September before our first conference match, Director of Athletics Gary Barta and Barbara asked me to be the head coach. I knew I was in complete shock not because I got it, I believe you should always see yourself winning in life, but more because of the timing.

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I take pride and value in being an influence to these young women at an interesting time in their life. My mantra is I will use my platform to assist in the development of female empowerment always and in all ways.

My greatest accomplishment has come through moments of adversity. I have two…one was at San Francisco when we won our first match. It was a big moment because we started with a team of five players four months prior. The second was this year first weekend tournament. A lot of work and thought went into the utilizing the summer to allow the team to work through our adversity before seasoned started. We have eight freshmen this year. Invited, The Program to encourage our leaders and then boom…come out of the first weekend 3-0. Wins are great but it is the work each team puts in to get through adversity.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career? The hardest thing to overcome is the work/life balance. It’s truly something I have to sit down on Sunday and plan out how I will bring balance to the week.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How? There are so many women that have influenced my life (Cathy George, Melissa Myers, Jackie Simpson, Simone Ortega) – the biggest influence and longest is my mother. She has been a pastor for majority of my life. I have seen the ups and down of being a leader as well as a woman in a predominately male occupation. She was my first example of being a great leader and having a family.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches? My advice is to latch onto patience. Our jobs can be one of instant results, which can influence our main reason for getting into this career. Hang in there, have patience with your players, program, and self. Patience changes our perception and a change in perception can show the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! Find the opportunity you want and go for but know your worth.

How do you continue learning and growing? I am always looking for other resources not connected to my sport. My niece who is a senior in college is a big one, have to stay current. Also, I have been reading a few books by Dr. Brene Brown.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching? As weird as this will sound, I love skateboarding on my long board and traveling.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself? Maintain my moral compass and continue to stay connected to those that you can truly rely on.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently? Absolutely not. Everything that has happened was a lesson I had to learn in order to get here. I thank God for every moment

Anything else you want to share? If any coach wants to reach out, please do. I received this quote from another female coach…we build each other up when we Tell Her.

Congratulations, Vicki!


October 2019 Coach of the Month
Martu Loncarica, St. Joseph’s University
Assistant Field Hockey Coach

Coach Loncarica, a volunteer coach at St. Joseph’s during the 2015 season, returns to the Hawks this season after a two-year stint at William & Mary.  A three-time All-American on the pitch at Syracuse, she shares her coaching journey, including who has helped shape & influence her in her career. 

Get to know Coach Loncarica:

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I believe that being authentic, honest, caring and ambitious have been some of the keys for my development as a coach. I strive to create connections with the players, getting to know and understand them as individuals, which allows me to coach them better. Nothing touches my heart more than building a trusting relationship. From there coaching is fun, because you are invested in them as people. I love helping players and teams succeed, but having a positive impact on their lives off the field is what I consider one of my greatest accomplishments.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
As an international coach, I need a VISA in order to work in the United States. After playing my 4 years of eligibility at Syracuse University, I continued my stay through student VISA’s working towards 2 Master’s degrees whilst coaching. It wasn’t until Tess Ellis (William and Mary Head Coach) took a chance by hiring me despite the uncertainties of the employment VISA process. Initially my visa was denied, but she was relentless until it was all figured out. Since working at WM, so many other opportunities have opened up for me, like becoming the U21 USA assistant coach, and being hired as the Saint Joseph’s University 1st Assistant after volunteering for the program during 2016-17.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I try to learn as much as I can from everybody I encounter. Every person I’ve met or worked with has taught me something unique. The first one that comes to my mind is Lynn Farquhar (Saint Joseph’s University Head Coach) my current boss and friend. Lynn recruited me from Argentina when I was 18 years old to play at Syracuse University. Since then, I’ve been following her around the country by either working summer camps or volunteering to work for Universities she’s coaching at. Lynn has a relentless drive to be the best. She leads by example and believes in the development of young women. She never slacks or cuts corners no matter what the task is, and pushes me to be the best coach and person I can be every day.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Be yourself. Learn the good and the bad from those around you, but always stick to your gut and be who you want to be.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I’m extremely curious and open to new experiences. I believe in consistently doing the things that are easy to do, but even easier not to do. Like going for a run, or reading 10 pages of a personal development book a day, or putting myself in a situation where I haven’t been before and always trying to make the most of it. I learn because of my curiosity and desire to be better every day. I apply this to every area of my life, not just my job.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Spending time with my two beautiful border collies (Branca and Bjorn), and cooking with my husband (Nemo) are my 2 favorite things to do. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and family, visiting new places, trying new food and traveling to new countries.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Slow down, enjoy life, and make time for yourself and those you care about.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Nothing. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that good things happen to good people.

Congratulations, Martu!


September 2019 Co-Coaches of the Month
Jennifer Herzig, James Madison University
Associate Head Softball Coach

Alice McCall, Florida Atlantic University
Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swim & Dive

Get to know Coach Herzig:

You’ve had much success over the years as a coach. In your seven seasons at JMU, the Dukes have compiled a 331-80 record, and JMU has set single-season win totals, including a 52-8 record in 2016. You have also help the program reach the top 10 in both major softball polls and seven NCAA Championship berths. And this year, the Dukes made it to the Super Regionals, eventually losing to National Champs UCLA.
Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

While coaching is absolutely my business, it is a business of PEOPLE, so I believe the biggest key to my success has been the ability to build quality relationships with the student-athletes I have been so fortunate to coach, as well as their parents and families.

Building relationships is about TRUST – giving trust and earning trust. I don’t believe anyone has the ability to truly coach and effect change without trust being at the core of everything we do.

I also believe another key to my success as a coach is my desire to put the players FIRST above everything else. While our days and weeks get incredibly busy and hectic, I have always made sure to remember that without the PLAYERS, there is no job at all. The players have to come first at all times, and I work hard to make sure my players not only know that logically, but truly FEEL that they come first in my life.

Finally, I think consistency is another key to anyone’s success – consistency in demeanor, energy, work ethic, expectations of the players / team, practice, and performance. I think players want structure and routine, and without consistency in all things, programs will lack that necessary structure.

I believe my greatest accomplishment is being some part (no matter how big or small) of a young woman’s growth & development into the person she is meant to be in this world, not just the player she dreams of being during her collegiate career. While the wins and championships are amazing and create incredibly special memories, my proudest moments as a coach are the ones that happen AFTER one of my players graduates – the dream jobs, the weddings, the birth of their children. Having relationships that withstand time and are worthy of being welcomed into a player’s LIFE past graduation is my greatest accomplishment.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
At one point in my career, following a change in athletic directors, I was one of several head coaches whose contract did not get renewed. Not understanding the concept that a change is made so someone can hire “their own people” was a struggle for me. Frankly, I think I still struggle with aspects of it to this day. I had spent years building a quality program that I was really proud of, as well as a LIFE there, and in the blink of an eye, it was torn out from underneath me.

We all know that this profession can be an incredibly volatile and unstable one, but knowing that in theory and knowing that because you have gone through it firsthand are two entirely different worlds.

Moving into my next program, I was hesitant to get close to anyone – staff or players. I was gun shy because I didn’t know when they might be taken out of my life again, so on some made up level, I tried to convince myself that if I didn’t get close to anyone, I was protecting myself and my heart.

Like with everything, however, time is the great healer and equalizer. It took a lot longer than I am proud to admit, and I will never have answers for certain things, but in time, I allowed myself to open my heart and my life back up to our players and staff members. None of it was easy, the hurt was present for a long time, and there was a lot of questioning and soul searching that took place along the way, but I do sincerely believe that everything happens for a reason.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Without question, my mother has shaped me into the woman I am today. With every passing year, not only do I thank her for raising my brother and me the way she and my father did, but I am so incredibly appreciative that so many of what I believe to be my strongest qualities are ones that are very simply HER through and through.

My mother raised me to believe that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, so long as I was willing to work for it. She raised me to believe I was intelligent and talented, but she held me accountable for absolutely everything in the process. There were no free passes in our house. My brother and I were taught responsibility and accountability, and we were taught to be appreciative of the smallest things. We learned the value of saying PLEASE and THANK YOU, and I still write thank you notes to this day because of my mother.

On top of the list of things that she has taught me – seeing as it is too long to ever name them all one by one – she showed me every single day what a strong woman looked like. Maybe without even knowing it, she showed me strength of character, strength of morality and faith, and strength of conviction. I saw first-hand what commitment and sacrifice looked like, and every single day of my life, I saw how the most pure and sincere forms of love mean taking care of everyone around you before yourself.

While I can so clearly see my mother in myself, I can only hope and pray that SHE is able to see the best parts of herself reflected in me as well.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Find a small circle of mentors and use them as a resource! No one knows everything, and there are no silly questions in the world. Find people you trust, no matter what field they work in, and be willing to go outside your comfort zone to have conversations with them and learn from them!

Stay hungry to learn and grow! I am a firm believer that education is paramount to success, and I hope learning is exciting to young coaches. I think one of the best ways to form your own philosophies is to be exposed to new ideas that may challenge what you already know and believe. Through the process of learning and challenging yourself, you can evaluate what works, what doesn’t, what you truly believe in at the end of the day, and why you do so.

Know your WHY, and ALWAYS keep that in focus! One of the best pieces of advice I was given as I was just starting my career was “As an assistant coach, always remember what it was like to be a player… and then as a head coach, remember what it was like to be an assistant. If you can keep those two things in perspective, you will never lose sight of the big picture of what this is actually about!” I think knowing why you coach and invest in the lives of others helps you keep those two things in perspective.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I belong to several professional organizations and attend conferences / conventions annually. I serve as a mentor to younger coaches through one of those organizations, which allows me to learn as much, if not more, than what I am able to pass along to the younger coaches within my group. I try to pick up a new book that has been recommended to me by someone I know and value every few months. As I have gotten older, I have become more comfortable asking other coaches what they teach and WHY. Asking for help and picking someone else’s brain is outside my comfort zone most of the time, so I have to challenge myself to do so and continue growing in that area.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Music is a huge love of mine, and I love attending concerts – I would go see almost anyone live just to experience live music. Animals are another passion of mine, so anytime I can interact or spend time around animals, I enjoy doing so. Traveling is an absolute gift to me. I love exploring new cities, finding their hidden treasures, and simply experiencing the unique vibe that each city has. I love being immersed in a new environment, walking through little shops in a downtown area, and getting to enjoy new and local restaurants.

Finally, I love going to the lake to decompress for a few days. The lake is the place where my soul seems to take a deep breath and finally RELAX!

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Put yourself first occasionally and lead a more balanced life. I struggle with that in practice, yet it is the exact advice I give to others frequently; I just need to be better about slowing down and taking time out for myself occasionally.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
No. I firmly believe that we all end up exactly where we are meant to be at the exact moment we are meant to be there. I think you have to trust in the process and the journey, knowing that there will ALWAYS be things you may not understand or ever have answers to.

I think questioning choices and decisions or wanting to go back and do things differently takes away from the belief that there is a greater plan and purpose to all of this.

Finally, I think as long as someone is very clear on and grounded in their beliefs, ethics, and goals, all decisions and choices come down to two things:

1. Is this in the best interest of the program?

2. Does this move me closer to my goals?

When the answer is yes, sometimes the end decision becomes easier to wrap one’s head around and to move forward with. When the answer is no, trust that and move forward in a different direction!

Anything else you want to share?
There are going to be hard days. There are going to be challenges to overcome and difficult times to endure. People will question your ethics, your integrity, and whether or not you are good enough. It happens to everyone, however that knowledge doesn’t always make going through it for yourself any easier.

Know who “your trusted people” are. Know who you can lean on, rely on, and confide in. Seek guidance from people wiser, more experienced, and more successful than you, yet be willing to learn from someone younger and less experienced than you as well.

Remember why you coach. Remember to always put the players first. Remember why you fell in love with your sport and all of the countless opportunities and gifts it has brought to your life. Be humble and thankful. Give back to the game and the community around you. When it is all said and done, make sure to leave your program and your corner of the world better than you found it.

Get to know Coach McCall:

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I believe that making the athletes better people will help them to become better athletes. It is important to me to share any outside knowledge I have about the world with my athletes, I think it enables them to see that we don’t just have to come together over sports, we can come together in tackling life too. One of my greatest accomplishments is to be able to represent WeCOACH on the Coaches Council, starting this year. To be put into a position where I can help other coaches around the nation, and through that help their teams, is a great honor.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Sticking out the season when family is far away and illnesses occur. Making the choices we do as coaches to better our student-athletes can be hard on our families but its important to try and do both the best we can.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Danielle Tansel has been a great influence on my life, she was an Assistant Coach of mine when I swam at SMU. Her positivity and spark of reality really works with how I think. She is able to calm me and boost me up when needed, all while having a creative edgy outlook on life. She’s a recently new Mommy and doing an awesome job in her new life chapter!

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Always listen to your gut and allow yourself to be heard. Join organizations developed and lead by women (like WeCOACH!) to allow yourself to grow and be aware of the challenges we face as female coaches. There are a lot of great things out there that are offered to female coaches but it is up to us to seek them out, support each other, and go for it!

How do you continue learning and growing?
I read a lot of articles and books. If I watch anything on TV its vary rare to be non-fiction. This year I set myself a goal to read one book per month and so far so good! I also find it useful to speak to coaches of different sports to enable my mind to think differently, this is why WeCOACH is such a great organization at bringing people together.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I like making time to be with friends and connect with family overseas. Having time by the beach is always something to look forward to, especially during the busy times of our season I try to make the most of our environment, its sometimes easy to forget we live in paradise.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Allow yourself to always be open to learning and be patient. Knowledge is power in all aspects of life, not just your career. The good will always follow hard work and it is sometimes easy to lose sight of why we do what we do, educate yourself and educate others as much as you can. Remember to take time for yourself, and to have a healthy work-life balance!

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I would probably display my challenges in a different way. Letting people around you understand you, is just as important as you trying to understand them. There are always hurdles to get over in the working world but trusting what you are doing is for the better, is important!.

Congratulations, Jennifer and Alice!

August 2019 – Ashley Bastron
Head Track & Field/Cross Country Coach, Purdue University Fort Wayne

The Purdue University Fort Wayne head track & field/cross county coach, Ashley Bastron, is our August ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

You have led the return of the men’s track & field program which begins this season. Tell us about that experience.
Overall, it’s been a great experience! There was a lot of work that went into figuring out all the logistics and signing in an incoming men’s class of nearly 30 athletes for our first season. But I love working hard and as a staff we are incredibly excited about the return of men’s track and field and every single one of our incoming recruits. They are a special group who bought into what we CAN be, not what we are, and they are ready to rewrite the record books!

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Persistence, a great staff, organization, a support system, work ethic, patience, and always remembering my WHY. There is no one thing that has helped me be successful. I think a lot of aspects of my personality are naturally a great fit for coaching. I’m incredibly hard working, organized, and persistent when it comes to getting things done and accomplishing my goals. I’ve also been very fortunate to work with some incredible coaches who have lifted me up when I needed them too and helped to balance out my weaknesses. Having a strong support system outside of coaching with my husband and family has also given me strength when I needed it. They never doubt my dreams and are they for me always. Patience isn’t something I’m naturally gifted with, but I’ve learned its importance over the years. Success does not happen overnight. Lastly, my WHY leads into my greatest coaching accomplishment. I’ve had athletes over the years who really struggled with self-confidence and race anxiety. Helping them to overcome their fears and recognize their worth as a person and their potential as an athlete is my greatest accomplishment. No trophy or championship ring can provide the same level of joy.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I think one of my biggest challenges has been staying true to who I am in a male dominated profession. Track & Field has one of the lowest percentages of female head coaches amongst all NCAA DI sports and while that’s slowly changing, it’s a long way from being equal. I’ve been told I can’t coach men by other coaches, by recruits’ parents, and by administrators. I’ve been treated like I don’t exist when other male coaches are present, this is especially true when we are on the road. The assumption is always that my male assistants are the head coach and I’m an athlete. Female coaches are treated differently when it comes to discipling our athletes and holding them to a high standard. There is an unrealistic expectation that all female coaches need to serve a “motherly” role. Lastly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “she only got that job because she’s female” or “there goes another school hiring an unqualified female instead of a qualified male”. The idea that females only get hired to fill HR quotas is untrue and hurtful for everyone, not just the female coaches it directly impacts.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I’ve been fortunate to have several strong female role models in my life, so it’s hard to pick just one. But Rhonda Riley, the head women’s cross country coach at Duke University deserves recognition. Rhonda has helped me immensely when it comes to navigating this crazy by amazing profession and she always encourages me to stay true to who I am and what I value most as a coach. But the best part about Rhonda is that she does this for so many female coaches in our sport. She runs the female coach’s breakout session at our convention every year and helped to organize a female coaching mentorship program. She lifts up female coaches by giving them the guidance, confidence, and resources they need to be successful! She is one of a kind and I’m so thankful to have her as a mentor!

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Remain persistent, true to yourself, and never believe anyone who tells you that your dreams are too big.

How do you continue learning and growing?
Well “Learner” is my number three Clifton Strength, so fortunately my hunger to learn and grow is a large part of who I am and what I value. I love attending workshops, conferences, and other professional development opportunities both inside and outside of my sport. I enjoy the process and the journey to becoming my best self. I don’t think it’s one that ever ends and that excites and motivates me.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Spending time with my husband, family, friends, and our sweet vizsla pup, Desi. We love going to the beach, going on hikes, traveling, and camping! You can also find us checking out local restaurants and finding the best donuts in every town we visit! While Desi has the greatest obsession with food, my husband and I aren’t far behind her.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Patience young Ashley, you will be successful if you trust the process, focus on your values, and remain persistent.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
No, everything I’ve experienced and done has helped to shape me into who I am today. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. I don’t waste time wishing it was different, I focus on the lessons I’ve learned and use that to help create a better future. Mistakes will happen, no coach or person is perfect.

Congratulations, Ashley!

July 2019 – Allison Coomey
Assistant Women’s Ice Hockey Coach, Penn State

The Nittany Lions assistant women’s ice hockey coach, Allison Coomey, is our July ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

You recently attended the NCAA 2.0 Academy #3 in May, can you share with us some of your biggest take-aways?
It’s hard to name just a few takeaways from my experience at the NCAA 2.0 Academy. Having participated in it 5 years ago, it was amazing to have another opportunity to learn more about myself as a coach and also learn from a variety of strong female leaders. Being vulnerable in an environment that helped me feel empowered was so impactful. As a hockey coach I know most of the coaches in my sport but it was so nice to be surrounded be coaches of other sports.

You were named the 2019 AHCA Women’s Hockey Assistant Coach of the Year, what did that award mean to you?
It was an amazing honor to be recognized by my peers. Honestly, I’ve been coaching college hockey for 17 years but I couldn’t tell you where those years have gone. I have been able to teach what I love to do and that in itself has been so rewarding. An honor like this is just a bonus. I truly don’t believe I would have received this award if it weren’t for the people I have worked with and for over the years. I am just a product of whom I’ve been surrounded by.

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I would consider myself a caring and compassionate person. I care about the players I coach and want the best for them. I would like to think that this quality helps get the best out of them. Throughout my career I have been on teams that have won conference championships and competed in NCAA tournaments so it is hard to pinpoint my greatest accomplishment. I will say that staying involved in the lives of my former players is something that I truly value.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I have been so lucky to work at the places I have and am also so fortunate for my path. There have been numerous jobs I applied for, interviewed for and for one reason or another didn’t get. At the time I doubted myself and my abilities but those experiences helped get me to where I am today. Looking back I am grateful to have had such opportunities. They have definitely helped shape my career.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Professionally there are two women that come to mind. My college coach, Margot Page and the first head coach I worked for, Krisitin Steele. I looked up to Margot because she was the first female coach I played for. Margot helped me think that coaching college hockey was possible. She is a strong, smart and intelligent person and that is definitely something to admire. Kristin may have known I had the ability to coach even before I did. She asked if I would be interested during my senior year in college. Kristin had also coached me at Niagara so we knew each-other pretty well. She also hired me because she said I balanced her out. I realized now how important that is when building a staff.
Personally, I have to say my mom and my twin sister, Allisa. I wanted to be a teacher because of my mom and now I get to teach something I am very passionate about. My sister Allisa and I played both hockey and lacrosse together in college and she is one of the most unselfish people I know. I use her as an example when I am looking for players that are great teammates. It’s so important to creating a winning culture.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
You are the only one in your shoes. No one can tell you what is best for you so do what makes you happy. As coaches we spend roughly 80% of our lives in our careers so if you love what you’re doing keep doing it. If you need something different, go for it.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I have coached at 5 different schools and with 5 different staffs. The only reason I have left one place to try something new is the opportunity to learn and grow. Most of the changes were scary at first because they were well out of my comfort zone and each move meant leaving something great behind but every move was what was best for my career. I have learned from so many great coaches. I like to ask questions and listen to ideas. Sharing drills with other coaches or new ways to teach and motivate players is so interesting. I need to become a better reader. That is my goal this summer.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I try to workout 6 days a week. It takes my mind off of work and makes me feel good. I also like traveling and visiting with my friends and family. I need to make more room for the traveling. I am working on checking a few more items off of my bucket list.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Enjoy the process. Often times as coaches we get caught up in focusing on what is next that we forget to take time to be present. It’s so hard to do but sometimes you never really appreciate things until they are over.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Similar to the previous question the only thing I can think of is enjoying the process. During some really successful seasons, I was only able to realize how great they were as I was reflecting on them. As for my path to this point, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Congratulations, Allison!

June 2019 – Asiya Mahmud
Assistant Women’s Crew Coach, Drexel University

The Drexel Dragons assistant women’s crew coach, Asiya Mahmud, is our June ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I personally feel that I had very little success athletically. I had a lot of aspirations, but lacked the confidence to pursue them. As a coach, I have tried to turn this around by seeking out opportunities for my athletes to compete at a high level even if it means not being the best. Once you see what it takes to get to the top, you can develop a plan and being around like-minded others who want to compete and train at a high level will make you a better person as well. Iron sharpens iron! I consider my greatest accomplishment as a coach being a mentor for young women and helping them to the paths they want to take in life.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
In my coaching career I’ve been challenged with not letting personal struggle cross over into my work life. Sometimes I think we feel pressure to put up a strong and unbothered façade, but it’s ok to struggle, need help, and be vulnerable with those around you. The people that truly care for you will not only lend a hand but support you in any way they can.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
My mother is undoubtedly the greatest female influence on my life and coaching career. She knows very little about the sport but has shown me that passion and enthusiasm are great ways to get started with any job. She’s also shown an immense amount of strength through the toughest of times and it’s helped me to believe that with perseverance and support you can get through anything.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
I’ve said this before, but it’s ok to not have all the answers. Being a young coach, I’ve always worried about coming off uninformed or getting something wrong. It’s ok to be wrong! If you don’t make mistakes, you can’t learn.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I continue to learn and grow by attending conferences, seeking out mentors, and consulting my peers. It would be easy to want to keep information to yourself to try to get ahead, but in my experience when you are able to connect with people on a personal level you get a lot further.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Outside of coaching, I enjoy time spent with family and friends, reading, biking, and exploring the city of Philadelphia!

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Enjoy the little things. We get so wrapped up in the training programs and the championships it’s easy to forget about the van rides and the genuine moments spent with your group. When the season is over, those are the moments I miss the most.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
No way! If I went back and did something differently, I wouldn’t have an appreciation for who I have become today. Every opportunity, bad or good, is a learning experience.

Anything else you want to share?
Over the past year it has been tough seeing the strongest woman I know, my mother, battle metastatic breast cancer. Receiving news of the cancer being stage 4 at the time of her initial diagnosis left me feeling lost and in despair. However, watching how she has dealt with every up and down along the way with such poise and positivity has helped me to realize life is too short to sweat the small stuff. It’s helped me keep things in perspective and serves as a reminder to keep pushing forward even if every day is a battle. Take nothing for granted and live life to the fullest.

Congratulations, Asiya!

May 2019 – Adia Barnes
Head Women’s Basketball Coach, University of Arizona

The Wildcat’s head women’s basketball coach, Adia Barnes, is our May ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

You’ve had much success over the years as a coach and player both at the college level and in the WNBA, and last month, your Wildcats won the WNIT! Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Keys to success: surround yourself with good people; culture is everything! Build a championship culture on and off the court. My greatest accomplishment as a coach was winning the 2019 WNIT Championship in just my 3rd year as a head coach. We had the biggest turnaround in program history; from winning 6 games in 17-18 to winning 24 games in 18-19

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The first time I was cut from my WNBA team, and transitioning from a player to a coach.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Joan Bonvicini- she took a chance on me as a young, underrated high school player, and developed me into an All-American.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Work hard; go after your goals; set the bar high; be willing to do anything on and off the court.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I study the game; talk to other head coaches that are more successful and seasoned; use my inner circle for advice.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Time with my family! [WeCOACH: Happy Mother’s Day, Adia!]

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
To take more time for myself; make sure my gas tank is full; not to be so critical; things happen when their supposed to happen- it’s not always our time but the right time.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I would have made some better decisions earlier in my coaching career.

Anything else you want to share?
Thank you for honoring me!! I’m blessed to have the best job in the world – I get to wake up every day and mentor young women.

Congratulations, Adia!

April 2019 – Juli Fulks
Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Transylvania University

The Transy head women’s basketball coach, Juli Fulks, is our April ARMS Software Coach of the Month.

You’ve had much success as a head coach, especially this year posting a 27-3 record, winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, being named the HCAC Coach of the Year, and making it to the Sweet 16 of the DIII NCAA tourney. Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My love for coaching and this profession is the opportunity to use our sport to further our women as students, athletes, leaders, and future professionals. When our primary goal is their all-around development and instilling habits that lead to excellence, the games will take care of themselves and we graduate women confident and ready to take on their next challenge in life. My greatest joy in coaching is getting to have a front row seat watching players accomplish goals they never believed possible both on and off the court.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Every coach must find their own way to manage the stress and pressure of our professions. It took several years to find a healthy strategy, which started with a significant mental shift of remembering why I coach and being grateful to work in such a rewarding and meaningful career.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I am grateful and lucky to have worked with and for many strong women! My first example of coaching excellence and empowering women came from my high school volleyball coaches, Beth Elwood and Sue Fetzer. At the time, I didn’t understand the “why” behind their coaching methods, but 20 years later, I still employ their practice strategies and model their coaching demeanors.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Find ways to contribute and build relationships outside of the athletic offices. Say yes to committees, hiring searches, and other opportunities to work with new departments or the faculty. These ties can help break down barriers between athletics and other areas on campus and create new partnerships for your team.

How do you continue learning and growing?
My first path to learning is most often through reading and then talking with other coaches and administrators regarding their experiences. Additionally, I think the ability to honestly self-reflect is a critical component to all growth, both personally and professionally.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I’m always up for trying something new! Whether its traveling, new restaurants, workout classes, etc., I enjoy trying unique experiences and never know when something will become a new ‘favorite’.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
The basketball games are just 60 hours of our season. While they are obviously important, as coaches, we need to be as equally driven in all the other hours and times we can impact and educate our student-athletes.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Ha! Yes! In the business of making constant decisions, whether in or out of games, I can think of a lot of moments (or play calls). At the end of the day, I’m grateful to be working in college athletics and I wouldn’t change anything that helped lead me to my career and job today.

Congratulations, Juli!

March 2019 – Jo Evans
Head Softball Coach, Texas A&M  
WeCOACH Board of Directors member

Texas A&M head softball coach and current WeCOACH Board member Jo Evans is our March ARMS Software Coaches of the Month! In February Jo notched her 1200th win, becoming just one of 12 coaches in NCAA DI to reach that plateau. We recently had a chance to pose some questions to Jo. Below are the conversations.

You’ve had much success as a head coach and recently amassed career win #1200. Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I am passionate about coaching and passionate about my sport. I love the sport I coach and I love working with young women. I love what I do and I have always enjoyed the work. I am committed to being an effective communicator, confronting issues head on, and communicating directly with players and staff. I think that has served me well. I do my best to surround myself with people who are good at the things I’m not. I have been fortunate to work with some great assistant coaches who have shared my love for the sport and put in countless hours to ensure our success. No head coach ever does this alone! Accomplishment…When a former player tells me I made a positive impact in her life, that I’ve inspired her to be her best self. That feels really good.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
As a head coach, if my team isn’t successful, I can always go back to two things: either I didn’t do a good enough job recruiting, or I didn’t find a way to get my athletes to perform to their potential. The buck always stops with the head coach, so that can feel heavy at times.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Growing up it was my Mom. She was steady, always had her feet on the ground, wasn’t afraid of hard work, mowed the lawn, painted the house, etc. She was physically strong and emotionally strong. Always put her kids first, selfless, and kindhearted. In my professional world it was Fern Gardner. She was the Women’s Head Basketball Coach and Associate AD at The University of Utah. I took pitching lessons from her when I was young, and in 1990, she ended up hiring me as the Head Softball Coach at the University of Utah. She was a great boss because she had played every sport and ended up coaching just about every sport too. She could relate to me as a head coach. She was firm and kind and very competitive. I loved working for her.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Surround yourself with smart, hard-working people, who understand how much you love coaching. Build a foundation of family and friends who help you keep your feet on the ground. Have a life outside your job where people don’t call you Coach; you’ll need to escape once in a while. Be willing to work long hours and don’t expect a pat on the back every day. If you’re an assistant, do whatever you can to help the program be great. Be loyal to your head coach and program. Be Professional. Coaching is a profession, not a hobby, so give it the respect it deserves.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I am surrounded by people who are smarter than I am, so that helps. My competitors are so smart and accomplished that I’m constantly learning from them, whether it be on the field, in recruiting wars, or at our coaches meetings and conventions. Working camps, presenting at clinics, with coaches at all levels. Reading books, articles, etc.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I enjoy travelling to other countries, being outdoors, spending time with friends and family.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Today it would be: Be patient with yourself and your team. Don’t make excuses; just put in the hard work and trust the process. Remember you are more than your wins and losses.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I can’t think of much I would change. All the mistakes I’ve made, my shortcomings, the lessons I’ve learned by taking risks, have led me to this place in time. I definitely wouldn’t change where I am right now.

Anything else you want to share?
Coaching is an honor and a privilege. I wouldn’t trade the past 34 years of head coaching for anything.

Congratulations, Jo!

February 2019 – UC Irvine Women’s Basketball Staff
Tamara Inoue, Cece Russell-Nava, and Tayyiba Haneef-Park

Tamara Inoue (2013 WCA class #29) and two members of her staff: asst. coach Cece Russell-Nava (2015 WCA #35) and director of admin Tayyiba Haneef-Park (2016 WCA #38), are our February ARMS Software Coaches of the Month! We recently had a chance to pose some questions to Tamara and her staff. Below are the conversations.

You’ve had success both as a head and assistant/associate coach. Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I took over a program that had finished last or second to last in conference for several years. My first year was very testing, especially to my patience. My second year at UC Irvine, we made huge improvements and finished 3rd with the first post-season bid in over 25 years. This season we have had the best start in program history and are breaking many records at UC Irvine. The biggest key I believe in the quick turnaround to this program is my staff. Without the grind and recruiting that Coach Cece (Cecilia Russell-Nava), Coach Y (Jualeah Woods) & Coach J (Justin Wilson) have done, as well as the support that we have from our Dobo Amanda Delgado and Director of Administration for WBB, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, we wouldn’t be in this position of having such a fun and talented team to coach. I am a strong believer the culture comes from the top and I believe I have the best staff in the country.

Greatest accomplishment is winning. The players are seeing their hard work and commitment paying off every game when we get the win. Our team and individual players are being recognized on the national stage. The student-athlete, seeing the results of their hard work, I believe, builds confidence in their self-esteem and prepares them for life after basketball.
CC my freshman year and then won a championship my senior year. Going to the NCAA tournament was a special accomplishment.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Working with colleagues that may not have had the same agenda or goals that are being pushed out to the team. When it becomes about the individual and not the team, it can make every day, work, and practice very challenging. I was able to overcome it by focusing on my players and making sure the staff members who had two feet in were grinding with me and not only making my job as a head coach easier but making the HC look good!

What do you see as the biggest differences between being a head coach and an assistant?
Tamara: As an assistant it was SUPER easy to have an opinion and tell my HC this is how it should be done, and never understand the hesitation. As a head coach, I receive great input from my assistants but it’s not that easy pulling the trigger because it’s your name on the door. When I make decisions, I must take into consideration how it effects not only my players, but staff, support staff, administration, community, recruiting, and media.

When did you first realize you wanted to get into coaching?
Cece: I knew after my sophomore year of high school, Sue Phillips (my high school coach and one of the smartest women I know) inspired me. I want to pass on what she had instilled in me and that is to: work your butt off, be prepared, compete with your heart and soul, and you do not have to apologize for being a strong woman. Also, BANNERS ARE FOREVER!

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
Tamara: My mother, growing up, she never let me see a difference between boys and girls when it came to sports. I played all co-ed growing up and I hung with them all! My twin, Karine, and I were the most competitive against each other and my mom allowed it to happen. However, as we got older, she realized that we needed to pick different sports or else we wouldn’t be friends (best decision we ever made). My attitude has carried through my adult life where my competitiveness never waivers.

Cece: My Mom! She is a very strong woman that grew up a migrant worker, but with an education and hard work. She taught me you can do whatever you want. She taught me that you must outwork everyone around you. Being a woman and even more importantly, a woman of color, you can NEVER make an excuse, compare, or blame others. You must be prepared, work hard every day, and be presentable. Because as a woman you can do 9 things perfect but if you mess up the 10th time, then that is what you will be judged by. In that message it taught me not to give excuses, but to persevere. You must prove yourself over and over and over again, and once you do…do it again!

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Tamara: It’s not easy. The grind is real and the commitment is greater than when you were a student-athlete. Your time will be sacrificed. Stay with it, be a sponge, learn from coaches around you, and not just in your sport. Talk with other coaches outside your program. I promise you, your feelings are the same as others. Stay loyal, don’t throw anyone under the bus, and always leave a program better than when you first got there.

What is the best part about your job as Director of Administration for the women’s basketball team?
Tayyiba: The best part of my job is being able to take the administrative tasks such as finance, travel, and gear off the coaches hands to that they can focus on what’s most important- the development and well- being of the student the athletes.

How do you continue learning and growing?
Tamara: I watch a lot of games in all sports (mainly tennis). I love to read and learn about other coaches and athletes and what they have been through and how they had success.

Cece: Coach T is always pushing me to read more. But being open to listening and learning other philosophies or systems is something I strive for. Pete Newell Jr. who has been my mentor since I was in 4th grade constantly is challenging me in so many aspects, not just the game but in life. I think you have to constantly have the passion to watch, discuss, and listen to other coaches, and not just in your sport. I also learn a lot from our players. They are a constant wealth of knowledge, whether it’s the system they came from, the adjustments they are wanting to make, or what they are seeing.

Tayyiba: I think professional and personal development are extremely important. I love taking opportunities to grow in both areas whether it may be through church, lectures, books or even sitting and watching coaches from all different sports in their element. I had the pleasure to meet and get to know Lisa Nichols, author of The Secret, and am inspired by the way she motivates people around the world. I love studying how people can touch an audience like that and help make changes in another person’s life. I am also fascinated by Growth Mindset philosophies and continue to study them for use in my own personal and professional life. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Tamara: Seeing my twin as much as possible and hanging out with my niece and nephews at any point I get a break.

Cece: I do CrossFit every morning and surf on my off days. It’s fun to be around a different culture of athletes (even animals), how they move and attack, it’s all so relatable and can transfer back to your sport.

Tayyiba: Quality time with my family is of utmost importance to me when I am not working. I have a 5-year old daughter and a 8-year old son who are both very spirited and love spending time together. We love to cruise the beach, go to the park or just enjoy any opportunity to be outside. Apart from my kids, I love sewing, reading, DIY crafts and cooking.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Tamara: Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. Continue to lead and be the example.

Cece: Know your “why” and have passion behind it. I want to make sure our players are successful and have a great experience. Part of that is getting them to experience being Champions. The grind and what it takes to compete and earn a championship leads to successful, confident women.

Tayyiba: A positive attitude and outlook on life gives you power over your circumstances rather than your circumstances having the power to control you.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Tamara: No, I have been hit with very tough life lessons to this point, some where I was stuck for a little while on what would be next but I believe I have learned so much from mistakes and decisions that I am better for it and can continue to be a role model for this young women that come into my program.

Cece: Yes, there is so much I would do differently, even from back to when I was a player. However, I always tell my players that, a sign of a good player is one who can see and understand their adjustments, but a sign of a GREAT player is the one who sees and then DOES IT! So the one thing I would do differently is not be so STUBBORN!

Tayyiba: No. I think every lesson learned put me on the path to be exactly where I am today. The hurt and the pain made me stronger. The losses made me hunger to be better. The wins made me appreciate the journey. The struggle made me humble. Each day is an opportunity to learn, grow and strengthen your testimony.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to say that it is possible to have a family and career in coaching or administration even at the top levels of the sporting world. As an athlete I competed overseas while having my son with me. Now as a mother of two, I have been able to find the right village that supports my family/work balance. I encourage women that want to have to families to find the atmosphere that helps balance the two, knowing that the work-life harmony will be different during season and off-season.

Congratulations, Tamara, Cece, and Tayyiba!

January 2019 – Erin Lindsey
Head Volleyball Coach, Santa Clara University

The Santa Clara new head volleyball coach, Erin Lindsey, is our January ARMS Software Coach of the Month! We recently had a chance to pose some questions to Lindsey. Below is our conversation.

You’ve had success both as a head and assistant coach as well as a student-athlete, and recently, when you were still an assistant for the Stanford Volleyball team, the Cardinal won the National Championship. Talk to us about some keys to your successes as a coach. And what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I would say the successes that stick with me as a coach are maybe what others consider small, but it’s the changes and progress I get to help student-athletes make in their game or in their life every day. It’s their “ah-ha moments” or when they realize they have another level or decide on a major or a career. To continue to have the opportunity to do this though, you have to win and be successful in the competitions. On that front, I would say being a part of this year’s Stanford team and winning the national championship is obviously the best. But I have also been a part of a few other special teams including the 2015 Dartmouth team that finished just 2 points short from the program’s 1st-ever Ivy League championship. Also, the 2008 North Carolina team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship. Both who had huge turnarounds from their previous seasons. As a student-athlete, I was a part of a UNC program that was middle of the ACC my freshman year and then won a championship my senior year. Going to the NCAA tournament was a special accomplishment.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
There are a lot of parts of this job that are hard. Most coaches like to have a lot of control and we coach young people who are still figuring out who they are and what they want out of life; that can be complicated. I would say it was hard moving my family to New Hampshire for my first head coaching job at a program that was perennially at the bottom of the conference and then having a 2-win season the second year in. Then sticking to my plan and making sure I was consistent in my effort and behavior. It was hard to make the decision to go back to assistant coaching when I knew I loved being a head coach. I recognized it could be better for my family and ultimately my career.

What do you see as the biggest differences between being a head coach and an assistant?
The biggest difference in being a head coach and assistant is the control over how the program is run and then the pressure to produce results. Also, I think the way the student-athletes communicate and engage with you is completely different. It takes more as a head coach to gain trust and develop a productive relationship. But I also think once you do, it can be stronger. I have found that you get a lot less sleep as a head coach.

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I am not sure I can identify one specific woman who greatly shaped my career. I will say I have admired many women from afar who I think have been pioneers in athletics: Beth Miller at UNC and Cecile Reynaud at FSU. Also women who have done exceptionally well in head coaching women’s volleyball: Kirsten Booth at Creighton and Jen Petrie at San Diego. Megan Sobel at Dartmouth was a great advocate for my program and me, and always pushed me to ask for what I thought we needed. I appreciated those nudges because that wasn’t something that came naturally to me.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
Put yourself out there to get into conversations with as many different people as you can. And don’t limit those to your own sport or the athletics industry. Also, don’t make assumptions about what the job is or is not, or if you can do it with a family. And … Don’t give up! What we do is important.

How do you continue learning and growing?
Mostly conversations with other people about volleyball, teaching, learning, business, life, psychology, parenting, anything anyone wants to talk about. And podcasts, books, articles, but mostly podcasts these days.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
Anything my kids want to do, traveling – seeing new places and meeting new people, relaxing on the beach in Hawaii, entertaining (having people over for food and company).

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?
Be present. Look for opportunities to connect and cherish them.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?
I don’t think I would go back and do anything differently. I very much appreciate my path; I see value in all of it.

Anything else you want to share?
I think a lot of who I am and have become comes from my family and especially growing up in Hawaii. It is a special place where many different cultures come together on a small island and it fosters understanding, passion and teamwork.

Congratulations, Erin!

December 2018 – Lyndse Hokanson
Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach, Georgetown University

Hoyas assistant women’s soccer coach, Lyndse Hokanson, is our December ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

You’ve had success every place you have been, and a very successful season this year, making it to the College Cup for the 2nd time in 3 years. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far? Wow, it’s hard to pick just one because each of those teams and moments were so special. Obviously, it was really exciting to be there for the first conference tournament victory for both Valdosta State in ’14 and then with Georgetown in ’16. Knowing how much each of those championships meant to, not only the girls in the program at that moment in time, but also all of those who had come before – that was a humbling experience. It was really cool to see alums beaming with pride over the success of programs they’d helped contribute to. Of course, heading to the College Cup in 2016 with Georgetown was remarkable, and I am pinching myself that we are preparing to head to our 2nd one in a few days. (*this interview took place prior to the start of the semi-final match-up with UNC in the Women’s College Cup)

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome thus far in my career was the first season transitioning from being a player to being a coach. More specifically, for me, it was the switch from playing as a goalkeeper to becoming a coach who needs to view the field holistically. I had watched the game of soccer from the goal practically my whole life, so moving to the sideline and watching the interaction between the lines of players and the tactics from a different viewpoint was a whole new (and at times jarring) experience. Still learning so much every day!

Was there a woman who has greatly shaped or influenced you? How?
I have been incredibly lucky to have so many female mentors in the coaching world throughout my career. My first travel soccer coach was a female, my college coach was a female, my goalkeeper coach was a female, and my first boss was a female. Each of them has had a unique impact on the way that I view the game and interact with my players. So, for the sake of not leaving any of them out, ‘thanks’ Michelle, Diane, Kasey, Mel, and Becks! I couldn’t be more thankful for what they have each given to me. It’s hard to choose just one of the many women in coaching I admire or have benefited from knowing, but when I was in high school, I was coached on an international trip by a woman named Erin (Lycan) Ridley. I remember being so intrigued by the detail with which she approached the position, and the way that she could articulate her coaching points, with both respect and care. I was lucky to then have the opportunity to coach alongside her at regional camps and through that time I watched a mentor become a confidant and friend. I have been super thankful to have her as a sounding board as I have continued to progress in my career and she is still someone that equally inspires and encourages me to this day.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming women coaches?
First, let me say, being 5 years in, I don’t claim to even be close to knowing a thing about anything. But for those who might be right at the start or in the early stages of their career, I would say my best piece of advice learned so far is to be true to yourself. Ultimately, there are going to be things that you are awesome at and things that you struggle with. Never stop trying to learn but also realize that it is okay to let others help you out at those things that you aren’t so great at. Be aware of those areas that you can lean on others. Along those lines, always try and put yourself in situations where you can take advantage of your strengths and benefit those around you by shining in that way. I feel you will always add the most value when you are able to be authentic and do what you do best as much as possible. Also, never be too big for the little things, learn people’s names and use them, and be kind always. Those simple things will let people around you know that you care and are invested.

How do you continue learning and growing?
I’m constantly looking to learn and grow through coaching courses offered in our sport, our coaching convention, and opportunities like the NCAA Women Coaches Academy. I find you learn the most through engaging in conversations with other coaches as much as you can. I do not in any way feel as though I’ve got it figured out, so I really love getting to learn from peers and people who I have admired from afar just by talking about the game. I want to get out of my comfort zone as much as I can so that I am constantly being challenged.

If you could tell yourself anything, what one bit of advice would you give yourself? Or is there anything you would go back and do differently?
Again, this past year I’ve really come to realize that knowing who you are and what you bring to the table is important. Granted, this is only year 5 for me, so I don’t pretend like I know a lot or have been at this for a long time. However, I think in the past I have been guilty of getting caught up in the dreadful act of comparison and honed in on my flaws and deficiencies in relation to those around me. I have been fallen victim to that sense of imposter syndrome and always feeling like I was a passenger instead of a contributing factor to my own path and journey. When I did that, I lost sight of all the qualities that have drawn me into this profession and that have put me in the place that I am now. If I could go back a few years and tell myself to quit being so hard on myself it probably would have saved me a few sleepless nights! I wouldn’t go back and change anything because even the tough experiences are worthwhile, but I’d love to tell my first-year self to relax a little bit.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?
I am a sports fanatic so even in my free time I’m watching sports or attending games. If I’m not doing that, I’m probably playing with my dog or hanging out with family and friends, nothing too crazy.

Is there anything else that you want to share with others?
Funny story, when I went to college, I always thought I was going to be the next Hannah Storm (SportsCenter anchor) and literally said from 6th grade on that was what I was going to do. Then, my freshman year of college, I picked up the nickname “coach” after I helped out with an intramural team on campus, and I remember telling one of my friends my junior year that I thought I was going to go into coaching. Her response: “Duh. Glad you finally figured it out on your own.” Guess it just took me a while to grow into my nickname.

Congratulations, Lyndse!

November 2018 – Anne Parmenter
Head Field Hockey Coach, Trinity College

Trinity College head field hockey coach Anne Parmenter is our November ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

Parmenter’s team has had a successful 2018 season so far, currently sitting with a 12-4 overall record.

This is even more impressive as the Bantams graduated their two-time national Player of the Year and leading Trinity scorer in team history. Parmenter takes pride in continuing to find a way to grow as a team, which involves demanding a high level of play from her first year players and young returners.

A high moment of the season came in the middle of October as Trinity played the undefeated, top-ranked, and defending national champ Middlebury College and held them scoreless for an hour. Though they fell in the end, Parmenter identifies that as a huge moment of pride.

Despite the highs, Parmenter has also overcome many challenges. One of the most difficult was leaving the first school she coached at (Connecticut College) to take over the head coaching position at their arch rivals.

She has had strong women in her life who have shaped and influenced her. Parmenter’s first P.E. teacher encouraged her to join a field hockey club and pursue her dream of going to P.E. college (in the UK). Her grandmother and mother have also served as role models for her. Parmenter’s mother, who is 87, swims every day, walks and lawn bowls. Though she lives in Australia, she live streams all of the Trinity field hockey games and emails her critiques to Parmenter.

Parmenter continues to learn and grow by surrounding herself with young, energetic assistants, who she says keep her current with technology and the latest trends.

When it comes to advice, for up-and-coming women coaches, Parmenter urges them to be servant leaders. “Never ask your athletes to do things that you haven’t or wouldn’t do yourself,” said Parmenter. “Remember your athletes are only 18-21 year olds in college (remember how you were back in the day). And always help to pick up the balls, move the equipment, and generally roll up your sleeves. We’re all in the trench when you’re on a team.”

Outside of field hockey, the NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #31 (2013) graduate and Judy Sweet Award winner takes a mental break by rock climbing. Her commitment extends to her hobby, as she trains three times per week in a gym and climbs outside on Sundays during the season.

Congratulations, Coach Anne Parmenter, and best of luck in the post-season!

October 2018 – Alicia Galindo
Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach, Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona women’s soccer assistant coach Alicia Galindo is our October ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

Galindo, who is a NCAA Women Coaches Academy graduate (2018 Class #45), has coached for 17 years. What she’s most proud of in that time is the relationships she’s developed with the 500+ young women she has worked with.

While Galindo is serving as a role model for her players, she credits a female coach with greatly influencing her and her career.

“I had a coach who I played for my first two years of college and her name was Debbie Cavion. She was a great coach, very well respected; she had won state titles, and had a top-notch program. Once I was done playing college soccer and getting ready to graduate she had asked if I had a job lined up and what my plans were. Debbie gave me my first opportunity to coach at the collegiate level and it was at Mt. San Antonio College. She mentored me and began to develop the skills I have today as a coach.”

Galindo has been successful in balancing a long coaching career with her family, despite its challenges. When her husband was hired by a fire department in California, they decided to raise their family there, limiting her options for jobs.

Now at Cal Poly Pomona, Galindo is showing that coaches can have a successful career and a family, all while helping her athletes “be better today than they were yesterday.”

Her advice for up-and-coming women coaches:

“I encourage other coaches to be life-long learners, to make connections with other female coaches, to being a great example and to being real. Know what your “WHY” is and always reflect on that. Lead by your core values because you cannot pretend to be someone who you are not. Showing them you can be married, have a family, have a life, and still have fun at work all while being successful. It’s not always easy and I am very thankful for my support system, my family, friends, the coaches, and administration at Cal Poly Pomona because without them I would not be where I am today.”

September 2018 – Nora Boerger
Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach, Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse assistant coach Nora Boerger is our September ARMS Software Coach of the Month!

It has been a big summer for Boerger, who was named to her position with GVSU in August 2018. In July, Boerger was named an assistant coach for the Swiss Lacrosse Women’s National Team, which is preparing for the ELF Women’s European Championship next July.

Boerger is most proud of continuing to serve as a positive role model for female athletes.

“It is imperative that women coaches continue to exhibit abilities indicative of any leader on an elite level,” Boerger said. “I am proud that I have persevered through trials and triumphs in order to be in a place where I can give back all that was given to me.”

Growing up, both her mother and her high school basketball coach were influential in her development. Her coach instilled the importance of Title IX, her important role as a woman in sport, and taught her to always have a voice.

Boerger echoes similar words of advice for women getting started in coaching:

“The advice I have for up and coming women coaches is to speak up. If you have questions, ask them. If you have an idea, bring it to the table. We all had to start somewhere and sometimes it is a little intimidating to give yourself a voice in certain situations, however, it is important that we do so. Build a network of people who are going to help you develop as a person and as a professional. Have successful mentors in lacrosse and in other sports. Find the person/persons who will push you to be great and stay uncomfortable. Challenges are great! They give us an opportunity to learn and grow. What’s better than that? Have a growth mindset – when you fall down, get back up.”

With so many exciting new endeavors, the NCAA Women Coaches Academy graduate (2017, Class #41) isn’t nervous, as she has confidence in her ability to prepare, relate to people and make adjustments.

“I am most excited about the opportunity, afforded by Mackenzie Lawler, to work with a new program and institution,” said Boerger. “Grand Valley State University is an excellent university that has a rich background in tradition and success. In working with Swiss Lacrosse, I always wanted to coach an international team but thought the opportunity would come at some point down the road. It has been an awesome experience so far and I am grateful for the chance to work with the Women’s National Team.

“My dream is to develop champions for life. If I am successful in doing that, then the rest will take care of itself.”

Congratulations, Coach Nora Boerger, and best of luck in your new positions!

August 2018 – Tammy Farnum
Associate Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Michigan State

Michigan State women’s soccer associate head coach Tammy Farnum is our August ARMS Software Coach of the Month! 2018 will mark Farnum’s 22nd season coaching at her alma mater, where she was a standout defender and co-captain of the Spartans.

Prior to returning to Michigan State, Farnum served as both the head women’s soccer coach and women’s athletic director at Alma College and also coached at East Lansing High School. She is an 18-year Michigan Olympic Development Coach and has led six teams to national championships.

Despite her many achievements, Farnum is most proud of the relationships she’s created throughout her career.

“As the recruiting coordinator for our program I have had the pleasure of building connections with our players during their college journey,” said Farnum. “Whether it was getting to know them in the recruiting process, supporting them during their time as a student athlete, and staying connected as they transition into the next chapter of their lives as alumni.”

This great role model for her student athletes also had a strong female influence in her life – her mother. When Farnum was 16, her mother passed away from cancer, but her impact is clear.

“Her core values still anchor me today,” said Farnum. “Love and appreciate your faith and family, be kind to others and meet them in their moment with patience and understanding, always remember that making someone smile or laugh is a gift that will come back to you.”

Farnum’s advice to up-and-coming coaches echoes those core values she gained through her mother.

“Be kind, be honest and work hard. The coaching profession will be emotional, filled with triumphs and trials and provide you a platform to serve, challenge and support your team in ways that far exceed the playing arena. Put your focus and energy into what you can control and have a plan to deal with the aspects you can not control.”

Farnum is an NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #44 graduate (2017), and the experience had a large impact on her.

“WeCOACH has forever changed my life both personally and professionally,” said Farnum. “WeCOACH has revitalized my passion by providing a level of support I didn’t think was possible to obtain. They have given me new ways to sharpen the tool in my coaching toolbox while also creating a safe, trusted arena to be able to ask for help.

“My dream is that through coaching and sport we be able to strengthen our connections with each other and make this world a better place to live, love and laugh everyday! Turning simple moments into everlasting memories.”

Congratulations, Coach Tammy Farnum, and thank you for being such an inspiration to your student athletes and fellow coaches!

July 2018 – Jennifer Patrick-Swift
Head Softball Coach, North Carolina State

North Carolina State head softball coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift is our July ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Patrick-Swift recently accepted the position at the Power 5 school after leading Saint Francis to back-to-back conference championship titles and NCAA Tournament appearances.

With the move to North Carolina, Patrick-Swift returns home to the state where she played collegiately at Methodist College. She was also a head coach at Chowan University.

Patrick-Swift is most excited to bring the relatively young program back into the national spotlight.

“We are in a great area of the country at a university that is well known academically so we will be able to get in the best people and players from around the country,” said Patrick-Swift. “Having the NC State platform to go alongside my recruiting ideals and coaching style I’m confident will yield results that the Wolfpack community, alumni, and fans will be proud of.”

When reflecting on her career, Patrick-Swift is most proud of the path she took to where she is today. She loves being the underdog, and continues to fight her way towards her ultimate goal – coaching on softball’s biggest stage at the Women’s College World Series.

Getting her start as a graduate assistant at a Division III school, Patrick-Swift has coached at every NCAA level, and takes pride in the hard work that has gotten her to where she is now.

Patrick-Swift’s advice for up-and-coming coaches: “Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all because you can! If you’re someone that wants a family, you CAN make coaching your career and be a mom or a wife! There is really no such thing as ‘work/life balance’ though so it’s best to get rid of that idea from your mind! I like to think of is more as being where my feet are. If I’m in season then I’m naturally going to be spending more time focusing on work, but between seasons and those busy times, I’m able to focus more on being a mom and a wife. I will say, it is not easy! However, you can do it with a strong support system and a constant reminder to be where your feet are!”

Patrick-Swift is an NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #35 graduate (2015) and an Academy 2.0 Class #1 (2017) graduate.

Congratulations, Coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift!

June 2018 – Corliss Fingers
Director of Strength and Conditioning, Bethune-Cookman University

Bethune-Cookman University Director of Strength and Conditioning Corliss Fingers is our June ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Fingers is one of the only female head strength & conditioning coaches in Division I.

In her three years at Bethune-Cookman, Fingers has greatly impacted the Wildcats. She took over working with their FCS football team that was 4-7 in just her second season and helped them win their conference championship.

Prior to arriving at Bethune-Cookman, Fingers coached at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Maryland, and Southern University.

As one of the only females in the lead role in strength and conditioning, Fingers faces a number of challenges every day. Along with finding locker room space to change in, one of the biggest obstacles is “getting young men to buy into my program right away due to the fact they feel you have to have played football in college in order to understand the demand of the sport.”

Having a strong support network around her helps Fingers be her best at work and live out her dreams. Her husband is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at B-CU and her son is spoiled by everyone in the Athletic Department.

She encourages other women to follow in her footsteps leading by example. “Showing them you can be married, have a family, have a life, and still have fun at work all while being successful.”

Fingers has been influenced greatly by another woman who led by example – her mother, Lennix Ann Wilson. Their barrier-breaking paths are very similar.

Wilson was the only female in her class at Harris Barber College when everyone told her she should go to beauty school instead. She was the only female barber in Orange County in North Carolina.

“Growing up in a house where a women worked in a traditionally male occupation helped me to see no barriers,” Fingers said.

Fingers’ advice for up-and-coming strength and conditioning coaches is to get out of your comfort zone, be willing to learn new things, and grow and evolve in many areas. She also believes coaches should hold firm to their “why.”

Fingers is an NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #43 graduate (2017) and Judy Sweet Award winner.

Congratulations, Coach Corliss Fingers!

May 2018 – Michelle Piantadosi-Lima
Head Volleyball Coach/Senior Woman Administrator, Eckerd College

Eckerd College Head Volleyball Coach Michelle Piantadosi-Lima is our May ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Piantadosi-Lima’s beach volleyball team recently finished the season by advancing to the AVCA Small College Championship and finishing at 17-6, setting a record for the most wins in the program’s four-year history.

Piantadosi-Lima balances coaching both indoor and beach volleyball, and is proud of being the first NCAA Division II program to add a beach volleyball program.

“I knew we would have to push hard to get out in front of other programs,” said Piantadosi-Lima. “We have had to go back to the drawing board and rethink how we do things in order to balance the large number of players that play both sports, but overall the players who helped build the program over the last four years have done an incredible job. One of our former beach players is currently representing her country of Slovenia in the world tour and we have a few others that will continue on and play after they graduate.”

After a successful playing career at Tennessee, Piantadosi-Lima competed professionally in Salzburg, Austria and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has also played beach volleyball professionally, competing in several AVP tournaments across the country.

Before Eckerd, Piantadosi-Lima coached at East Tennessee State University and Nova Southeastern, where she was recognized by the AVCA as ‘one of the 30 best coaches in the country under the age of 30.’ One of the proudest moments of her career came at Nova Southeastern where she led the team to the Elite 8 after stepping in for her ill head coach during a tough 5-set Sweet 16 match.

Piantadosi-Lima has been shaped by many women, including her mother, grandmother and “countless coaches who have seen something in me worth believing in.”

In a career where she is constantly serving others, Piantadosi-Lima said she is still learning how to take care of herself first in order to be a better coach. Her advice for up-and-coming coaches reflects that important work:

“Remember to enjoy the journey. Work hard but know that your tank is not endless. Fill your soul up with things you enjoy and make sure to spend time with the people you love the most. I believe the key to doing this job for a long time is protecting time for yourself every day so that you can recharge, reflect and dream big.”

Piantadosi-Lima, an NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #30 graduate (2013), also serves as Eckerd’s Senior Woman Administrator. In this role, she is a member of the athletics department senior management team and oversees student-athlete well-being and development and serves as the department’s Title IX.

Congratulations, Coach Michelle Piantadosi-Lima!

April 2018 – Stephanie Wheeler
Head Coach, University of Illinois Women’s Wheelchair Basketball

The University of Illinois Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Stephanie Wheeler is our April ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Wheeler was recently named as a 2018 National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Hall of Fame inductee.

“To me, being inducted into the Hall of Fame means that I’ve been fortunate to have incredible family members, friends, mentors, student-athletes, teammates, and coaches around me who believed in me, set high expectations for me, pushed me, picked me up, and celebrated with me when things went well,” said Wheeler. “However, within that moment of reflection on the amazing opportunities that I’ve had, it also allows me to look to the future, as I know there is so much more that I can do in my sport and for the women and girls who want to play or coach wheelchair basketball (or any sport for that matter).”

Coach Wheeler has found success at the highest level as both a player and a coach. She is a U.S. Paralympic gold medalist as a player (2004, 2008), and also as a head coach (2016). She is on track to earn her PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois, where she is currently the head coach of the women’s wheelchair basketball team.

Despite her many successes on the court, Wheeler is most proud of the character of the student-athletes who graduate from her program.

“My hope is that while they were at Illinois, they learned they bring value, that they have an incredible opportunity to change perceptions, and that they have a responsibility to give back to our sport and community,” said Wheeler.

Growing up, Wheeler didn’t have many role models of strong disabled women. Seeing basketball legends Sylvia Hatchell and Pat Summitt coaching opened her eyes to the possibility of being a woman with a career in sports. Watching Summitt, she realized that having care and compassion for your student-athletes, and being demanding and holding them to incredibly high standards aren’t mutually exclusive. Celia Slater and Holly Hesse have also played large roles in Wheeler’s career and as a person.

The first woman with a disability Wheeler saw was Deb Sunderman, a legend in women’s wheelchair basketball. She was the first female head coach that Wheeler encountered on the national team, and it was in her that Wheeler saw what she could be someday.

Coach Wheeler is now that person who others look up to. Her advice to up and coming coaches:

“The advice that I have…is to be intentional about the network/circle of influence that you create. I remember feeling isolated and alone as a young coach, and then I found [WeCOACH]. Not only did I meet amazing coaches from every sport across the country, but it also gave me the courage to reach out to the women coaches on my campus at Illinois (as we aren’t a part of our athletic department). Having a network of amazing women to call on when I felt isolated or needed advice has been the most important thing that I have done as a coach.”

Wheeler has previously served on the WeCOACH’s Coaches Council. She is also a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (2012 Class #28) and the 2017 inaugural class of Academy 2.0.

Congratulations, Coach Stephanie Wheeler!

March 2018 – Lori Kerans
Former Head Coach, and now the Director of Alumni Engagement, Millikin University Basketball

Millikin’s former Women’s Basketball Head Coach Lori Kerans is our March ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Kerans wrapped up her 32nd season at the helm of the Big Blue with a win over North Park University and announced her retirement from coaching.

Kerans ends her coaching career with a record of 556-276, 11 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Titles and one NCAA Division III National Championship. She will continue to serve her alma mater as the Director of Alumni Engagement.

Throughout her entire career, Kerans is most proud of creating a culture of family, inclusion, and graduates at Millikin.

The Treasurer for WeCOACH’s Board of Directors was shaped by “the pioneering women who were visionary enough to see opportunities where none existed for women, and who were/are strong enough to make those possibilities a REALITY! For each and everyone of us, we have those women in our lives….grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, coaches, teachers, mentors, friends.”

The legendary coach has some great advice for up-and-coming women coaches:

  • Coach for relationships and development, not for trophies and banners
  • Remember to say “I love you”, “I’m proud of you”, and “I’m sorry”
  • Find a “place” that connects with you philosophically and give of your whole self to those people
  • Take care of yourself (spiritually, physically, emotionally).

Only a couple of weeks out of coaching, Kerans isn’t sure what she’ll miss the most yet, but she believes it will be two things: “1) Practice; I love to teach and be a part of developing skills and teams; (2) celebrating with a student-athlete as she graduates!”

Congratulations, Coach Lori Kerans, on an amazing career!

February 2018 – Jeanne Fleck
Head Coach, Fresno State University Swimming & Diving

Fresno State’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach Jeanne Fleck is our February ARMS Software Coach of the Month! Fleck is in her tenth season at Fresno State, where her team just wrapped up their regular season by defeating their Mountain West rival for a second time this year. Her team also once again earned Scholar All-America honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).

Fleck, who started the NCAA Division I program from scratch, will now lead the Dogs into the Mountain West Championship in San Antonio, Texas.

Not only does Fleck have an impact on her student-athletes, but she has also volunteered her time to give back to the profession and help women stay in coaching. Fleck is participating in WeCOACH’s Mentor Program this year as a Gold mentor, working with two mentees.

Jess Mosbaugh (assistant swim coach at Pepperdine), one of the coaches that Fleck is mentoring, had this to say about the veteran coach:

“Jeanne has been a tremendous encouragement for a young collegiate coach in the start of her career. She is patient, understanding, well-spoken and knowledgeable about athletic departments and coaching staffs, as well as the ins and outs of team dynamics. She has helped me in the process of fine-tuning my voice as a coach by having open dialogues that have challenged my viewpoints of coaching. Jeanne has been an amazing connection to have and I am thankful that [WeCOACH] has allowed me the privilege of pairing me up with Jeanne as my mentor.”

Fleck has some wisdom to share with up-and-coming coaches as well. “Please do not be intimidated by jobs or your value as a coach. One thing I learned writing for my Master’s degree is women do not always apply for jobs unless they meet all the qualifications. I say ‘Go for it’ if you have one that you are interested in! You never know until you try!”

Fleck herself had two strong women in her life who greatly influenced her. Her grandmother was “strong and loving all at the same time” and earned her Master’s degree in 1923, a feat that was rare at that time. Kathy Wickstram-Gahen was also a mentor for Fleck and, “…showed me how important it is for women to be mentally coached as well as physically.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise that what she is most proud of in her career is “the impact that I have had on the young people I coach and what they go on and do with their lives.”

Congratulations Jeanne Fleck and thank you for your commitment to women coaches!

January 2018 – Bobbie Kelsey
Assistant Coach, Los Angeles Sparks

Los Angeles Sparks Assistant Coach Bobbie Kelsey is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for January! In her first year with the WNBA team, Kelsey led the Sparks to the WNBA Finals and an exciting series against the Minnesota Lynx.

WeCOACH’s NCAA Women Coaches Academy faculty member recently shared her experiences with Class #43 and Academy 2.0 at the NCAA WCA. From her time as head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, to her work as an assistant coach, to a year with the Boys and Girls Club, Coach Kelsey has proven an inspiration and a force to be reckoned with on and off the court.

After starring as a player at Stanford University, Coach Kelsey returned to her alma mater 11 years later to work under legend Tara VanDerveer.

“I am most proud of the fact that I could return to Stanford, my alma mater, to help the program return to national prominence by going to four consecutive Final Fours after a 10 year absence,” Coach Kelsey said. “It was a great feeling knowing I could contribute something back to a program that had done so much for me personally as a former team member. Nothing has been more satisfying.”

Coach Kelsey was influenced by another strong woman, her grandmother, Elizabeth C. Fields.

“[She] greatly shaped who I am today because of her courage and perseverance in the face of great odds during her 92 years on earth,” Coach Kelsey said. “She passed away this past January 17th so it has been a hard adjustment knowing I cannot call her or get advice. However, she took risks and avoided the pitfalls of being a young mother can present by never giving up especially on her quest to be educated. She attended night school to receive her high school diploma then graduated with my mother from college. She was relentless which makes me who I am today. I give her all the credit for showing the way to success.”

Now on her own successful path, Coach Kelsey is generous with her time in talking to up-and-coming coaches, and has some great advice for them:

“I would encourage all women coaches to use their voice. To never shrink back in order to accommodate the insecurities of others who cannot handle their strength. It is never the right thing to be quite especially when you have something impactful to share. Also, make sure your story is crafted in a way that shows your authentic self. Who better to tell it than you. No one else can convey what you yourself know best. Use your voice! Loud and proud!”

Congratulations, Coach Bobbie Kelsey!

December 2017 – Tara Zollinger
Head Coach, Shippensburg University Field Hockey

Coach Tara Zollinger (NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #35) is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for December! In her first year as a head coach, Zollinger led the Shippensburg University field hockey team to an NCAA Division II Championship.

The win makes Zollinger the first person to win an NCAA Division II National Championship in her first year as a collegiate head coach.

Zollinger is no stranger to championships. Prior to taking the helm at Shippensburg, Zollinger spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Syracuse University where she helped her team to a Division I title in 2015. As a player, she won two championships at the University of Maryland.

“When you win as a player, everything feels like it is happening so fast in super speed!” said Zollinger. “You rush the field, you’re screaming with your teammates, there is so much emotion and so much going on. As a coach when the final whistle blows and you see your athletes rush the field everything slows down. Seeing the emotion on the athletes faces, seeing them cry and cheer and laugh all at the same time, it is so rewarding.”

During her time at Syracuse, Zollinger worked under two-time NFHCA Division I National Coach of the Year, Ange Bradley. Bradley has had, and continues to have, a huge influence on Zollinger.

“She took me under her wing as a very young coach and committed to developing and mentoring me,” said Zollinger. “She has challenged me but always believed in my abilities and helped me gain confidence as a coach. I have learned a lot about the game and the coaching profession through my experiences at Syracuse. Ange inspires me to always strive for excellence and never settle for mediocrity.”

Zollinger encourages young coaches to self evaluate to learn, and then develop, their authentic leadership style.

“Be sure to stay true to your values and have a clear picture of your coaching mission,” said Zollinger. “Make sure you use your resources, take advantage of every opportunity and observe/shadow other coaches. Have a ‘do your best mentality’ where you wake up with ambition and go to bed with satisfaction.”

Congratulations, Coach Tara Zollinger!

November 2017 – Becky Burleigh
Head Coach, University of Florida Women’s Soccer

Coach Becky Burleigh (NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #24) is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for November! Burleigh recently hit 400 wins when her Gators earned a 2-1 win over Missouri. This also marked UF women’s soccer’s 400th win, as Burleigh has led the program since it began in 1995.

Burleigh hits the impressive milestone in an already decorated career, which includes an NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup appearances, 14 Southeastern Conference titles and 20 NCAA Championships berths. She has also been named National (1998) and SEC Coach of the Year (2012, ‘10, ‘08, ‘00 & ’96).

Despite the many accolades, the NCAA Women Coaches Academy faculty member is most proud of maintaining a healthy culture of player and personal development while sustaining a high level of on the field success.

Burleigh had female role models from early on in her career. Her first two coaches in youth soccer were women, including her high school coach, so, she learned early that women could coach, unlike most of her peers who had only male coaches.

Her advice to other coaches? “Be a life-long learner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to other coaches, in and out of your sport. Ask a lot of questions.”

Congratulations Coach Burleigh!

October 2017 – Debbie Kiick
Head Coach, Millikin University Volleyball

Coach Debbie Kiick (2016 NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #39) is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for October! Kiick surpassed 400 career wins at Millikin with two victories during the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Invitational September 8-9. She is currently in her 17th season directing the Big Blue volleyball program, and her career mark stands at 401-207 (.660).

Some of Kiick’s proudest moments include breaking a 50-match conference winning streak of a conference rival, and coming from behind in the 5th set (down 14-8 in a set to 15) and coming back to win the match and advance to the sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Additionally, Kiick prides herself on her desire to continue growing as a coach after 37 years in the profession, being someone her peers can count on when they need something, and that her athletes graduate, get quality jobs and go on to have successful careers.

A number of women have greatly influenced Kiick. One in particular is Margie Wright, former Head Softball Coach at Fresno State and Illinois State. Wright’s encouraging words early in Kiick’s career ignited her incredibly successful career. Kiick also credits her peer Lori Kerans – Kiick’s “go to” – as a great role model. Additionally, Millikin’s Katie Tenboer and Whitney Sowers have given her valuable insight on team development.

Coach Debbie Kiick’s advice to up-and-coming coaches:

  • Gathering information from people you respect is a great way to improve your program. What you learn can help you by:
    • Understanding that you are on the right track, build your confidence, and that things will work out
    • Understanding that there is a different way for you to consider; it’s ok to stick with what you believe, but ask, listen, and consider pros and cons before you make a final decision.
  • Develop leaders within your program to put out the small fires so you can focus on the larger issues. It helps you and it helps develop more female leaders.
  • Be sure to make time for your family and the special events that are important to your family. It’s easy to get consumed with only work… but if you want to stay in the profession for the long haul, you need to be sure to enjoy the other aspects of your life that are important!
  • And last but not least…. Don’t lecture your team for a long time after a loss! They are just as frustrated and disappointed as you are. 2 minutes is plenty after a match…. Instead sleep on it, come up with your plan, and address it when they are fresher and more ready to listen.

We couldn’t be more proud of Coach Kiick as she hit this milestone and continues to lead the young women at Millikin. Congratulations, Debbie!

September 2017 – Shonda Stanton
Head Coach, Indiana University Softball

Coach Shonda Stanton (NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #36) is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for September! Stanton was just named the new head softball coach at Indiana University after serving as head coach at Marshall for 18 seasons.

Stanton was also recently featured on the ‘On Deck with NFCA’ podcast. Listen to the episode here.

At Marshall, she became the winningest coach in program history with 560 victories and has posted 12 seasons with 30 or more wins. Despite those great stats, Stanton is most proud of developing people.

“My greatest accomplishments all center around building young people into strong, confident women,” said Stanton. “I am most proud of the relationships cultivated having mentored over a 100 student-athletes during my tenure at Marshall.”

As she takes over the Hoosier program, Stanton is excited to work with the players and compete in the Big Ten against phenomenal coaches and athletes.

“The opportunity to create a sustainable culture at a University where the brand is synonymous with a tradition of excellence is exhilarating.”

What advice does Stanton have for up-and-coming women coaches? She has a lot of words of wisdom:

“Bloom where you are planted! Get involved in organizations like [WeCOACH] and your sport association. Instead of getting lost in plans or preparation, w.i.n. the day by focusing on what is important now. Connect with others and be intentional about it from picking up the phone for a brief chat to attending professional workshops. Be grateful and encourage others. You are a priority and need to schedule time for you, so you can bring your best and bring it often. Know your values and develop a small, strong inner circle of people that can help guide, encourage and challenge you. Stay in love with the game; I get to lace up my sneakers every day and play outside in the dirt -total fun zone. Think about what you get to do? I love this quote: ‘A strong woman knows she has strength for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.’ Go coach your team and enjoy the journey!”

We are excited for Shonda in her new role at Indiana, and we can’t wait to see what an incredible legacy she will build there. Congratulations, Shonda!

August 2017 – Colleen Murphy
Head Coach, U.S. Air Force Academy Women’s Swimming Team

Coach Colleen Murphy (NCAA WCA Class #38) is our ARMS Software Coach of the Month for August! Colleen was recently promoted to head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy after serving for five years there as an assistant and associate coach. The first female swimming coach to win an NCAA national championship, Colleen has continued her success at the prestigious military academy. In her first five years there, the Falcon women have broken every school record on the books. Colleen has had an exciting journey through coaching, earning three national titles at Truman State and NCAA Division II Coach of the Year honors. She took some time off from the profession, and then returned to the high school level as the head coach at Xavier College Prep in Phoenix, AZ. After being out of college coaching for 7 years, Colleen said it’s been a long path getting to where she is now, but it’s a perfect fit for her.

Colleen’s time away from college coaching opened her eyes that it was time to start giving back more. While there are a lot of developmental women coaches in swimming, they are few and far between at the collegiate and elite levels. With great women mentors in her early coaching years, and a coach who took a chance on her to bring her back to college coaching, Colleen sees helping out other women coaches as a part of her new role. She has seen countless women leave the field because they thought they couldn’t have it all. “I have two kids, a family, a husband and I’m the primary breadwinner. It is possible to have it all and to be good at it all. I really want to help other women in the field to know that they can do it.”

We are excited for Colleen to take on this new challenge, and are incredibly proud of her work to support her fellow women coaches.

July 2017 – Jennifer Ridgely
Equestrian Head Coach, Delaware State University

Coach Jennifer Ridgely (NCAA WCA Class #39) is our first ARMS Software Coach of the Month! In her 11th season at Delaware State, Jennifer was voted Coach of the Year for her university and her conference. Entering the conference championship seeded 4th, her team won and earned an automatic bid to the national championship. On top of their athletic success, her team also won the NCEA (National Collegiate Equestrian Association) Team Sportsmanship award.

Jennifer led her team to these successes, all while undergoing 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy and multiple rounds of radiation for breast cancer. “A breast cancer diagnosis is certainly a scary thing to hear but I just took it in stride as I would a meet the team lost and went to work on what appointments needed to be made and used the same work ethic and determination with my team and it worked,” said Jennifer. “I was successful beating cancer and the team was successful winning meets! I believe everything is a life lesson and this year certainly had its highs and lows, but I kept moving forward and kept my eye on the prize! Cancer free and a winning team! Not to mention taking my wig off and swinging it around was very motivational for the team!”

We couldn’t be more proud of all of her successes and the role model she continues to be for her athletes.